Sonoma Community Center’s 51st annual Fourth of July parade and celebration take over the Plaza on Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
This year’s theme is a salute to the Arts in Sonoma Valley. “The arts are a vital component of a healthy community,” said Executive Director Toni Castrone. “We are fortunate to live in a community that values its artists and supports creativity.”
Past recipients of the City of Sonoma’s Treasure Artist award will act as Grand Marshals for this year’s parade. Dignitaries will include Sonoma Valley’s Alcaldessa Suzanne Brangham, 2013 Treasure Artist Dave Aguilar, members of the Sonoma City Council, and Supervisor Susan Gorin.
Sonoma Community Center will carry on its tradition of leading off the parade with a one-of-a-kind float, designed and created by Special Projects Manager Margaret Hatcher. Hatcher is the designer behind many of the Center’s most eye-catching visual displays, including its Trashion Fashion Show held each spring.
Beginning promptly at 10 a.m. the parade will march its way from the intersection of First Street East and Spain Street, west along Napa Street, and end at the intersection of First Street West and Spain Street. Live entertainment will begin in the Plaza at 11:30 a.m., with a patriotic ceremony honoring parade dignitaries at 11:45 a.m. More live music follows.
As spectators line up around the Plaza to view the parade, nearly a dozen Sonoma Valley nonprofit organizations will sell food and run game booths. Traditional carnival fare will include such favorites as hot dogs, hamburgers, turkey legs, tri-tip sandwiches, ice cream sandwiches, snow cones, popcorn, cotton candy, and iced coffee.
Beer and wine have been donated by Little Family Vineyards, Gundlach Bundschu, Lagunitas Brewing Company, and Lost Coast Brewery, and will be for sale from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. All proceeds from beer and wine sales will benefit Sonoma Community Center.
In addition to help from the City of Sonoma, and individual donations from parade entrants, this year’s Fourth of July parade and celebration is supported and sponsored by Sonoma Market, who is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. In honor of this milestone, Sonoma Market announced it will make a $10,000 donation to the Center to help support its Trashion Fashion show and free community events.
Live music on the Plaza
11:30 a.m. The Hometown Band – Patriotic music from Sonoma’s all-volunteer big brass band.
1 p.m.Never Fear Band — Rich Little, Jeff Bundschu & Scott DiMartini rock the green.
3 p.m.Tudo Bem – Sitting in with Dave Aguilar’s band will be Dave Chavoya, the longtime City groundskeeper (the City Hall horseshoe driveway is named for him) and red-hot harmonica player with the Hellhounds.
A bike-friendly Fourth
With all the traffic and parking restrictions (see below) riding a bike to the bash is the best idea yet. Park it safe, and for free, with the bike valet at Depot Park, thanks to the Sonoma Bicycle Coalition.
Keep in mind….
When the sun goes down on the Plaza party, it’s time for the annual fireworks extravaganza. The pyrotechnics are fired from a safety zone in front of the General Vallejo House on West Spain Street. There’s lots of blanket-friendly viewing just east of the area, near the bike path and baseball diamonds, but expect a big crowd for the big show.