Fourth of July in Sonoma

A revered tradition continues with another hometown Independence Day celebration, this year dedicated to “Our Local Heroes.”

“We think ours is the most beloved July 4th celebration in the county,” said Sonoma Kathy Swett, executive director of the Sonoma Community Center (SCC). Participants in the parade, which begins at 10 a.m., have created entries and floats that honor inspirational Sonomans, past and present. The Grand Marshals will be several local veterans who fought in the liberation of France during the Second World War. The event will pay tribute to all local World War II vets.

The Travis Air Force Base Color Guard will make a special trip to Sonoma to lead this year’s parade, and during the first ten minutes of the march, a military transport plane will fly directly over the Sonoma Plaza.

In addition to the Grand Marshalls, the American Legion Post 489 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1943 will honor General Hap Arnold by flying Replicas of his two 5-star flags above City Hall during the parade. Arnold, considered by many to be the “father of the Air Force,” commanded the US Army Air Force during WWII and was the only person to have held two 5-star ranks as both General of the Army and General of the Air Force. Sonoma’s Arnold Drive and Arnold Field are named after Arnold, who lived in Sonoma Valley immediately after WWII until his death in 1950.

SCC Special Projects Manager Margaret Hatcher has created two 15’ tall street puppets to lead the parade on behalf of the community center. The puppets represent the spirits of the 4th of July and the vast number of local heroes found in the Sonoma Valley. Over a dozen volunteers have been enlisted to “walk” the puppets through the parade route.

After the parade, nearly 30 local non-profits will sell food and carnival games until 5 p.m. Live music in the Plaza begins at 1 p.m.

Live music
Live music in the Plaza begins at 1 p.m. with Bautista Band, and continues at 3 p.m. with The Joe Chaplain Band. Dance floor included!

Bautista Band
With Norman Bautista on red-hot guitar, backed my multiple percussionists, the band fuses Latin feels with funk and rock grooves. Influences include Santana, Tower of Power, Stanley Clarke and the Doobie Brothers.

The Joe Chaplain Band
Original rock and roll, blues, jazz and folk from the local powerhouse band that includes two guitars, keyboard player and a sax player. With over 200 years of combined experience playing live music, Chaplai says, “the guys just fall into tasty grooves as if they’ve been playing together all their lives.”

2011 Patriotic Ceremony
(begins approximately at noon)

Home Town Band — Justin Enright, Conductor
Welcome greeting — Madolyn Agrimonti
Presentation of Colors — Air Force Color Guard, Travis Air Force Base
Star Spangled Banner — Cynthia Tarr

Recognition of Special Guests:
Madolyn Agrimonti, SCC
Sonoma City Council: Steve Barbose, Ken Brown, Laurie Gallian, Joanne Sanders, Tom Rouse
City Manager: Linda Kelly
Alcalde: Mary Evelyn Arnold
Treasure: Gayle Manfre
Richard Schneider: Director of the Home Town Band
Featured speaker – Sonoma Mayor Laurie Gallian

The Sonoma Community Center extends its thanks and appreciation to all of the participating the Patriotic Ceremony, especially the Home Town Band.

Fun and food on the Square
After the parade, nearly 30 local non-profits will sell food and host carnival games until 5 p.m. Participants include:

Girl Scout Troop #10404 – Snow Cones
Sonoma Valley Rotary Club – Hot Dogs
St. Andrews Church – Hamburgers
Sonoma Valley Volunteer Fire Dept – Tri-tip Sandwiches
Sonoma Valley Youth Soccer (Team Excel) – Tamales
Willmar Center for Bereaved Children – Sausage Plates
Cub Scouts Pack 51 – Gumbo
Moose Lodge #489 – Chocolate-dipped Fruit
Sonoma Valley High School Boosters – BBQ Turkey Legs
St. Francis Solano School – Popcorn & Games
Boy Scout Troop 222 – Potato Toss
Sonoma Valley Christian Fellowship – Climbing Wall
Sonoma Valley Boys & Girls Club – Games
American Legion #489 – Dunk Tank
Sonoma Community Center – T-shirts, Face-painting, Games, Beer and Wine

A C-17 from the 301 Airflift Squadron, piloted by Lieutenant Colonel Adam Willis, Major Troy Ogle, and Major Caleb Provencio and Major Phil Dillingham, will fly over the parade at about 10:10 a.m.

The 2011 4th of July artwork was designed by Stacia Brady, Sonoma Community Center supporter and active participant in the Sonoma Valley art community for the past 30 years. Stacia, a native Californian, began working in ceramics before turning to painting acrylic on wood panels. She divides her time between painting in her studio located at the historic La Haye Art Center and working on a ranch. Her work has been exhibited and collected nationally and internationally.


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