Just about 40 miles north of San Francisco, California, you’ll find Petaluma. This city is an ideal spring vacation destination for a weekend getaway due to its natural beauty, a diverse selection of activities, and a welcoming community. The area has a storied past that reaches back thousands of years to the Coast Miwok, who originally settled the area. In the 1840’s, the land where Petaluma is now located was claimed by Spanish land grants and the area began to grow. The California Gold Rush and thousands of people began to descend upon northern California in 1849.
Chartered in 1858, Petaluma is one of California’s oldest cities nestled along the banks of the Petaluma River. The city’s riverfront location made it a bustling destination during the Gold Rush when the river carried product, poultry and dairy products to the rapidly expanding populations of San Francisco and Oakland. The early 1900’s saw Petaluma become a poultry and dairy farming hub, and it soon gained the nickname “World's Egg Basket”. Today, the city has over 58,000 people and is still a dairy farming hub, but now other industries like telecommunications, specialty agriculture and high technology help drive the economy.
Not only is Petaluma an economic powerhouse, it is also one of the top vacation destinations in the region. Fans of the outdoors will rejoice in experiencing the beautiful local parks, opportunities for river activities, and the abundant warmth and sunshine the area is known for. A few of the fun outdoor things to do include biking, hiking, kayaking, sightseeing, boating and horseback riding, to name only a few. If the outdoors are not your style, check out the diverse choices for live entertainment at local theaters, cinemas, music venues and more. The art and creative scenes thrive here, and you’ll encounter many art galleries, museums, shows and events that are all centered on unique art from Petaluma.
The delicious art of fermentation and distilling are in full flower in Petaluma. As the gateway to Wine Country, it’s natural that we share in the county’s reputation as a top wine destination. That’s only the beginning. Today, craft breweries and distilleries make it possible for foodies, oenophiles, beer-lovers and devotees of distilled spirits of all sorts to eat, drink and be merry throughout Petaluma.
Perhaps one of the best ways to experience the community is through one of their can't-miss local events like Petaluma’s Butter & Egg Days Parade.
Entering its 35th year, Petaluma’s Butter & Eggs Parade brings tens of thousands of people into the community each year. The event celebrates the city's rich history and how agriculture and farming helped build the community into what it is today. This is the perfect event for the entire family with activities and entertainment for all ages. There will also be some vendors selling great food and refreshments. If you're looking to create some great memories for you and your family, pack your bags and head to Petaluma’s Butter Egg Days Parade; you won't be disappointed! We got the chance to interview Colleen Rustad, Public Relations and Marketing Specialist for the Petaluma Visitors Program, to talk about this fun event.
RAL: Tell me a bit about the event.
CR: Brimming with authentic small town pride, Petaluma’s Butter & Egg Days Parade pays tribute to Petaluma’s place in history as the “World’s Egg Basket” and the community’s rich agricultural heritage. Originally created in the 1900’s to promote Petaluma as part of National Egg Day, the parade has grown to more than 130 units attracting 30,000 people into downtown. This year’s parade theme, “All Aboard! Next Stop Petaluma,” celebrates Petaluma’s railroad heritage and the launch of Petaluma’s new commuter train system in 2016.
The Butter & Egg Days Festival weekend continues on Sunday, April 24th when Petaluma’s charming historic downtown district is transformed into an open-air marketplace. The iron-front buildings and architectural gems of the late 1800’s provide a fitting backdrop for more than 200 antique dealers selling collectibles of all types and price. From campaign buttons and postcards to heirloom artwork and armoires, there is truly something for everyone. And while exploring the intriguing array of antiques, refresh and refuel at a downtown café or restaurant before setting off for more treasure hunting; it's a shopper's paradise!
RAL: Take me through a day at the event.
CR: The festival fun starts at 10:00 am with the only-in-Petaluma Cow Chip tossing contest. It’s adorable toddlers dressed in onesies and yellow feathers at the Cutest Little Chick Contest at 10:15 am; the Kids’ Parade starts at 11:30 am and the main parade steps off at noon. Live music, food and family fun continue throughout the afternoon in the downtown district.
The Antique Faire on Sunday, April 24th runs from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.
RAL: What can attendees expect to find for local lodging?
CR: Petaluma is big enough to have lodging options to suit every travel style and budget, yet small enough that the number of choices isn’t overwhelming. In addition to the Sheraton that has guest service scores in top 10% of all Sheratons nationwide, Petaluma has several boutique hotels. Visitors can stay in the heart of the Butter & Egg Days fun at Hotel Petaluma in historic downtown. It has recently been restored to its 1925 glory. Or just a few blocks away, the Metro Hotel offers “a little trip to Paris in Sonoma County.” Guests can even stay in an Airstream trailer on the property…it doesn’t get more unique than that! A mile up the road is the Petaluma KOA featuring several deluxe cabins with fully-equipped kitchenettes.
RAL: Why should people come?
CR: Petaluma's Butter & Egg Days Parade is the epitome of an authentic grass roots celebration filled with community spirit. When people are asked why the Butter & Egg Days Parade is an event that they wouldn’t consider missing, you’ll often hear them respond with, “This is the kind of event that reminds a person what America used to be like.”
Similarly, the Antique Faire is all about authenticity, both in setting and in merchandise. The fair takes place in tree-lined historic downtown with the iron-front buildings of the late 1800’s as the background. All the items that the antique dealers bring for sale are true antiques and not replicas. Shoppers enjoy the best of the past in the present!
For more information about Petaluma’s Butter & Egg Days Parade, please visit their website.