Entries tagged with “Beth Koelker”.


Tomales was founded in 1850, and almost a thousand people showed up Sunday for the town’s annual Founders’ Day celebration. It was a huge crowd for a town with only 200 or so year-round residents. Attracting all the visitors were both a parade and festivities in the town park.

This year the parade route was shortened to just one long block of the main street, Highway 1.  The reduction allowed the Highway Patrol to reroute traffic onto Dillon Beach Road, Carrie Street, and Second Street instead of having to temporarily stop all vehicles on the highway.

Bystanders clapped as the US Coast Guard honor guard from the Two Rock Training Center marched past in the early going of the parade.

The middle of a long line of motorcycles that rumbled up the main street.

The Redwood Empire Harley Owners Group, affectionately known as HOGS, provided the riders. HOGS is based in Rohnert Park, and among its activities is raising money for Meals on Wheels.

A flowery float.

Hands Full Farm of Valley Ford is run by the truck’s driver, Anna Erickson, a fifth generation rancher. The farm has now gone “big time into eggs and lots of chickens,” she says but adds that she still finds time to make “jams and homemade goodies.” _______________________________________________________________

At the microphone.

From the balcony over Diekmann’s General Store, Bert Crews and Lena Furlong, both of Tomales, were the parade announcers. _______________________________________________________________

The Stair Builders float, a motorized mini go-cart, was entered by George R. Magan, whose business designs, constructs, delivers, and installs handcrafted staircases. The business, which previously operated in Petaluma, has moved into Tomales’ Cerini Garage building.

The Hubbub Club from Graton, Sonoma County, provided upbeat music and some lively dancing.

School spirit.

Tomales High cheerleaders sang out as they marched up the main street.

Dan’s Auto Repair of Tomales again this year entered a clown car that fell apart during the procession and had to be reassembled before continuing.

The Sam Brannan Chapter of E Clampus Vitus is an annual entry in the parade.

The Clampers, a fraternal organization dedicated to the study and preservation of Western heritage, has memorialized events in Tomales history. This Napa-based chapter has also contributed greatly to Tomales Community Park’s remodeling project.

District 3 Dairy Princess Francesa (Frankie) Gambonini (right) and first alternate Jessi Peterson are this year’s goodwill ambassadors for the North Bay dairy industry. They are riding in a 2008 Corvette driven by Bill Maestretti of Maestretti and Son Firewood.

Marshall sculptor Jason McLean drove a truck carrying his elaborate creation called “Got Art?” A skateboarder caught a ride by holding onto the rear.

Riding another McLean entry, which has appeared in a number of parades, is Shannon Hobbs.

A doodle, llama, and goat procession.

A 13-year-old llama named Crunch was led by Jeff Etemad of Tunnel Hill Ranch in Tomales. In front of Jeff, his son Cam led a golden doodle named Lucky. They were accompanied by Aidan Black. Following close behind the llama were the Barlas Boer Goats — great for clearing brush — entered by Nancy Barlas of Petaluma.

Rancher Al Poncia of Tomales rides on a 1946 International truck driven by Gary Thornton of the Thornton Ranch. Al’s son Loren was the grand marshal of the parade.

A 1950 Farmall M.

The sexagenarian tractor, which was driven by Johnny Sanchez, pulled a trailer carrying seven Sanchez grandchildren, who ranged in age from 2 to 10. The Sanchez family ranch is located on Fallon Road northeast of town. ________________________________________________________________

A prophet (Beth Koelker of Tomales) carried a “visual alert” that “The End Is Near,” the end of the parade, that is.

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After the parade, most of the crowd repaired to Tomales Community Park where booths sold food, drinks, crafts, and more throughout the afternoon.

Seven women sold tamales to raise funds for the Reading Book Club of Tomales. The private group is comprised of people who enjoy reading books published in Spanish.

Standing at center (from left) are booster club board members Debbie Becera, John Azevedo, and Missy Calvi.

Tomales Booster Club sold t-shirts and sweatshirts to raise money for Tomales High sports. The group, which just put in a new scoreboard at the football field, also raises funds for scholarships and puts on sports banquets.

Festivities in Tomales are always grand fun, and the only serious problem I noticed Sunday was that the park’s two restrooms were about to run out of T.P. Unable to find any park personnel to restock the lavatories, I walked a block to the general store and bought a four-roll package. I then asked the first two people waiting in line for a door to open to each take a couple of rolls in with them. Both were more than pleased to do so.

“Well, I’ve done my good deed for today,” I told a friend from Marshall afterward. “So everything came out all right in the end,” the older man quipped.

Hundreds of people showed up Sunday when Tomales’ Community Services District held an Independence Day party in the town park. A variety of fundraising booths sold fare that ranged from German to Mexican to East Indian. There was music, crafts for sale, a silent auction and raffles.

The weather was the best it’s been in weeks, with children and dogs having at least as much fun as adults.

Entertaining the throng was the group Hill Williams with Pammy Lowe.

Tomales residents have spent the last 35 years developing the park. At first, they leased the land and then acquired it in 1992 with help from the Trust for Public Land. Eventually, it was deeded to the Tomales Village Community Services District. With development of the park beginning in 1979, the town landscaped the site and built restrooms, a gazebo, and this play structure.

Rancher Bill Jensen (left) and cabinetmaker Bruce Kranzler, like many other Tomales-area residents, took advantage of Sunday’s “Party in the Park” to catch up.

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County firefighters manned a table where they taught CPR to anyone interested in learning.

Beth Koelker (at left) spent much of the afternoon selling fundraising raffle tickets.

Three years ago the “Clampers” set a plaque in the park, describing the early history of Tomales. The 165-year-old group E Clampus Vitus memorializes historic sites that are too small for state historical registers in the West. The fraternity alternately describes itself as an historical drinking society or a drinking historical society.

It is perhaps best known for a hoax in which it recreated Sir Francis Drake’s 1579 “plate of brass,” which claimed this area for the queen of England. The Clampers’ plate was discovered in Marin County during the 1930s and for 40 years was assumed to be authentic.

Only after it was shown to be a forgery did it come to light it was a hoax perpetrated by some Clampers decades earlier.

One of the marvels of Tomales’ town park is this “Spider Shack,” which Henry Elfstrom (at left) mans most Sundays.

The shack contains numerous tarantulas in bottles and terrariums.

Elfstrom, who unhesitatingly picks a tarantula out of a terrarium to display it, said the spider’s bites hurt because its fangs are big.

However, he added, the amount of venom from a bite is about the same as what one gets from a bee sting.

The hairs on the tarantula’s back, he said, are also a defense mechanism and can irritate the skin of would-be predators.

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In the park’s gazebo, highly regarded blues singer Rick Pepper of Marshall entertained the crowd of partiers. A good time was held by all.