September 19, 2021
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Farmers’ Market party on the plaza

  • Sax player Susan Copperman Founder, Leader, singer & choreographer Jane Sorenson, Lead singer Sharon Jones and Lead singer Cathy Slack

  • The Rotten Tomatoes band consists of Rich Payne on drums, Don Gylfe on guitar, Dan Johnson on harmonica, Aaron Shreve on bass, Pete Eagle on guitar and Gerard Giudice on vocals.

By: Lanny Lowery
August 23, 2019

Fri., Aug 30 marks the last Rohnert Park Farmers’ Market for this summer.  Celebrating the market’s tenth anniversary, Slack has scheduled big bands for the twelve Friday nights.

Music organizer Cathy Slack met with then Mayor Pam Stafford ten years ago in a coffee shop to discuss having a farmers’ market in Rohnert Park.  And from the beginning, the market was a success.  

So much so that one year later the city presented “an award of recognition for Outstanding Community Service to KRCB and Rohnert Park Chamber of Commerce member Cathy Slack.”  This proclamation was made to honor Slack’s work to create a successful Rohnert Park Farmers’ Market and for the music concert series that was a huge part of each Friday night market.

Upon receiving the award, Slack showed more excitement for the success of the event than for herself.  “I am delighted at the success of the event!  Non-profits are making money, the community is able to get fresh produce from local farmers, listen to music and see their neighbors in a festive setting each week!”

Over the ten years, the Ed Foundation and the Rotary have taken in more than $200k from the sales of adult beverages.  Kelly Smith has brought in many vendors.   Smith and her team operate 15 markets.  Slack says that Smith “has the pull to bring in interesting vendors.”

Market goers can purchase meals from at least six different food booths.  Small craftsmen come in to bring in unique and locally made wares such as one finds in the “California Strong” booth.  

Slack’s responsibility has been to organize all of the music and get all of the sponsors and connect partnerships.  “It’s wonderful to see how this market has such an impact on small businesses,” notes Slack.

And most exciting, 2019 has set records in attendance and sales.  Slack is pleased to see so many people of so many different ages.  “It’s rare to see such multi-generational groups:  adults of all ages, teens and children.”

Slack has organized many events around the county including the North Bay Women’s Expo and the Julliard Park Concert Series.  She has a unique perspective beyond being the founder of the Friday Party on the Plaza and of running the music and organizing the sponsors and doing the advertising.  As a performer, she knows a feel good venue when she is on stage.  She sees the Rohnert Park community enjoying itself and feeling safe, and she feels safe being on the stage and that is not always the case in some venues.

For this last market of the year, Slack’s musical group, The Poyntlyss Sisters, Sonoma County performers for more than a quarter of a century, share the musical billing with The Rotten Tomatoes.  The Poyntlyss Sisters, founded by singer Jane Sorenson, who leads the group, will perform the first part of the evening until 7:30.  Singers Sharon Jones and Cathy Slack will combine with sax player Susan Copperman to present music from the 50s through the 90s, all good dance music.

Old familiar tunes such as “Proud Mary,” “I’ve Got the Music,” “Joy to the World,” “Somebody to Love,” “One Fine Day” and “Jumping Jack Flash” will be part of their repertoire.

Slack described the band that follows The Poyntlyss Sisters as a group that performs classic rock and blues.  The Rotten Tomatoes claims that it’s “a perfect example of what’s wrong with the world today.”  This group’s song list spans five decades and its music is meant for people to get up and dance.

Rotten Tomatoes claims, “We are always ready to play any event that could use some lively, foot stompin’, hip shakin’, good ol’ time music.”  The group consists of Gerard “The Big Tomato” Giudice doing lead vocals; Don “Slidin’ By” Gylfe guitarist and lead vocals, Pete “Fly Like An” Eagle electric guitar, Aaron “AC” Shreve guitar and backing vocals, Rich “Boom Boom” Brown drums and backing vocals, and Dan “Shoeless” Johnson harmonica and tambourine.  The nicknames alone should draw half of Rohnert Park to the Party on the Plaza.  These guys will do a little Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Santana, Wilson Pickett, Robert Johnson and Chicago.

Ten years ago Cathy Slack started a good thing and the Party on the Plaza still rocks on.  Be a part of this festive closing of a very successful season for The Rohnert Park Farmers’ Market Fri., Aug 30.