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Sebastopol turns out for Apple Blossom Festival

Apple Blossom Parade
Apple Blossom Parade

Ruby Kowell, 10, with Circus Waldissima of Summerfield Waldorf balances on a ball during Saturday's Apple Blossom Parade in downtown Sebastopol. The Apple Blossom Festival continues today.

Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat
Published: Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 9:54 p.m.

Taking to heart the theme of “Hometown Reunion,” Sebastopol residents gathered Saturday to celebrate their small town at the 67th Apple Blossom Festival parade.

As in past years, the parade began with a color guard featuring World War II veterans from the local VFW post, followed by marching bands, floats, clowns, tractors and horses.

The festival typically draws about 8,000 visitors on parade day, and Saturday's sunny weather remained mild enough “to keep them here for most of the day,” said Teresa Ramondo, executive director of the town's chamber of commerce, the festival sponsor.

Grand Marshals Robert Brent and Linda Galletta, the board president and executive director respectively for the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, traveled the route in a vintage Packard convertible, joined by Galletta's two grandchildren.

“It's an experience they will never forget,” Galleta said of her grandchildren. Her granddaughter was especially delighted by the goat from Bohemian Creamery that followed in a car behind them.

The sweepstakes trophy was won for the second straight year by Pleasant Hill Christian School.

The school's float was pulled by an old Model T that was transformed into a steam engine. The float featured poster-size historic photos of Sebastopol, and children singing “This Town is Your Town,” to the tune of “This Land is Your Land.”

“Pretty much the entire school was sitting on the float,” parent Dennis Bolt said of the 30-plus students. Bolt also designed the festival's poster for the third year.

The festival continues Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Ives Park, with a blues festival starting at 11:30 a.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and kids age 11 to 17. Children 10 and under are free.

Galletta and Brent became the parade's grand marshals because they were named citizens of the year for the town of 7,400 people.

Galletta said the event seemed to live up to its theme.

“Everyone seemed to know everyone and everyone seemed to be waving,” she said.

You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale at 521-5285 or robert.digitale@pressdemocrat.com.

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