At last, the sun came out and Saturday’s Butter & Egg Days Parade (April 25) was the 34th year that Petaluma celebrated its historic roots in the chicken and egg industry, which can trace its roots back to 1879, when Lyman Byce invented the first successful incubator for hatching eggs. As this new industry grew over the years and the demand for chickens and eggs increased, Petaluma became the world leader of this industry and was called “The Egg Basket of the World” in 1917. Much of the credit for this recognition has been awarded Bert Kerrigan, who had been hired by the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce to market and promote Petaluma. On August 13, 1918, Petaluma initiated National Egg Day with a downtown parade led by a queen and royal chicks. In addition to the parade, there was also a Chicken Rodeo and Egg Queen Ball. In 1920, the original Egg Day events ended, but the current parade took its place in 1982, in honor of Our Favorite River Town’s chicken and egg days legacy.
Lest we forget, Bert Kerrigan and all the other Petalumans whose efforts have put Petaluma back on the world map. Ripley’s Believe It or Not column and National Geographic discovered and featured the Chicken Pharmacy located on Main Street. It has also been reported that by 1920, the price of eggs increased and that “for nearly two decades, there was more money on deposit in Petaluma banks, per capita, than any other town on Earth.”
This positive and strong sense of community continues to this day and has influenced the current generation of Petalumans to never forget their favorite river town’s legacy. Stay tuned as we continue to blog about the city where we have chosen to live, work, play, and retire.