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1st Butter & Egg Days parade since start of pandemic brings together Petaluma community

Colorful floats, marching bands, elaborate chicken costumes and flying manure were all part of the fun Saturday as Petaluma’s 39th annual Butter & Egg Days parade returned after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

The 2022 theme “Community — The Heart of Petaluma!” celebrated the importance of nonprofits, businesses and volunteers that fuel the sense of community. Participants also celebrated being together during the parade, which honors Petaluma’s agricultural roots.

The parade featured over 100 units, including marching bands, extravagant floats, ballerinas and elected officials riding in shiny cars, with approximately 3,000 participants and 200 volunteers, according to a media release.

The event also encompassed a cow chip-throwing contest and the Cutest Little Chick Contest, which both brought laughter and smiles across crowds that filled the streets of downtown Petaluma before the parade began.

Two matching sisters, Grace, 3, and Olivia, 7, sat on the curb with their family and said their favorite part of the parade so far had been the “Star Wars” troopers and the popcorn.

Their mother, Iveth Flores, 33, of Petaluma, was also there with her husband and parents. She said going to the parade is a family tradition.

Being in the sun, “it’s such a relief,” she said. “The parade brings so much happiness after all the hard times of the pandemic.”

The smell of fried foods and buttered corn on the cob filled the streets, but cholesterol was not the only food group being enjoyed and celebrated.

Sheri Deatrick, 52, of Novato and her friend, Cheryl Chase, 62, of Petaluma, sipped on their beers at one of the designated beer gardens set up along the parade route.

“It’s just so nice to get back to living again,” Deatrick said. The two are registered nurses and said it’s the first time they’ve been in a crowd where most people went unmasked.

“People are hugging and having fun,” Chase said. “It’s so nice to see the community out again.”

Sumona Pramanik held her 1-year-old daughter, Sarina Jolie, a bundle of yellow feathers and one of the stars of the 36th annual Cutest Little Chick in Town contest.

“Today is the day that marks Petaluma feeling like we’re back to a sense of normalcy and celebration,” Pramanik said. “It brings the community together.”

Sarina Jolie was not the only one dressed as a chicken. Some adults also decided to partake in the fun.

Sarah Miller, 42, was decked out head-to-toe in a DIY chicken costume.

After years of isolation, the parade was “a chance to be together and celebrate what makes Petaluma so unique ― its heritage,” Miller said, holding an egg bucket and peering out from behind faux feathers.

And, “if you can be a chicken, be a chicken,” she said.

You can reach Staff Writer Alana Minkler at 707-526-8511 or alana.minkler@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @alana_minkler.

Alana Minkler

Breaking news & general assignment reporter, The Press Democrat

The world is filled with stories that inspire compassion, wonder, laughs and even tears. As a Press Democrat reporter covering breaking news, tribes and youth, it’s my goal to give others a voice to share these stories.

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