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Oakmont turns 50 years young

  • Participants in the Oakmont Parade ride through on Saturday, September 7, 2013. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

Members of the Oakmont Lanes Wii Bowling league waved happily from a golf cart Saturday morning, bucking the stereotypes that the elderly aren't athletic or tech-savvy, as Oakmont residents celebrated the community's 50th anniversary with a parade.

The variety of clubs on display — everyone from "Pickle Ball" players and baton twirlers to dramatic play readers — showed that this retirement community is anything but retiring.

"There are a lot of things going on here," said Christian van den Berghe, 75, a Wii bowling player and retired linguistics professor from Santa Clara University. "It's not just a retiring community with people waiting to die."

Oakmont Parade


Indeed, residents and their friends who lined Oakmont Drive to watch the swift-moving parade referred to the community nestled in Sonoma Valley as a place that Baby Boomers seek out not just to retire, but also to party.

"If you run out of things to do here, there's something seriously wrong with you," said Helen Glover, 66, a member of the "Single Boomers" club and retired teacher who frequents yoga classes. "People who are very active are attracted to this place because of all the golf clubs and the singing clubs."

Henry Trione, the retired businessman and philanthropist, was the grand marshal of the parade. He waved warmly to the crowd from a lime-green convertible as residents called out their thanks for his gifts to the community, such as his donation of the land that became Annadel State Park, which abuts Oakmont.

Trione lets Oakmont residents walk their dogs off-leash on the broad, green lawn of the Wine Country Polo Club, as long as they clean up after their furry friends, he said.

"It's a very popular dog park when the horses are not around," Trione said. "Oakmont is as fine a community as we can find. It's good that it's a part of Santa Rosa."

In the community of about 4,400 residents, there are more than 125 activity clubs, all organized by volunteers, said Susan Millar, co-chairman of events at Oakmont. One retired filmmaker runs a popular documentary screening club. Political clubs and alumni groups from UC Berkeley and Stanford University are popular in the quiet community with many modest homes.

Residents held parasols and wore broad-rimmed sun hats as politicians and Oakmont residents drove by.

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