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Wrapping up the Glen Ellen Village Fair; quilt winners and more

Who won the quilt?

Every year hundreds, maybe even thousands, of happy hopeful folks in Glen Ellen and beyond buy tickets for a chance to win the beautiful Glen Ellen Village Fair quilt. Even though there can be only one winner, all of that money helps to fund our fair. It’s the seed money that pays for all of the set-up and permits, including those behind the scenes helpers like the highway patrol that keep us safe all day.

But the big question after the fair is always, who won the quilt? I am truly happy to announce that it is once again a longtime hometown resident of our village.

Congratulations to “Food for Thought” quilt winner Mari jo Dickerson, who says, “I’m thrilled to win the quilt. I’ve always coveted it, and bought raffle tickets every year.” She further adds, “and have known so many of the quilt makers over the years.”

Yes, many of us feel affection for quilt makers, present and past. While Mari jo and I discussed the quilt, we also reminisced about our dear friend Janet Laursen, who often made wonderful squares (and designed at least one edition of our annual hometown T-shirts). We miss her. There’s Phyllis Ellman, too, and many more. I dedicated my square to some of those good folks.

As for Mari jo’s good luck this year, her partner Ann Hershberger bought Mari jo three quilt raffle tickets on the day of the fair. That alone wouldn’t have guaranteed her win. But just to add to the magic of Ann’s intention, their grandson, Scott Boyadjieff, gave the bin a good spin. That’s your hint for next year.

Meanwhile, Mari jo is the best keeper of this town treasure. She and Ann recently moved out of their little Glen Ellen cottage of 30-plus years, building a larger home right behind the cottage. That was part of her retirement goal and the place is stunningly beautiful, fitting in perfectly with the environment of the regional park, which is a back yard to their home.

Mari jo worked for years at the Sonoma Developmental Center and then later in Napa as a secondary school teacher at a court appointed school for kids who are suspended or expelled. Hard job? You bet, but Mari jo obviously loved it and speaks with warmth about her various students, both there and at SDC.

Along with building the house, Mari jo became a volunteer at Jack London State Historical Park, fulfilling another retirement goal. That, too, is a job she loves, taking school groups and seniors on tours of the park. Sometimes you’ll find her at the kiosk, as well.

We just hope in all of this activity and action she’ll find time to snuggle under that blanket and dream of all the good produce that her lovely garden provides. It’s all reflected in her new quilt.

Willy and Sonny

Congratulations to our town for throwing the best home town party yet. Even the powers-that-be were on our side that day with perfect weather, not too hot, just entirely pleasant.

While our benevolent sun shone down, the parade folks lined up ready to proceed. I had predicted that the honored Berger Family would ride in one of Tom Leonard’s snazzy cars. Alas with that tribe’s expanding numbers, no car could carry them all.

Which turned out even better. Fred and Carol Berger, along with various family folks, from old to young, were riding high on Neil Shepard’s lovely swan coach, pulled by his two magnificent horses.

Those mellow fellows, Willy and Sonny, waited patiently before the parade while all kinds of folks, young and old, gazed and goggled, patted, petted and talked at those two horses.

I am not surprised that Neil and the lovely Swan won the parade prize as first place, judges’ choice. Neil is an important part of our village and it’s good to see him acknowledged. Important not just because he is Jack London’s great grand-nephew, but because of his quiet and kind demeanor, his community spirit and his giving nature.

Dunbar School kids, dogs and flags

Judges’ choice, honorable mention (which is actually a close first prize) was awarded to the frolicking, happy children (and parents and staff) of Dunbar Elementary School. They truly deserve that honor, being the largest and most enthusiastic contingent of our parade, including family dogs and fluttering, colorful child-made flags. Alas, Dunbar School’s famous mascot from the ’70s, ’80s and maybe even into the ’90s, Dunbar D. Dog, has long since left us. But these replacement fellows, long-haired, tri-colored cattle dogs, made good substitutes.

Kids: If you don’t know Dunbar D. Dog, ask around and see if anyone at the school still remembers him. At one time, DDD was ubiquitous at the school, just like the little white fluffball, Ruby, who reigns there now each spring during Mellerdrama season, escorted by her companion Kate Kennedy.

As for Dunbar D. Dog, he was everywhere, all the time … that is, until an unfortunate collision with one of Dunbar School’s beloved principals ended the dog’s residency. That was fine though; he stayed nearby, the family pet of Dunbar School neighbors, dear Carol Lawrence and her sweet son, Peter.

Breaking formation for Kids’ Alley

We heard from two of our young friends who marched with the Dunbar contingent, that at the parade’s end the children immediately break formation and race to Kids’ Alley. That’s a great draw for our youngsters to attend the fair and it adds immeasurably to the day’s fun and excitement. Many thanks to Shannon and Steve Lee, and all of their crew, who make such a successful part of our fair.

We were thrilled that the Lee family also won first place for best theme and decorations in their Two Moon Farm family wagon. Whoopee. Replete with kids of all ages, including the most well-behaved kid riding in the back bucket. Could that be one of Bianca’s beautiful offspring? That mama would be Bianca the goat, of course. Her kid? We don’t know the name yet.

Dave Stollmeyer’s tractor was pretty classy, too. That won honorable mention (noting again: that means practically first place in these parts).

Thoughtful heads dream fabulous dresses

As we could well have predicted, Tasha and Charissa Drengson, two homegrown girls, now lovely ladies, won first place in the best costume category for their amazing big headed marchers (representing lots of food and lots of thought, no doubt). Tasha made the thoughtful heads while her sister and compatriot Charissa made their lovely recycled dresses, which were later featured at her booth. Tasha and Charissa’s mom, Sue Braito, has a part in all of this, too. She ranges and roams garage and estate sales throughout the Valley and beyond, finding lovely old bits of lace and fabric that Charissa fashions into fabulous clothing. On her Etsy site, Charissa labels her fashion line “uncommon goods for your extraordinary story: fresh, cutting edge, up-cycled, rough and tumble, rebellious, bohemian fashion: innovative, magical, soulful design.” Yep, I agree. All that and more.

The Drengson gals, and that includes third sister Amiee, are some of the most creative folks I know, constantly coming up with new and inventive ways to express their creative souls.

Bouquets to the Dead

Tasha’s next endeavor to artfully decorate our Valley is “Bouquets to the Dead,” an event that she’s planning Nov. 1 and 2 at Sonoma Mountain Cemetery, behind the Sonoma Valley Veterans memorial Building on First Street West. Tasha came up with this clever idea (possibly inspired after contributing for so many years to the DeYoung Museum’s “Bouquets to Art”) and went through all of the bureaucratic rigmarole to make this happen. Of course, claiming that was fuss and bother is my opinion. For Tasha, who approaches everything with such an upbeat attitude, getting those permits and approval for this event was just part of the fun.

But, now, the real fun – creating interesting and artistic ways to honor our ancestors – is yours to be had. If you’d like to participate in this event, give Tasha a call at 935-9507 or email her at natashadrengson9@gmail.com. Even if you’re not a contributor, wandering through the cemetery to see what others have done will be an artistic delight those two days.

Yeti dancers in red and gold

Back to the parade results – another team to receive honorable mention in the parade were the colorful Yeti dancers, the Himalayan dancing and drumming group (Yeti as in Yeti restaurant at Jack London Village). Their big-headed characters, all exotic brilliant reds and golds, make for quite the scene marching down Arnold Drive. I’d say Narayan Somname and his crew deserve a prize just for providing the best dhal I’ve ever had. But their town spirit is evident in their colorful parade participation. We wonder why more of our local restaurants don’t join the march down Arnold. After all, they are the major businesses in our town. Which reminds me, was the Sonoma Market contingent missing, or is it just that I missed seeing them?

Spirit of Glen Ellen

As for that Best Spirit of Glen Ellen award, first place was presented to Dunbar Elementary School, with honorable mention going to our Glen Ellen Fire Department. We’re happy Dunbar received two awards and the fire department folks surely deserve awards for being the most involved in our fair in every way from the dunk booth and engines for kids to scramble on, to beverage sales and more. Hurray for our fire department.

High school band plays Black Bear

Among the groups that didn’t win parade prizes that I really appreciated were the marching band of Sonoma Valley High School. They were a small group (maybe sports activities keep some kids away?); however, they did a rousing good job playing their instruments while maneuvering the main street of our town. And that’s no easy task.

Path lined with roses

I recall traveling from Northern California to march in Santa Rosa’s Rose Parade as a teen was no picnic. It wasn’t the travel that was onerous, it was side-stepping the stuff littering the path. Playing my French horn and following beasts less polite than Sonny and Will provided ample opportunity for missed beats, skipped notes and hopped steps. Our Sonoma band kids did a great job and we applaud them.

While not every entry in our parade, however good, can win a ribbon, there is another way to honor the students of our local high school band. Tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 23, the Sonoma Valley High School music department is holding a fundraiser at the Black Bear Diner. Anastasia Encarnacion, band parent and fundraising chair, tells me that students will be performing at the diner between 2:30 and 9 p.m.

Next week I’ll share some more fair news along with delights of Halloween in Glen Ellen.

The Folks in Glen Ellen column often continues online. Look for it at sonomanews.com/Life-History. Want to see your own name in the news? Share your stories with friends and neighbors in Glen Ellen. Call or write me at 996-5995 or P.O. Box 518, GE 95442. Or email me at Creekbottom@earthlink.net. Glen Ellen chatter rarely requires timeliness; however, if your news does, please be sure to contact me at least two weeks ahead.