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Smith: Diggin' the Sixties at the fair

  • Sonoma County Fair tram driver Linda Garth. (Courtesy Photo)

In keeping with the flowery, peace-and-love theme, some folks at the Sonoma County Fair are play-acting the Sixties.

But not people-mover Linda Garth, who split Wisconsin and hitchhiked to Haight-Ashbury in 1966. She’s just acting naturally.

“I was drawn to the music,” Garth said from the wheel of the decorated, six-wheel golf cart she uses to transport disabled fairgoers and others in need of a lift.

This child of the Sixties lived next door to Janis Joplin for a time. Her first husband was Jack Murray, who palled about and played with Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead and with Jefferson Airplane’s Marty Balin.

At 67, Linda is long married to Al Garth, formerly of Loggins & Messina, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the Eagles. Ask her if she’s not digging the Sixties theme and music.

“It brings all the feeling of the time,” said the grown-up Flower Child. “It feels like home to me.”

AMONG GREEN THUMBS it’s a very big deal that the Men’s Garden Club of Santa Rosa has done extraordinarily well in the judging at the Sonoma County Fair’s Hall of Flowers over the past decade or so.

Under president Chet Wilson, whom I profiled last week, the now gender-inclusive club has won Best in Show in two of the past three years.

Also impressive: In the amateur gardening competition, exhibited in the courtyard outside the Hall, Pam Hansen and Kellie Cronin have captured Best in Show for three straight years.

Theirs is the flowery creation themed “Yellow Submarine.”


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