George Webber and other silly things to celebrate
Sonoma's calendar is so packed with festivals, commemorations and sundry other annual events, it's a wonder we have time for our traditional holidays. Since most days of the year are already booked with some celebration or other, why not finish off our collective social calendars by booking the remaining days with additional frivolity? What's the worse that can happen - death? It's going to happen anyway, so why not do it amongst friends in endless celebration?
Mark your calendars, Sonoma, what follows are five annual "holidays" that Sonoma could embrace for fun and profit and eventual death. While these celebrations may not be endorsed by, say, Hallmark, they have nonetheless captured enough of the public imagination to have thrived throughout the years. Moreover, I did not make these up.
Next week sees the annual arrival of "Bad Poetry Day." On Aug. 18, scribes of every stripe, including plaid, are encouraged to give their worse to verse in any way they see fit, so long as its bad.
Thomas and Ruth Roy (under the aegis of Wellcat Holidays & Herbs), claim to have invented and copyrighted Bad Poetry Day, which is nearly as absurd a premise as the holiday itself. This bizarre and entirely unenforceable proviso may account for why the holiday hasn't enjoyed the widespread embrace of other holidays, though the notion still has merit. I suggest celebrants send their bad poetry to email@example.com and see what happens. Who knows, it could become a whole new feature in the paper (or the end of print journalism).
On Sept. 19, International Talk Like a Pirate Day gives pirate-enthusiasts an excuse to yelp a collective "Rrrrr" in recognition of this inspired celebration of nautical naughtiness. Authors John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur and Marl "Cap'n Slappy" Summers of Albany, Ore., were the first to acknowledge pirates' contribution to our culture (and subsequently got a book deal for their efforts), though it should be clarified their buccaneer boosterism is more a tip of the tricorn hat to Johnny Depp's Capt. Jack Sparrow than, say, Somali boat terrorists.
International Talk Like a Pirate Day would be simple for Sonomans to celebrate - just think, "Bear Flag Revolt reenactment," but with scurvy. In fact, to dress like a pirate you need merely add an eye-patch to your Bear Flag Revolt costume. Add two if you're feeling particularly lucky. A parrot on the shoulder will go a long way, too.
The holiday of choice for ancient Celts and modern witches and warlocks, "Beltane" is a wonderful springtime excuse to let your hair down and marriage vows lapse.
A fertility festival conducted May 1, the pagan rite of passage is the one day when all marriages are temporarily called off in a mass "hall-pass" style free-for-all, which subsequently requires hereditary lineages to be traced matrilineally - at least back in the days before DNA testing. What's more, Sonoma has the prime location for this annual swinger party - the Beltane Ranch off Highway 12.
Of course, birthdays of our celebrated citizenry always make for good holidays.
You missed mine in July (I'm still, barely, in my 30s, so it's no biggie - but next year I expect a parade for the big four-o). Until then, I suggest we make a holiday of George Webber's birthday next Jan. 10. Not only has he contributed oodles to local lore and culture in his various personas (Gen. Vallejo and Prof. Vine among them), he's a helluva drinking buddy if you have the occasion. Let's make it an occasion, I say.
In the very least we can take the day off - or at least the next day.
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Daedalus Howell celebrates Sonoma here, there and at FMRL.com.