All Americans of a certain age have asked, “Where were you when Kennedy was assassinated?” Similarly, all residents of Sonoma County now have a similar question, “Where were you the night of the fires?”
Residents of sleepy Glen Ellen remember a sleepless night. Some remember far worse.
This weekend marks a rebirth. The Glen Ellen Village Fair returns and another festival begins.
The “We’re Coming Back Better” concert is being held for the very first time on Saturday, and the Glen Ellen Village Fair is marking its 28th birthday on Sunday.
The “We’re Coming Back Better” concert is a benefit show being held near Dunbar School. Johnny “Capo” Stalcup, one of the co-producers of the day, calls the event “a precious day for precious people.” The event will feature “survivor” musicians and bands, as well as local artists. One can expect great cuisine and excellent entertainment.
Stalcup said, “I look for the silver lining in my life.” The first fire benefit he was involved with was back in July at the Sonoma Moose Lodge. Now, Stalcup and Jim Mora have started a nonprofit organization. They have overseen an impressive accumulation of sponsors and auction items to aid with the fundraising.
Saturday’s event is at Glenet Vineyards, 12140 Vintage Lane, Glen Ellen. Scheduled to perform are Dave Reed, Stewart Degner, Audrey Rose, the Cork Puller Trio, and Johnny Capo and Jimmy Mora and Friends. Attendance is limited to 150 people, so get there early!
The Glen Ellen Village Fair starts at noon on Sunday. Locals love the event, and this year’s will be particularly poignant. It will open with a moment of silence, then “the world’s shortest parade” starts rolling down Arnold Drive. All of about 235 yards long, the Parade lasts about 12 grueling minutes.
Traveling southbound, at about a third of the way through the parade route, is Marshall’s Auto Body. The photogenic garage was built in the late 1930s and at one time was the only service station between Santa Rosa and Sonoma. Three pumps! Full service!
Interestingly, it is also said to be home of the first ambulance and fire truck in the village. Glen Ellen’s very first first responders.
Glen Ellen resident Pat Carlin was given the task of booking the bands. He was working with three stipulations for selection: they need to be local bands, he wants different bands each year and the bands must play for free.
Since that leaves out Paul McCartney, this year Carlin will present three rockin’ regional combos. At 1 p.m., the Mighty Creatures of Habit, fronted by local guitarist and winery owner Rich Little, breaks the silence. At 2:30 p.m., it’s Long Story Short, featuring local pedal steel guitar wizard Curtis Duff. Closing out the day at 4 p.m. is Santa Rosa’s Poyntlyss Sistars.
Duff, who is a veteran of many bands and a retired Sassarini School teacher, is excited to be part of the event. He said, “I wanted to go again (to the fair) because it seemed important, a year after the Nuns Fire. Being able to play with Long Story Short at the fair this year is special for me.”
The bands on the main stage will be shepherded through their sets by local veteran sound engineer Pete Carlson. Carlson has blended sound with the best in the biz, with bands including the Doobie Brothers, Alice Cooper and Hank Williams Jr.
Glen Ellen Village Fair
The Poyntlyss Systars at 4 p.m.
Long Story Short at 2:30 p.m.
Rich Little Band at 1 p.m.
Radar at 4 p.m.
The Trips at 2:30 p.m.
The Rockcats at 1 p.m.