In case you thought that the farmers market in downtown Rohnert Park was just a place to purchase fresh produce and perhaps honey or eggs, you may be overlooking one of the most exciting – and free – Friday night events in downtown Rohnert Park. Last Friday, June 9, was especially lively as The Funky Dozen took the stage with their spirited blend of 1970s disco hits. From the first notes at 5:30 p.m., the dancing began. Covering hits such as Chain of Fools by Aretha Franklin, and the penultimate wedding reception jam September, by Earth Wind and Fire, residents both young and old were on their feet and showing off their best moves.
We had a chance to speak with the three female singers (yes, three - in keeping with the main premise that the Funky Dozen is truly a group effort, there’s no ‘lead singer’) Kristen Petersen, Rosenn Wetzel, and Mary Swehla who were all smiles and energy during the break. “We just love doing this,” Petersen remarked, “It’s just great to see people really enjoying themselves – community events are fantastic!”
The Funky Dozen is comprised of 12 musicians; not always the same 12, but always talented and ready to party. As they returned to the stage after a short breather, they started again with even more spirit. As 6:30 got closer, more people began streaming into the plaza – some equipped with lawn chairs and blankets, and others just ready to dance. Adults were enjoying Lagunitas available at the Rotary Club tent, while kids were able to grab samples of root beer from Bear Republic. Gearardo Dana was manning the Bear Republic tent while decked out in a festive kilt for the occasion. While keeping one eye on the people cutting loose on the makeshift dance area by the stage, he expressed the same feelings about these gatherings, “It’s really great, you know, seeing the community get together like this.”
As most parents know, school has just ended and the cries of ‘there’s nothing to dooooooo…’ can already be heard. Fortunately, this market runs every Friday through the summer, and Party on The Plaza has a lineup of different musical groups each week. With a bouncy house and slide for the kids, and food offerings as varied as barbecue and sushi burritos, this is one musical party that both children and parents can enjoy.