Smith: For sale, the heart of old Guerneville

  • Owner Clare Harris, 93, at Johnsons Beach in Guerneville. May 23, 2014. (Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

It pains Clare Harris to talk much about his decision to put up for sale Johnson’s Beach, the famously folksy riverfront fun spot just downstream of the old green bridge.

“I’m 94,” Clare said from the beach’s working museum of a snack shack, though in fact he’s 93 until September. “How long can I last?”

Johnson’s Beach and Resort opened in Guerneville in 1918. Clare and his late brother, Herbert, in 1967 became just its third owners.

Kin help to operate and keep up the beach, site of the Vineman Triathlon and The Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival, and the cabins, camping areas, launderette, restrooms and all.

Keegan & Coppin Co. has listed the nearly 11 acres for $2.8 million. Clare would like most to sell it to someone seeking to keep things the same, or as close as possible.

In a perfect world, he’d stay on a while in the snack bar.

MONTE RIO ROCKS on Thursday night, when some seriously talented entertainers venture from the Bohemian Grove for the 103rd variety show in that river town.

It benefits Monte Rio Fire Services, St. Catherine’s Church and Monte Rio School Foundation. Tickets are online at brownpapertickets.com.

Arrive at the town amphitheater by about 7 a.m. Thursday, and you may catch river-area celeb Luis Penaloza, the pastor at St. Catherine’s.

Long grateful to the Bohemian Club for the show, Father Luis thinks it’s time he come greet and lend a hand to those who sacrifice sleep and comfort to rise early and set their lawn chairs up close to the stage.

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