Apple-themed fundraiser supports Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa

The Arlene Francis Center offers space for local groups to host concerts, exhibits, classes and more.|

Dozens of people visited the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square district Sept. 10 to enjoy apple products, live music and family-friendly activities during the “Apple-y Ever After” fundraiser.

The event, which raised $1,400 for the center, was organized by Sonoma County resident Eva Granahan, who has attended countless events at the center and wanted to give back to the nonprofit cultural hub, according to Martin Hamilton, director of the Arlene Francis Center.

Admission was a suggested donation of $30, though no one was turned away for lack of funds. The center will use the money to help pay its monthly expenses.

The daylong fundraiser featured apples and apple products such as unfiltered apple cider and juice donated by a private orchard in Sebastopol. Local food truck Taqueria Calendula sold tacos, and bands and DJs provided a lively soundtrack. The event also featured yoga, art displays and games for kids like bobbing for apples.

Named after actress Arlene Francis, the center was founded by her son, Peter Gabel, and Hamilton in 2009, who previously worked together at New College of California in San Francisco.

The center, which includes a cafe, classrooms, a live music venue and art gallery, hosts events and meetings for groups ranging from activists and holistic healers to up-and-coming artists and bands who need a place to exhibit and perform.

“We’re a little bit like another roadside attraction, an alternative place in Sonoma County that's a viable option for some parts of the community that otherwise wouldn't have a place to be,” Hamilton said.

On Oct. 8, several local bands are hosting another fundraiser for the center, Francis Fest, which will feature a diverse lineup of punk, rock and hip-hop artists.

For more information on the center and its upcoming events, go to

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