River expected to be Rockin’ longer and louder in 2013
Rotarian-realtor and community booster Herman Hernandez knows one of the best ways to get people together is to offer to feed them. He had something to say, a vision to share and so he invited movers and shakers and mainly local people of influence to enjoy breakfast with him (and each other) on February 18 at the River Inn.
The warm weather-longer days-tourist season is approaching and Hernandez, whose efforts helped make last summer’s Rockin’ on the River free music series in Guerneville’s town plaza a reality, wanted to talk about repeating the well received concerts and making it even bigger and better than last year.
He spoke about how much of the funding the county makes available “never makes it out here” and how many business people are going through “tough times” and feel the need to be frugal.
The point being, he said, that “we, as a community are on our own” and need to reach out to one another to fund events.
But he also spoke about how Guerneville is a town comprised of caring people who are willing to share, to take it upon themselves to make things happen. He mentioned the non-profits, service agencies and generosity which earmarks the town, among them West County Community Services and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and spoke about being so touched by this sharing and giving he sometimes “feels like crying”.
He spoke about River Rotary, Park and Rec, the Chamber and others coming up with between $26K and $33K, and because of frugality last year there was a $5K carry-over.
Last summer there were seven Thursday evenings during which performers entertained and brought the townspeople together and this summer, said Hernandez, he would like erect a larger stage, close off First Street and have up to twelve acts perform.
He and Kathy Dupler Ocean who, along with her spouse Jim Ocean booked last year’s performers, had taken a trip up to the town of Windsor which has a very roomy Town Green where events during last summer drew between 1,500 and 11,000 people. Of course he doesn’t envision a turnout like that in Guerneville’s tiny
plaza but he feels there could be a significant improvement over the numbers that attended in 2012.
Last year Maria Muldaur kicked off the series and sustained her reputation well, Dr. Loco kept his chile peppers hot, James Clark, an Elvis impersonator, had enough peanut butter and banana sandwiches to keep him from missing Graceland, a Johnny Cash clone created his own Ring of Fire and the THUGZ, with their admirable reputation preceding them, disappointed no one. The Fargo Brothers played like it was a family picnic, Dag Nabbit invoked their sagebrush-kickin’ bluegrass and Paraguayan prodigy Carlos Reyes introduced Guerneville to the Paraguayan Harp and strolled through the dancing crowd playing his violin.
Thanks to Eco-Ring, a certified Guerneville Farm Market located in Sonoma Nesting Company’s parking lot, each little jubilee became a small-town country fair. The small but robust market, which had a limited amount of quality vendors selling veggies, fruit, smoked salmon, eggs, grass-fed beef and pork, cheese, olive oil and local bakery goods will be overseen by Realtor Connie Schlabach this year and is expected to have some 15 vendors selling food and food-related products.
Jim Ocean and Kathy Dupler Ocean, Guerneville residents for nine years who host their own KGGV FM radio show (“Metaquizzical Cafe”), will again be signing on performers. With 30 years experience putting concerts together chiefly in Contra Costa County, they have the expertise and connections necessary to get it done. Last year the concerts were held alternate Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. but this years’ schedule has yet to be announced.
Hernandez also aired his appreciation of others who helped put it all together
last year, including John “Milo” Chapman who oversaw setting up the stage and putting the sound system together, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who helped collect donations and the Rotarians who stuck around for four or five hours after each concert helping to clean up and pack up.
Hernandez also spoke about local artists creating and displaying their works this year and youth organizations raising funds by selling bottled water and soda. He saw music as being a unifying force which often helps bring people together and creating a network where citizens could work together for the common good of the Guerneville area.
Established, promoted and sponsored last summer by a cadre of proactive locals, this year’s events are expected to tap into a broader dimension of community interaction.
If you would like to get involved, contact the Russian River Chamber of Commerce at 869-9000. They would appreciate hearing from you.
All photos: Stephen D. Gross