People and local organizations of all kinds gathered October 7 to celebrate the annual festivities of Rohnert Park’s Founder’s Day. This year, the theme was Superheroes, and it included a ‘fun run’ marathon, a parade and a festival at Rohnert Park Community Center. The event brought not only Rohnert Park residents, but tourists as well.
The fun run marathon took place at 8 a.m. and over 200 people participated. Their run extended from the community center to around Snyder Lane and Southwest Boulevard, which was about one mile. “It’s just one of the many events that shows how the community comes together,” said Anne Mogel, the long-time event chair of Founder’s Day. “People come to have fun, get to explore the place and get to run alongside all kinds of people, whether they’re from here or just visiting.”
The parade started at 10 a.m. Snyder Lane and Rohnert Park Expressway were cleared and blocked off for the event, with many of the people from the fun run plus newcomers coming to watch. The people marching included Rancho Cotate High School, Evergreen Elementary, various organizations around Rohnert Park, the RP Warriors sports teams and cheerleaders and various families. All of the groups’ styles varied but all of them stuck to the theme of superheroes, such as the kids dressing up as various heroes to a family with signs of everyday heroes (doctors, educators, safety officers, parents, etc.). It ended with the festival creators Phyllis Transue, Leslie Courchaine, and Mogel riding in a car to officially close the parade.
Once the parade concluded at 11 a.m., the festival began. Various people and families attended and were dressed as superheroes or wore superhero attire, such as Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batman, Captain America, The Flash, etc. People even came up with their own unique superhero costumes. Many dogs were also brought to the festival, and were dressed up as well.
There was fun for the entire family throughout it all. Live music was performed all day by the Spazmatics and the Rotten Tomatoes. For the children, there were three giant inflatable houses (an obstacle course, a bouncy house and a giant slide), as well as a rock wall. Many booths also had free craft areas, where the kids could work on them and booths with games and food were available. For adults, the Rotary of Rancho Cotati had a table that served wine and beer, along with other booths that had food and drinks and various vendors with items to sell such as clothes, jewelry, crafts, etc.
“This event not only helps our company get out there, but helps us connect with our community,” said Kiersten Kircher and Casie Herron, the representatives for the It’s a Dog’s Life vendor, a company for dog day care and boarding. They also sold various items from their store to help fund their organization. “It’s great letting people know about our places, so they can have a place for their dogs to stay. And it’s nice being able to get to know people of all kinds.”
And Founder’s Day isn’t just celebrated here either. RohnertPark’s sister city, Hashimoto, Japan, celebrates it too. Many people in both cities have gotten a taste of both Founder’s Day celebrations. “It helps them explore how our communities connect, no matter the distance and events like these help students in our programs make new friends all around,” said Tadao Kunishi, one of the heads of the Sister Cities Relations Committee. At their booth, they displayed photos of students from both cities attending the celebrations.
Rohnert Park Founder’s Day takes place every year during the first part of October.