Funky Fridays, the summer concert series staged at Hood Mansion, raised $50,000 for the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation in 2016. The Parks Foundation staff and board members have reviewed funding requests and will provide support for the following projects:
Bear Aware Program for Hood Mountain Regional Park and Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, including bear-proof garbage containers at campsites, bear aware signage, and interpretive programs to educate the public about black bears.
Hood Mansion Interpretive Panels to provide permanent interpretive information related to the history of Hood Mansion and surrounding properties.
Red Barn Campsite construction, to help Team Sugarloaf create three new backcountry campsites at the historic red barn compound near Bald Mountain.
“Sugarhood” Shuttle Service that will facilitate one-way hikes through Sugarloaf Ridge State Park and Hood Mountain Regional Park, with hikers then taking the shuttle back to the parking lot.
Sonoma Valley Hike-Ride-Trek Brochure to highlight outdoor recreation opportunities in the Sonoma Valley.
Sonoma Valley Family Programs, supporting outdoor programs for families from the Springs area.
In addition to these parks programs, the Parks Foundation will pay for significant upgrades at the Hood Mansion property to improve the Funky Fridays experience for the summer of 2017. Guests will enjoy a more amphitheater-like experience, with the stage moved to the south end of the lawn. Responding to requests from many of last year’s attendees, Funky Fridays also will install a new dance floor in front of the stage.
“These Funky Fridays events encapsulate one of the things we love about public parks,” said Richard Dale, executive director of Sonoma Ecology Center, which helps manage Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. “It brings people outside together and lets them relax in nature.”
Funky Fridays’ impact on local parks extends beyond the grants. Last year the Parks Foundation partnered with the Rotary Club of Glen Ellen/Kenwood to serve wine and beer at the events. The Rotary Club chose to direct its fundraising to Shaw Park in Kenwood. As a result of this support, future improvements at Shaw Park will include oak restoration, an upgraded pathway, new signage, additional trees and fencing improvements.
In addition, the Parks Foundation has begun to save a portion of the Funky Fridays funds for future maintenance projects at Hood Mansion.
Funky Fridays will continue to raise money for Sonoma Valley parks in the summer of 2017. The concert series will kick off on May 26, with the Bruthas, with concerts held from 7 to 9 p.m. each Friday through Sept. 1. Tickets are $10 for adults; free for children 18 and under. Parking is $10 per vehicle or free for Regional Parks members. Information and tickets are available atfunkyfridays.info.