Where I come from, it’s not necessarily cornbread & chicken, BUT, 4th of July is a pretty big deal. Sonoma has been voted multiple times over the past few years as having one of the best celebrations in the good old U.S of A. I’m proud of my hometown and the well deserved recognition it has received.
People from all walks of life come to experience our parade. My memories of the parade when I was a kid are fond. The parking spots around the square were filled with trucks, which were then filled with chairs. Any empty parking spots that were not already occupied were crammed with families and tables of food. That is all true today, just minus the cars. No more are cars allowed to be parked Downtown during the parade, instead the streets are lined with canopies to provide shade. People fight for these spots (and I am not kidding or elaborating), this is comparable to finding a spot for the parade or fireworks at Disneyland. Someone stakes out for hours to hold that special spot. It’s pretty crazy, I have done it in years past for Aurora to have a good viewing spot & shade. Luckily, this year, she was in the parade and I didn’t have to worry about finding a prime location. I walked around, Mimosa in hand and had the freedom to do what I wanted instead of worrying about leaving all my belongings somewhere it could potentially get moved. Also, it allowed me to find my way to the Rancho Maria Tasting Room & get free tacos. FREE TACO’S. I was super happy.
The afternoons are typically filled with BBQ’s and a much needed nap. I swear, a day here for Fourth of July is almost like being in Disneyland. You have certain things you are trying to get done and spots to hold for the parade or fireworks, and so much walking around! By 1pm I’m usually ready for a nap and so is Aurora. Our mid evening routine has switched around, sometimes there’s another BBQ to get to and have dinner, or what we have been doing the past few years is go watch our local baseball team, The Sonoma Stompers. Yes, baseball, in wine country…who knew?! One of Sonoma’s best kept secret maybe. The Sonoma Stompers are part of the Pacific West League, an independent national team, which has a total of six teams. They are so much fun to go to and definitely family friendly. After the game they allow everyone in attendance to watch the fireworks, which is so convenient.
Our fireworks are the best for a small town. No arguments. Our show is easily 30 minutes, there is an opening sequence that resembles a finale and the actual finale is just stunning. Between that is 20 minutes of just beautiful fireworks of all shapes, colors and sizes. The next greatest thing about them is the location. Location, location, location! It matters. Our bike path is a few miles long, hidden along beautiful fields and some historic sites and in one of those open fields is where the launch site is. You get ti literally sit back (or lay down) and look up into the sky and see these fireworks up close and personal. It’s not like Disneyland where you are shoulder to shoulder in a crowd of thousands of people. You grab a blanket, some lawn chairs, snacks and maybe some beverages and enjoy the show. One of the things that also makes Sonoma’s firework show so special is that it is community funded. Now, who launches the fireworks? Our very own Fire Department, well one of them, and some volunteers. They prep the field and make sure it is safe, especially after the October fires, and do the clean up the next day.
What I love about Sonoma is that we are very much a community based town. We love nothing more than gathering together and celebrating anything and everything. Come to a Tuesday Night Market and you’ll see exactly what I am talking about. Blankets and tables filled with families and friends cover the park. People bring small bites to share and grab dinner from one of the food trucks and leave with some awesome local produce or other goodies. Sonoma is just the best. Growing up, I definitely didn’t appreciate it for what it was. It took moving away and putting an ocean between my hometown and myself for me to love it. So, now as I raise my own daughter here I try to show her the best our town has to offer.