July 18, 2018
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Local 4th of July festivities

  • Last year the Green Music Center was home to a spectacular fireworks display in celebration of the 4th of July. Photo courtesy SSU communications

  • Alexander Decarli saddled and rode one of their family owned propane trucks carrying the American Flag in the Penngrove Parade last year. Robert Grant

By: Stephanie Derammelaere
June 29, 2018

There is no shortage of ways to celebrate our nation’s birth this 4th of July with many events happening around Sonoma County, including in our neck of the woods. The festivities start a few days before the 4th, with Rancho Adobe Fire District holding their annual pancake breakfast Saturday, June 30 – a tradition they have done now for over 25 years. “It’s a good event to meet the community and show them who we are,” says Captain Tim Caldwell. “It’s better for the community to meet their fire department this way than in an accident. 

The pancake breakfast is a great social outing for families that ramps up summer vacation. The breakfast is being held at the Rancho Adobe Fire Station on 11000 Main Street in Penngrove, from 7 to 11 a.m. There is no need to sign up before hand and besides the breakfast of pancakes, eggs, ham, fruit and a variety of beverages, visitors will also be treated to a live fire demonstration to show the public how sprinklers save the day when a room is set on fire and a demonstration on various rescue tools like the Jaws of Life. The department’s new ambulance will also be on display.  

The breakfast costs $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under and acts as an important fundraiser for the Rancho Adobe Fire District.

“The proceeds go to the Rancho Adobe Firefighters’ Association non-profit,” says Caldwell. “It helps pay for rescue equipment, training, as well as classes for the public such as CPR.”

The next day, July 1, marks the 42nd annual Penngrove Parade, called “The Biggest Little Parade in Northern California.” The parade on Main Street starts at 11 a.m. and is followed by a barbeque, music and children’s activities in Penngrove Park, from noon to 4 p.m. 

The Penngrove Parade and barbeque is the biggest annual fundraiser hosted by the Penngrove Social Firemen, a non-profit that serves to maintain the clubhouse and Penngrove Park. 

“The funds help maintain the monthly expenses for the park and the clubhouse,” says Kim Hanson, Owner of JavAmore’ Café in Penngrove and Chairwoman of the event. “All of the events we hold are fundraisers to pay for the maintenance. We also support the community with things like helping the Penngrove School and Christmas for Kids in December where we choose five local families to see what they need and then purchase things for them. This year the park needs a fence so we’ll probably use a lot of the money to replace that.”

The barbeque lunch ranges from a $4 hot dog and chips to a $16 meal which includes half a chicken or pit beef or a combo, potato salad, beans and bread. Oysters will also be for sale, 4H will be selling desserts and the local band, Train Wreck Junction, will provide country music tunes. 

“It’s so much fun to see the families come together and have a good time,” says Hanson. “And seeing the children enjoying something they can carry with them all their lives. We have lots of generations that still come to this. We have one family that comes every year and they live in New Jersey. They had lived here but still come every year. It’s their family tradition.”

Sonoma State University will again host a variety of Independence Day activities on July 4, starting with a Kids Zone at 4:30 p.m. that will offer carnival games, bounce houses, face painting and food.

“Fourth of July festivities have become a tradition here at the Green Music Center,” says Kathryn Stewart, Associate Director of Communications for the Green Music Center at Sonoma State University. “This year brings an incredible Sonoma County collaboration between Transcendence Theatre Company, best known for their Broadway Under the Stars performances at Jack London Park and the Santa Rosa Symphony. We are proud to have a space here at Sonoma State University that allows so many people from all over Sonoma County and beyond to gather and celebrate together. It’s sure to be a great evening of fun, family, music, dancing and community.”

The concert will include a show-stopping selection of Broadway tunes and All-American favorites and starts at 7:30 p.m., with fireworks just after the concert, around 9:40 p.m. Tickets start at $25, children 2 to 12 are half price and children under two are free.

“The fireworks show is always a hit—anyone seated indoors or outdoors can view as we allow 10 minutes for all to gather on the lawn after the concert is over,” says Stewart.

For those willing to travel a bit outside the area, or who would like to see fireworks for several days, the Guerneville fireworks will take place around 9:30 p.m. June 30 in downtown Guerneville, preceded by a free celebration with food and entertainment starting at 3 p.m. On July 1 firework displays will take place in Bodega Bay, as well as in Monte Rio, where the fireworks are preceded by a boat parade on the Russian River. On July 3, fireworks, children’s activities, music and food will be offered in Windsor and at Analy High School in Sebastopol. Finally, July 4 fireworks can be seen at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, on Sonoma Plaza, Sonoma Marin Fairgrounds in Petaluma, at Healdsburg High School, and at Cloverdale High School. Also, in the morning July 4, there will be parades along the Sonoma Plaza and at Kenwood Plaza Park.