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October 28, 2021
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Streets filled with smiling faces for the Kid’s Day Parade

  • North Bay Theatrics performed a "Birthday" skit in front of the judges table Saturday morning in the "A Very Merry Unbirthday" themed Kids Day Festival and Parade. Photo by Robert Grant

  • A 1930 Model A, classic car owned by Marc Liberle entered in the parade by the Historical Society Provided by Ed Gilardi

  • No names were given for the North Bay Theatrics group performing in front of the judge's table. Provided by Ed Gilardi

By: Irene Hilsendager
August 20, 2021

The annual Cotati Kid’s Day usually held in July was held Saturday, August 14 due to the pandemic and was celebrated as the 28th Annual Cotati Kid’s Day.

The parade lined up in front of Cotati City Hall around 10 a.m.  and wound its way around the town of Cotati ending at La Plaza Park where vendors and festivities such as face painting, kettle corn and other activities were happening.  There was a judge’s table to give out awards to the many beautiful costumes and floats making a grand appearance.

There were 30 entries in the parade and around 500 people attending a happier time of the year. This year the City of Cotati and the North Bay Theatrics sponsored the function. North Bay Theatrics has been a favorite program for the children since 2013.

The Cotati Historical Society entered a 1930 model A classic car owned by Marc Libarle and a classic roadster owned by Frank Bianchi to commemorate and showcase the 100th anniversary of the wooden racetrack that was a feature many years ago located where now the cluster of houses called Windmill Farms is dotting the east and south side of Cotati near the railroad tracks.

John Allred was Master of Ceremony and as always doing a fine job. Entries in the parade consisted of the Rancho Cotate Cougar mascot, Cross and Crown School, Dunham School, Oliver’s Market, Rancho Cotati Fire Dept., Miss Sonoma County and Music to my ears with Music to My Ears winning the best overall entry.

Back in 1993, Kid’s Day was an idea that Harold Burkmeyer and Terry Dutra had as a way to celebrate Cotati’s founding. As a beginning event it was put on by the City of Cotati and then the City’s Recreation Department took over due to budget cuts. 

There were always different themes with this year’s being an “A Very Merry Unbirthday” to celebrate the many missed birthdays the past 18 months.

In 2019 Kid’s Day was a “Cotati Country.” They honored the rich history of farming and agriculture in Cotati and Sonoma County.

In 2017 Cotati celebrated culture. The parade started with the Rancho Adobe fire District, 4-H groups and Boy Scouts who were dressed in space ship suits. Other fun things to do were booth games, jumpy house, with food and beverage vendors.

In 2015 the theme was “Up with Art.” 

For the 2014 Cotati Kid’s Parade was ruled by superheroes. La Plaza Park may have been the safest place to be during the parade with so many Cotati police and superheroes buzzing around the park.

The 2011 Kid’s Day was meant to honor the children of Cotati, Rohnert Park and Penngrove. 

The final parade entry was a float constructed by the Kid’s Day board members and volunteers. There were plenty of energetic kids, free candy and plenty of waiting time.

Individual winners were Sutter Laird, Scooby Doo, Lobo the Seawolf and Clo, the Cow, Friar Tucks, Park 4 Cub Scouts, American Heritage Girls and Cotati Historical Society were group winners.

July 23, 2009 was a kid’s parade of Elvis and numerous rock and rollers with mini-skirts and every color of hair imaginable. This year (2009) was really bitter sweet as due to budget cuts the Cotati Recreation Department was the first to go on the chopping block so there was less participation but those who attended were very enthusiastic.

2008 saw the Kid’s Day Parade as “the Magical Kingdom of Kotati.” Emily Wiseman of Rohnert Park’s Cultural Arts Committee provided samples of what she could do for the parade.

There have always been fun things to do such as booth games, a great selection of food vendors and of course always greeting old friends and making new friends. 

A tidbit of news showed up to tickle the communities’ fancy. The diaper derby with babies crossing the finish line was the Cotati Crawl.