Lest We Forget – Bert Kerrigan

Bert KerriganAt 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 Petaluma Chicken Pharmacywith 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.”

paradeThis 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.


“Our Favorite River Town” – Petaluma

Petaluma In The Press Democrat
Karen Nau’s Google+ Post Where is “Petaluma”? #Petaluma #Peanuts In today’s PD

How many readers of the Press Democrat comics have noticed that Snoopy is asking about – “Petaluma?” because that is where the annual World’s Wrist Wrestling Contest is held. This competition was started in a Petaluma bar in 1953 and was publicized by a local reporter – Bill Soberanes. This series of cartoons by Charles Schultz was originally published years ago, and has helped put Our Favorite River Town on the world map. Snoopy is wondering where Petaluma is located. Why is the contest being held there? Can a blogger help Snoppy find the answer to these questions?

Snoopy and Charlie Brown Talking About Petaluma Wrist Wrestling Championships

A new blog site titled, Our Favorite River Town, is being created for use on the Positively Petaluma website. Although there is another blog, Our River Town, published on the Argus-Courier’s Petaluma360.com site by the same blogger,; we will be experimenting with this new site in order to get maximum exposure to the largest audience. Readers of both sites will be encouraged to read both posts and to share their thoughts.

Snoopy Arm Wrestling Linus Comic Strip

My Our River Town blog was initiated in the 1990s to share reflections about how the information and technology world of today was impacting Petaluma. To date, over 600 blogs have been posted in the following categories: Our Community. Then & Now, Web of Life, Remembering Bill Soberanes, Lest We Forget, Emergency Preparedness, Fred Wiseman, Our Cyberplace, Petaluma History, The Sages of Petaluma, and the Petalumans of Yesteryears.

Snoopy - Welcome To PetalumaAbout The Author:

Following a 40-year career as an educator, Bill Hammerman is currently a community volunteer who founded Petaluma Electronic Network (PEN) in 1996, the Petaluma CyberCity Roundtable (PCCR) and the Petalumans of Yesteryear in 1998, and the Petaluma Alliance for Local Emergency Response Teams (ALERT) in 2006. He was one of the original walking tour guides for the Petaluma History Museum and currently serves as the facilitator for the Sages of Petaluma and the Petalumans of Yesteryear.

Please feel free to share these  blogs with your friends and colleagues and help put Our Favorite River Town on the world map.



Which Came First—the Butter or the Egg?

Picture Girl Riding ChickenMost Petalumans have either heard of or been to Petaluma’s annual Butter and Egg Days Parade. Many of us have even participated in it and some have grown up going to it every year. But how many of us know the full history behind Butter and Egg Days?

Drawing nearly 25,000 attendees each year, the parade celebrates the city’s long history of producing eggs and dairy. Since the early 1900’s, Petaluma’s economy has depended heavily on the production of the local agricultural community. Petaluma was home to the largest chicken hatchery in the world by 1906 and by 1923 housed the only chicken pharmacy in the nation.

Butter & Egg Days HistoryIn order to promote Petaluma and the consumption of eggs, Petaluma Chamber of Commerce Secretary, H.W (Bert) Kerrigan began National Egg Days in 1918. The first National Egg Day parade brought in four newsreel companies who then made films of the parades, which were shown across the nation. Petaluma celebrated National Egg Days through the 1920s with much enthusiasm and support from the local community.

Clo The Cow Leading The Butter & Egg Days ParadeWhile the tradition of National Egg Days ended in the late 1920s, the idea carried on and inspired Alice Forsyth and Linda Buffo to establish Petaluma’s Butter and Egg Days in 1981. The original egg theme was used, although the egg industry was no longer as prominent as it had been in the 1920s, while the dairy industry had grown. For that reason, the 1983 committee decided to ask local dairies to participate, thus creating Petaluma’s annual Butter and Egg Days.

The parade was brought back in order to celebrate the town’s culture, history, and heritage. This year is our 34th celebration of Petaluma and the farmers whose contributions have made our town possible.

The Petaluma Butter and Egg Days parade and festival is a community event that brings everyone together and displays the best that Petaluma has to offer. The parade and festival celebrate Petaluma’s rich culture and history, bringing together the past and the present, as we join together to look forward with hope.


PCA Releases #Petaluma’s 2014 Veteran’s Day Parade Video

Did you miss this year’s Veteran’s Day Parade?  Our previous article #Petaluma’s Veteran’s Day Parade: Schedule, Highlights, History and Video was seen and read by many. It was also shared hundreds of times on social media.  We had several requests to share any video we get of this year’s event including a request from Barbara Fanucchi who commented on that article.  A lot of people, for any number of reasons, cannot make one of the best Veteran’s Day parades in Northern California but would like to see it.  It’s for this reason we share this video.

Yesterday Petaluma Community Access posted a whole length video of the entire parade.  So now you don’t have to miss it and you can enjoy watching the parade from the comfort of your home.

Do you know someone who missed this years’ parade or someone who was in the parade that didn’t get video of this event?  

Use the share icons below to share this video with your friends and family.  We are sure they will appreciate that you did.

#Petaluma Celebrates “The Birth of an AVA – Petaluma Gap”

Recently the Petaluma Historical Museum and Library had a fantastic display of our city’s viticulture history.  Kaye Chandler did a great job in capturing the display on video (which can be found on the next page of this article).  Over the years our town’s rolling hills have evolved into what now is starting to look like the Sonoma or Napa Valley.  After reviewing Kaye’s film you realize that Petaluma families have been making wine since the mid 1900s (some sources say for over 150 years).

Keller Estate & Petaluma River, Photo by Wayne Dunbar

While we have a rich history in viticulture, 2015 marks the birth of a new American Viticulture Area (AVA), The Petaluma GAP. An AVA is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Trade Bureau and United States Department of Treasury. The geographic features that distinguish the Petaluma GAP is the wind and the fog. The “GAP” refers to the wind gap named after a coastal mountain opening that stretches east from the Pacific through the town of Petaluma and then roars south to San Pablo Bay which makes this AVA ideal for growing certain grapes (Pinot, Chardonnay & Syrah).  The AVA designation allows the wine makers to label their bottles indicating the grapes in the wine came from this region.

On Friday, January 30 from 6-8PM located at the Healdsburg Public Library the “The Birth of an AVA – Petaluma GAP” event will be hosted by the Wine Library Associates of Sonoma County and the Petaluma GAP Winegrowers Alliance.  This is a great opportunity to have some wine and learn about the region.  Tickets are $35 per person but only $25 for Wine Library and Alliance members.  You can reserve tickets by calling (707) 433-1660 or purchasing tickets on Eventbrite.


Need Something to do this Saturday night? Check out ProXhibition Closing Reception

Petaluma Craft Guild
Petaluma Craft Guild

Petaluma has a rich history of wine and spirits.  We not only have our very own craft guild made up of brewers, distillers and vintners who promote the crafts and spirits of our city, we will soon have our own Petaluma GAP (AVA) wine region.  So what could complement that? How about a prohibition themed art show.

Griffin Map Design & Gallery
Griffin Map Design & Gallery

Located at the historic Burdell Building at 405 East D Street Suite D&F the MAPS shop is also an art gallery.  Walking into the Griffin Map Design & Gallery you will see a display of vintage bottles including some produced right here in Petaluma.  The walls were lined with various art pieces from local artists including Maxfield Bala (see Video of the Making of the Petaluma Mural by Maxfield Bala)

You will also see the artwork from Justin Ringlein, Will Elias, Todd Bischoff, Jonny Hirschmugl, Sam Gerhard, and let’s not forget “Bootleg” Chan. Scott Lowrie, the owner, known for his cartography work also creates interesting artwork with map themes.  You may know what I am talking about if you saw his booth at the Petaluma Art & Garden Festival this last year. He also has other artistic talents like his “Miller Girl” piece of a prohibition woman who is about toss a bottle of booze.

Scott Lowrie's Miller Girl
Scott Lowrie’s Miller Girl

They are celebrating their closing reception of this interesting art display on Saturday, January 17th from 6-10PM.  If you wish to dress to the era to celebrate the closing you won’t be alone.  If you are shy you can have fun and people watch. They will be serving snacks and drinks.  So if you wish to support a small local Petaluma business and area artists be sure to stop by and take a look before it is gone.

Click here to see their facebook invitation.

The ProXhibition Closing Reception
The ProXhibition Closing Reception


Video: Want to see 11 Miles of the Petaluma River in a canoe in just 4+ Minutes?

ps_PetalumaRiver_largeThe Petaluma River is not only a popular water way for sports and fun, it also shaped our city’s history and heritage.  This week I found some interesting information about our River I thought was worth sharing. Jaringan Tokek recently blogged on our river in an article called Petaluma River – Petaluma River California on Friday, October 24, 2014 which covers the habitat, ecology and history of our river.  Petaluma also has a non-profit organization called the Friends of the Petaluma River whose goal is to celebrate and conserve the Petaluma River, its wetlands, and wildlife.  They support education and activities around our river and created several annual events around our river including the Petaluma Watershed Celebration, Petaluma River Clean-Up, Winter Fandango Gala, River Heritage Days, and let’s not forget the popular Rivertown Revival.

#Petaluma’s Veteran’s Day Parade: Schedule, Highlights, History & Video

Photo from the Press Democrat

Joe Noriel with the Purple Heart City sign at Putnam Plaza on Petaluma Blvd, Photo Argus Courier
Joe Noriel with the Purple Heart City sign at Putnam Plaza on Petaluma Blvd, Photo Argus Courier

Update February 14, 2015, PCA Releases 2014 Veteran’s Day Parade Video

Positively Petaluma would like to thank our men and woman in the United States armed services, we salute you! By sharing the following information we would like to honor of our veterans and the memory of our fallen soldiers.  Petaluma in the last year was named The Purple Heart city and our veterans were saluted in pre-Memorial Day Ceremony in May. Each year Petaluma’s Veterans Day parade provides for the best venue for families from all over to celebrate and remember the members of our military. Freedom is not free and many of our vets have paid the ultimate sacrifice for us so we can enjoy the freedoms we often take for granted.

Photo by Conner Jay, The Press Democrat
Photo by Conner Jay, The Press Democrat



Argus Courier Petaluma360.com reports Veterans Day Parade, Nov. 11 on November 4, 2014

Petaluma Patch reports What’s On Tap For Veterans Day In Petaluma on November 7, 2014 by Susan C. Schena



VIDEO UPDATE: Jewish Community of #Petaluma Celebrates 150 Years

A celebration in August 1925 for the opening of the Petaluma Jewish Community Center photo/courtesy b’nai israel jewish center


Posted by the Producer, Director and Editor Mac Weinstock on YouTube on November 3, 2014.


An old photo of B’nai Israel Jewish Center’s current building
An old photo of B’nai Israel Jewish Center’s current building


We didn’t see this report elsewhere, so we felt it was important to share for its historical significance of our great city. On October 23 the Jweekly.com wrote and article announcing the Jewish community of Petaluma celebrates 150 years by shoshana hebshi , j. correspondent.  The congregation started in Petaluma in October 22, 1864, and they were incorporated as Congregation Society B’nai Israel by the state in 1871.

During our famed “Egg Basket of the World” in 30’s and 40s thousands of chicken farmers were jewish farming families. More came from Russia after WWI in postwar years. The Petaluma Jewish Community Center was dedicated on 740 Western Ave near the downtown in 1925.

#Petaluma Celebrates the Centennial of Northwestern Pacific Railroad

Trains were a big factor in our local economy and industry.  The fact that we have a Northwestern Pacific Railroad Museum and Historical Society is because Petaluma would not be the town that it is today without the rail system.  Positively Petaluma did a little digging into the history and wanted to show you some vintage photos of the train history in Petaluma.

Here are some photographs we found in the Sonoma County Historical Archives.

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Our historical Petaluma Visitor Center and art center is the original train depot and in the past has served as the center of our city’s transportation since 1914.  In 1991 it was featured in a made for TV Hitchcock thriller in 1991.  Today it will become a depot for the new Sonoma Marin Rail Transit Commission (SMART) train system.

Here are historical photos of our Petaluma Depot.