THE SONOMA COMMUNITY CENTER is planning out a festive, and safe, Fourth of July celebration on the Plaza.
Collin Krauthamer/Special to the Index-Tribune
The Sonoma Community Center’s annual Fourth of July parade and celebration in the Sonoma Plaza will celebrate the 200th birthday of Count Agoston Haraszthy, a prominent figure in California history who was considered the state’s leading winemaker in the mid-1800s.
The count’s legacy is continued in several living descendants who will serve as this year’s parade grand marshals. Buena Vista Winery, founded by the count in 1857, is the official wine sponsor of the celebration.
The full-day celebration kicks off with the parade at 10 a.m., and continues on until 5 p.m. with a party in the Plaza. At dusk, the Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescue Authority will light up the night with its annual fireworks showcase, dazzling thousands of spectators.
During the day, when the parade winds down, a patriotic ceremony is planned on the northwest quadrant of the Plaza, featuring local dignitaries and marching band music by the Sonoma Hometown Band.
Buena Vista Winery will present a one-hour variety show in the amphitheater educating the auidience about the history of Count Haraszthy.
Local nonprofits will raise funds throughout the day by hosting old-fashioned carnival food booths and games for all ages. The Sonoma Community Center will raise funds by selling beer from Olde Sonoma Public House and wine from Buena Vista Winery, as well as T-shirts with original artwork by Surya Burdick-O’Shea.
Live music by the Don Giovannis will begin at 1 p.m., and continue on at 3 p.m. with the Saddle Cats.
Local groups are invited to participate by creating parade entries and floats that celebrate Count Haraszthy’s contributions to Sonoma. Groups wishing to be announced at the reviewing stand must return applications to the community center by 5 p.m. on Monday, July 2.
The community center is reminding parade revelers to follow the Fourth of July parade and celebration rules and regulations, which include:
No throwing water balloons and no spraying water at floats, except in the designated Wet Zone at end of the parade route on the corner of First Street West and West Spain Street. All types of water play are welcome in the Wet Zone.
Be safe. Stay on the sidewalks and do not enter the parade route. Do not interfere with parade participants. Follow the directions of parade monitors.
Children under the age of 14 must be supervised by an adult. Children under the age of 16 may not drive motor vehicles in the parade.
Parade participants are asked not to throw any items into the crowd, such as candy. (Handing out items is acceptable.)
Don’t litter – throw trash in designated bins.
Political parade entries are allowed, but the message should be positive without smear slogans.
Commercial entries and sponsorships by local businesses are welcome, but are asked to be clever, not crass.
Remember, this is a family event and entries should be suitable for viewing by all ages.
Don’t use banners, costumes or language that express racial or sexual slurs.
Don’t drink alcohol or carry alcoholic beverages during the parade.
Don’t break the law.