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Petaluma pays homage to its rich heritage with parade, festival

  • Maria Franklin walks with the Straus Family Creamery float during the Petaluma Butter and Egg Days Parade, Saturday April 27, 2013. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

Out of the shadows of the massive bank building where heirloom seeds are now sold, the showpieces and supporters of Petaluma's agricultural heritage made their way through downtown Saturday to mark the city's annual Butter & Egg Days parade and festival.

There were tractors and pickups interspersed among dancers, dairy operators and hometown athletes. Youth scouts, military veterans, community floats and beauty queens brought up the rear.

"All kinds of entries today as we celebrate legends of Petaluma past and present," announcer Jeff Mayne of the Petaluma Downtown Association, the event sponsor, said at the start of the procession, which kicked off around noon.

Butter and Egg Days Parade in Petaluma

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The homage to local farming, now in its 32nd year, began earlier in the day with a cow-pie-tossing contest and a costume event for toddlers dressed as chicks. The festivities are set to continue today when collectors descend on downtown for the Spring Antique Faire, with more than 180 dealers.

"It's just an amazing weekend for Petaluma," said Councilman Mike Harris, who took second place behind fellow Councilman Chris Albertson in one of the manure-tossing divisions. The irony of the activity for a politician was not lost on him.

"I can only imagine the headlines," Harris said, laughing. "Only in Petaluma."

About 30,000 people took in Saturday's spectacle, including food booths and drinking patios nestled into a four-block area.

Crowds were six to 10 rows deep along the parade route, with scores of children and old-timers holding down front-row seats. The route traced a horseshoe around downtown, heading up Fourth and Kentucky streets, rounding Washington Street and the former Sonoma County National Bank building before returning along Petaluma Boulevard.

The shady steps of the Petaluma Museum were a choice viewing spot for some parade veterans.

"I just love to come out and see everyone," said Evelyn Pedroni, who donned her 1950s-era Petaluma sweatshirt for the occasion. Her husband's family owned Pedroni's Delicatessen, the former culinary landmark on Western Avenue.


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