Blog hourly 1 1970-01-01T00:00+00:00 Buy Your Buttons Now <p class="plain"></p><div align="center" class="plain">Buy your <b>Friends of the Parade Button</b> and you can get discounts from merchants all over town! For only $5, you get a commemorative button to wear and show your Petaluma Pride! <img width="150" daid="17967327" src='//' border="0"><br></div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain">There are over 40 merchants in Petaluma that will give you a discount or freebies just for wearing your button. <br></div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain">Want a discount on that show you've been wanting to see at the Mystic? Check!<br></div><div class="plain">Want a discount at that restaurant you've been meaning to try? Check!</div><div class="plain">Want a discount on that tattoo you've always wanted? Check!</div><div class="plain">Want a discount on the stores you frequent anyway? Check!</div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain">Don't miss out on this opportunity - buttons are on sale now at:</div><div class="plain"><b>Raleys, Petaluma Market, Crown Hair Salon, Lombardi's BBQ & Deli and Petaluma Visitor's Center.</b> <br></div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain">Button discount good from April 20-28 only. ACT NOW<br></div><p class="plain"></p> Petaluma Downtown 2019-04-12T10:05:03-07:00 Buy Your Buttons Now Pint Night April 3 <p class="plain"></p><div class="plain"><font style="" class="banner"><a link="" rel="" target="_blank" href="" class="banner">Come Help Keep Our Parade Mooving!</a><br></font></div><div class="plain">Join us <b>Wednesday, April 3 </b>and bring your friends. This is one of the ways we raise money to help keep our beloved parade! Since PDA is a nonprofit, we need all the help we can get in raising funds to put on the Butter & Egg Days Festival. The parade is the largest one north of the Golden Gate that attracts thousands of visitors to town and creates a revenue for many businesses. Please help us continue to do so by attending Pint Night anytime between 2 and 9pm. <br></div><div class="plain">Every pint purchased contributes $1 to our parade.</div><div class="plain">You can also purchase buttons and posters starting at 4pm.</div><div class="plain">Bassel and the Supernaturals will be entertaining the crowd at 4:20. <br></div><div class="plain">See you there!<br></div><p class="plain"></p> Petaluma Downtown 2019-03-29T10:08:56-07:00 Pint Night April 3 Local Businesses Get Discounts for B&E <p class="plain"></p><div class="plain">If you are a Petaluma Business and would like to get a space at the Butter & Egg Days Festival which sees close to 30,000 people from 10am to 5pm on April 27, 2019 - you can get a discount! AND if you are a PDA Member, you get an even bigger discount! <br></div><div class="plain">So don't delay! <a link="" rel="" target="_blank" href="" class="plain">Apply Now!</a><br></div><p class="plain"></p> Petaluma Downtown 2019-02-27T16:26:52-08:00 Local Businesses Get Discounts for B&E Good Egg Nominations Accepted for 2019 <p class="plain">The Good Egg Award is presented annually to a Petaluma<font style="" class="plainlarge">n whose effort over time has helped highlight</font><font style="" class="plainlarge">, preserve and contribute to the positive promotion of the city of Petaluma</font>. The goal of The Good Egg award program is to encourage all to become advocates of the unique qualities of Petaluma and to act as ambassadors for Petaluma’s heritage in our day to day lives. The Good Egg should be a role model for this.</p><p class="plain"><font style="" class="plainlarge"><br></font></p><p class="plain"><font style="" class="plainlarge">If you are interested in nominating someone for this award, </font><a link="" rel="" target="_blank" href="" class="plain">please click here to go to our online nomination form. </a><font style="" class="plainlarge"><br></font></p><p class="plain"><font style="" class="plainlarge">DEADLINE FOR NOMINATIONS IS FEB 22.<br></font></p><p class="plain"><font style="" class="plainlarge">Or you can call the office and we will mail you a hard copy to download.</font></p><p class="plain"><font style="" class="plainlarge">707-769-0429</font><br></p> Petaluma Downtown 2019-02-21T10:47:46-08:00 Good Egg Nominations Accepted for 2019 Butter & Egg Sponsor Opportunities <p class="plain"></p><div class="plain"><font style="" class="heading2">Wonder how we keep the parade MOOving? <br></font></div><div class="plain"><font style="" class="heading2">We get sponsors! There are some incredible sponsor opportunities available for businesses that wish to get more involved in their community. </font><a link="" rel="" target="_blank" href="" class="heading2">Please click here for a list of open sponsorships.</a></div><div class="plain"><font style="" class="heading2">If you don't see what you want, call us and we can tailor a sponsorship for you.</font></div><div class="plain"><font style="" class="heading2"><br></font></div><div class="plain"><font style="" class="heading2">Marie at 707-762-9348 - Sponsorship Coordinator<br></font></div><p class="plain"></p> Petaluma Downtown 2019-02-19T13:44:32-08:00 Butter & Egg Sponsor Opportunities Calling all Antique Faire Vendors! <p class="plain"></p><div class="plain">The Petaluma Downtown Association is now accepting applications for the Spring Antique Faire, taking place on April 28 as part of the Butter & Egg Days Celebrations. Please <a link="" rel="" target="_blank" href="" class="plain">CLICK HERE</a> for online application.</div><div class="plain">This 34 year old Faire has over 200 vendors adorning the historic downtown district and has something for everyone.</div><div class="plain">Only authentic vintage items, antiques and collectibles are found here, so it makes for a wonderful shopping experience.</div><div class="plain"><b>Deadline to apply is March 8.</b><br></div><p class="plain"></p> Petaluma Downtown 2019-01-29T12:07:23-08:00 Calling all Antique Faire Vendors! Helping Coast Guard Families <p class="plain">THIS JUST IN<br> <a link="" target="_blank" href="">Grocery Outlet</a> (Petaluma, CA) will add 20% of their own money to your financial support, regardless of the amount you choose to donate!</p> <div class="plain">Announcing a new collaboration to help our Petaluma Coast Guard families. You now have a clear path to getting your donation directly to those Petaluma Coast Guard families who need it the most while DC works things out. <br></div><div class="plain"><br></div><div class="plain"><a link="" rel="" target="_blank" href="" class="plain">Click HERE for a video with more info>></a><br></div> Petaluma Downtown 2019-01-28T13:39:26-08:00 Helping Coast Guard Families Parade Entries now accepted <div align="center" class="plain"> <table width="100%" style="" cellspacing="0" class="plain" cellpadding="0" border="0"> <tbody><tr> <td width="100%" valign="top" style="" class="plain"> <table width="100%" style="" cellspacing="0" class="plain" cellpadding="0" border="0"> <tbody><tr> <td valign="top" style="" class="plain"> <p align="center" class="plain">Early Bird Entry Deadline: <br></p><p align="center" class="plain">Monday, March 8</p><p align="center" class="plain"><b>MUST BE RECEIVED BY 10AM</b></p><p align="center" class="plain"> </p><div align="center"> <table width="100%" style="" cellspacing="0" class="plain" cellpadding="0" border="0"> <tbody><tr> <td width="100%" valign="top" style="" class="plain"> <table width="100%" style="" cellspacing="0" class="plain" cellpadding="0" border="0"> <tbody><tr> <td align="left" valign="top" style="" class="plain"> <p class="plain"><b>Parade Date: Saturday, April 27, 2019</b></p> <p class="plain"><b>Start Time</b>: 12:00 noon (rain or shine) </p> <p class="plain"><b>Location: </b>Downtown Petaluma, California </p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p align="center" class="plain"><a link="" target="_blank" href=""><b>Entry Application NOW AVAILABLE online at the link here </b></a><b> </b> </p> <p align="center" class="plain">(Kids Parade entry is available on the same link) </p> <p align="center" class="plain">Hard copy applications available upon request.</p> <p align="center" class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain"> <b>Theme:</b><b> </b><b>“It’s Always Punny in Petaluma”</b> Celebrating all that is udderly egg-ceptional in Sonoma County and Clo’s 50th Birthday! Petaluma is a vibrant, engaged community and home to so many wonderful businesses; agricultural, production, manufacturing, libations, incredible nonprofits and of course Clo the Cow, whose “punny” journey can be traced back to the 60’s with Clovers famous, witty puns and memorable billboards. </p> <p class="plain">This year we are paying special homage to Clo as she turns 50 and all that is good in PetaMooma! (Bare with us – it is going to be fun).</p> <p class="plain"><b>Parade entries: </b>Required to be entertaining, creative and exciting. Participate with a float, push float, band, colorful costumes, uniformed attire, drill, dance team or comical routines, antique or unique vehicles, etc. <b>Think out of the box! </b>All parade entries will be selected based on how well they theme their presentations around the Parade theme of:   <b>“It’s Always Punny in Petaluma”</b> <i>Celebrating all that is udderly egg-ceptional in Sonoma County and Clo’s 50 Birthday.</i> </p> <p class="plain"><b>How punny are you? – Please use puns wherever you can!</b><b> </b><b><i>Judges will give extra consideration for creative puns!</i></b> </p> <p class="plain"><b>Some Parade theme ideas for entrants to start your thinking: </b></p> <p class="plain">·        Pay Homage to Clo’s Herd-day – Wishing Clo a Happy 50<sup>th</sup> Birthday </p> <p class="plain">·        Celebrating PetaMOOma – Anything that makes Petaluma shine </p> <p class="plain">·        Celebrating our ComMOOnity – celebrating your nonprofit, community groups, etc </p> <p class="plain">·        Celebrating all that is MOO - (actually that’s you or anything new) </p> <p class="plain">·        Celebrating Sonoma COWnty – Sonoma County has so much to offer – show us! </p> <p class="plain">·        Anything udderly egg-ceptional that puts Petaluma on the map </p> <p class="plain">·        Visual pun signage </p> <p class="plain"><b>Parade Route: </b>One mile – The parade will start at the corner of D Street and Fourth Street. It will proceed on Fourth Street to Kentucky Street, right onto Washington Street, right onto Petaluma Boulevard North to Petaluma Boulevard South and end at D Street. </p> <p class="plain"><b>Anticipated Attendance: </b>25,000 + </p> <p class="plain">Parade organizers will approve applicants. Notification of acceptance will be emailed.</p> <p class="plain"><b>Clover Kids Parade: </b>Clover Sonoma is again sponsoring a Parade for youngsters.  It will start at 11:30 a.m. at 4th and D St. and move along the regular parade route to the Kids Area in the A Street Parking Lot, approx. 4 blocks. Only pre-schools, primary grade classes or clubs, mothers clubs, and other similar groups will be in this parade. </p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">Respond early to be considered for placement in our parade. </p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">For updated information on the parade, please visit our website at <a link="" target="_blank" href=""></a> </p> </td> </tr> </tbody></table> </td> </tr> </tbody></table> </div> <br><p class="plain"></p> </td> </tr> </tbody></table> </td> </tr> </tbody></table> </div> Petaluma Downtown 2019-01-17T16:33:43-08:00 Parade Entries now accepted Volunteers Needed for Parade <p class="plain"></p><div align="center" class="plain"><img width="400" daid="17918313" src='//' border="0">VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR BUTTER & EGG DAYS PARADE!<br></div> Applications are now available to contribute your energy and enthusiasm to our ever popular parade. It definitely takes a village. Please consider volunteering your time to help us create the community feeling of pride.<br> <a link="" rel="" target="_blank" href="" class="plain">CLICK HERE FOR OUR ONLINE APPLICATION</a><p class="plain"></p> Petaluma Downtown 2019-01-15T13:31:12-08:00 Volunteers Needed for Parade Downtown Holiday Open House <p class="plain"></p><div class="plain"><font style="" class="plainlarge">Saturday, December 1st, the downtown will be exploding with merriment. Starting at noon, you can find free entertainment in Putnam Plaza with horse & carriage rides, face painting, balloon animals, caroling, live music, ornament forgings, gift wrapping and more. <br></font></div><div class="plain"><font style="" class="plainlarge"><br></font></div><div class="plain"><font style="" class="plainlarge">In the Bank Building, the small vendor faire will help you shop for those "who have everything" and children's entertainment inthe form of puppet theatre, songs, and storytime with Benedettiville and Love, Hope & Magic. <br></font></div><div class="plain"><font style="" class="plainlarge"><br></font></div><div class="plain"><font style="" class="plainlarge">But that's not all! Around town you will find caricature drawings at Flower Child, harpist and ornament making at Seed Bank, cookie decorating at iLeoni, latke tasting near the Water Street Bridge and more. <br></font></div><div class="plain"><font style="" class="plainlarge"><br></font></div><div class="plain"><font style="" class="plainlarge">For a complete list of entertainment and merchant specials </font><a link="" rel="" target="_blank" href="" class="plainlarge">visit our page here.</a><font style="" class="plainlarge"> </font></div><p class="plain"></p> Petaluma Downtown 2018-11-26T11:11:15-08:00 Downtown Holiday Open House Santa's Riverboat Arrival <p class="plain">When Santa arrives in Petaluma, he leaves his sleigh at home. Instead, he and Mrs. Claus make a uniquely Petaluma arrival. They sail up the Petaluma River on a tugboat and dock at River Plaza Shopping Center on E.Washington to the cheers of hundreds of excited children.</p> <p class="plain">Everyone will get into the spirit of the season with live entertainment by the Pacific Empire Chorus and Petaluma Pete while waiting for Santa and Mrs. Claus to arrive. The Christmas couple are welcomed by costumed dancers from the Petaluma School of Ballet’s “Nutcracker.” Then Santa and Mrs. Claus make their way across the shopping center parking lot – handing out candy canes along the way – where they will be available for family photos in their special tent. Be sure to bring your Christmas wish list!</p> <p class="plain">Don’t’ let the fun stop there! Keep the festive mood flowing by making the short walk to historic downtown Petaluma for Shop Small special offers and activities.</p><p class="plain"><a link="" rel="" target="_blank" href="" class="plain">See a short video here>></a><br></p> Petaluma Downtown 2018-11-19T12:03:18-08:00 Santa's Riverboat Arrival Utility Box Art <p class="plain"></p><div class="plain"><font style="" class="plainlarge">You may have noticed that the utility boxes around town have been getting a make-over. Once the target of graffiti, they are now being transformed into works of art by local Petaluma artists, thanks to the Business Improvement District.</font></div><div class="plain"><a link="" rel="" target="_blank" href="" class="plainlarge">Read the article>></a><font style="" class="plainlarge"><br></font></div><p class="plain"></p> Petaluma Downtown 2018-11-16T09:04:42-08:00 Utility Box Art Join us on Halloween! <b><u><span style="" class="plain"><img width="400" daid="17885838" src='//' border="0">Downtown Trick or Treat Trail</span></u></b> <p class="plain"><b><u>Parents</u></b>- Be sure to gather your little ghosts, goblins, monsters, Harry Potters, witches on broomsticks and princesses, and join the participating downtown merchants for the annual Trick or Treat Trail.</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain"><b><u>Date:</u></b> Halloween day, Wednesday October 31<sup>st</sup> </p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain"><b><u>Time:</u></b> 3-5:30 P.M.</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain"><b><u>Place</u></b><u>:</u> Downtown Petaluma merchants on Kentucky St, Fourth St, Western Ave, Petaluma Blvd, 2nd St, “C” St., “B” St., the Putnam Plaza, and the River Plaza Shopping Center </p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">***Participating merchants will have orange & black balloons placed outside their stores.</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain"><b>Come and celebrate a safe and spooktacular time in our wonderful downtown. </b></p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">For more information contact The Petaluma Downtown Association at 762-9348</p> <p class="plain">                                          <a link="" target="_blank" href=""></a></p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">                                                    </p> <p class="plain"> </p> Petaluma Downtown 2018-10-24T12:23:23-07:00 Join us on Halloween! Fall Gathering October 17 <p class="plain"><font style="" class="plainlarge">Save the Date for the Fall Gathering of downtown merchants and friends. Find out what's new for the Holiday Open House, what is going on in the Business Improvement District and mingle with your fellow merchants. More details will be emailed out to anyone on our Newsletter Mailing List. If you are not on the list and would like to be, please email</font><br></p> Petaluma Downtown 2018-09-11T15:57:15-07:00 Fall Gathering October 17 Call for Antique Vendors <p class="plain">Applications are now available for Antique Fair vendors. The faire takes place September 30, 2018 in Historic Downtown Petaluma. Attracting residents from all over the Bay Area, and beautiful weather at that time of year, it is one of the most popular antique faires to attend. <a link="" rel="" target="_blank" href="" class="plain">Go to the Antique Faire page on our website.</a><br></p> Petaluma Downtown 2018-07-13T13:26:08-07:00 Call for Antique Vendors The Great Summer Sidewalk Sale! <p class="plain">Join the downtown merchants Thursday, July 19 through Saturday, July 21 as they roll out savings for you! Look for the Sidewalk Sale Flyers in their windows then shop til you drop! You can see who is participating by <a link="" rel="" target="_self" href="/sidewalk-sale.html" class="plain">clicking here.</a><br></p> Petaluma Downtown 2018-07-12T13:02:32-07:00 The Great Summer Sidewalk Sale! Volunteers Needed for Festival <p class="plain">Hello wonderful people! We need volunteers for the Art & Garden Festival on July 8! We have all kinds of opportunities available. From helping kids make crafts and bounce in the jump house to making sure beer booths have ice and everything in between. Volunteers get a discount tasting package, lunch and an exclusive t-shirt. Click <a link="" rel="" target="_blank" href="" class="plain">HERE </a>to go the the online volunteer form or call Kathy for more information at 707-769-0429.</p><div class="plain">Thank you for your consideration!</div><p class="plain"></p> Petaluma Downtown 2018-05-25T13:00:26-07:00 Volunteers Needed for Festival Art & Garden Apps Now Available <p class="plain">All applications for Vendors, Restaurants, Wineries, Breweries and Distilleries are now available online as well as Sponsorship and Commercial Vendor Packages. Please go to the <a link="" rel="" target="_blank" href="" class="plain">Art & Garden Page</a> to find them.</p><div class="plain">This event, taking place on July 8, 2018, attracts 12-14,000 visitors and is the ideal showcase for your business. Now, in it's 17th year, the opportunity to market to new customers couldn't be better. </div><div class="plain">Seize the day!</div><p class="plain"></p> Petaluma Downtown 2018-05-22T16:06:24-07:00 Art & Garden Apps Now Available Tom Gaffey named 2018 Good Egg <p class="plain"><b><font style="" class="plainlarge"><b>Phoenix Theater general manager keeps the doors open for Petaluma teens</b></font> </b><br></p><p class="plain">When Tom Gaffey returned to Petaluma in 1983 after running a theater in Cloverdale and was asked by friends if he would manage the Phoenix Theater, he said yes, thinking to himself that he would stay for six months, or at the most, a year. It would be a short-term gig before buying the perfect RV and heading out to cruise the country.</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">“But things never work out the way I plan it,” Tom says. </p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">As the Petaluma community will attest, thank goodness Tom’s plans went awry because as the general manager of the Phoenix Theater, Tom has been nurturing creativity and confidence in Petaluma’s teens and giving them the space to express it for 35 years.  For his selfless dedication to fostering community spirit and positive promotion of Petaluma, Tom Gaffey has been selected at the 2018 Good Egg Award recipient.</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">“Our young people are our most valuable resource and Tom has dedicated his life to ensuring a great start for these talented Petalumans. He is a local hero,” Eric J. Adams stated in his nomination form.</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">Local therapist Kathleen Adams who specializes in working with teens made a powerful statement in her nomination form about the impact that Tom has had on Petaluma’s youth. “I know for a fact that Tom has saved lives! Tom has invested in our youth and offers a safe haven for them to explore their music, art and soul.”</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">One of the reasons that Tom has had such success in working with teens is that he doesn’t have an agenda for the way the building is used or the activities at the Phoenix, as long as it is safe and law-abiding. Tom jokes in his characteristic humility that his main talent is “opening the doors and saying ‘no.’” In actuality, he is a facilitator, empowering teens to bring their ideas for music, art and self-expression. He doesn’t take on their project; ownership stays with the originator. </p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain"><a link="_EXT_" target="_blank" name="_GoBack"></a>“People come up with ideas. Can we do murals on the wall, or build a skate ramp? I said no three times to the ramp, until they showed up with tools and built it. When I’m doing it best, I’m keeping my eyes open but getting out of the way.”</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">Tom’s history with the Phoenix Theater, originally built in 1905 as an opera house, began when it was a discount movie house in the early 1980s. “With the advent of movie multiplexes, the handwriting was on the wall that it couldn’t stay a theater, but what to do with the big, creaky, drafty building?”</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">With a capacity of just over 700, Tom saw the opportunity to experiment with booking live bands at the Phoenix including nationally known musicians such as the Neville Brothers. He recalls a sold-out show for the Violent Femmes in 1985. “The place erupted and that was really the starting gun. Let’s keep doing that.” Tom and some of the teens who frequented the shows worked together booking bands. He was eventually joined by Jim Agius, president of operations for Petaluma Market, who Tom describes as “a consummate booker for their market.” </p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">Tom has been behind the scenes and sometimes literally in the middle of the action when he and 500 other audience members are on the floor at the Phoenix, feeling the energy of rock, metal, punk, alternative, or rap performances. “It’s been an incredible ride for me, through no design of my own.” </p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">The positive impact that Tom has had on the community goes far beyond establishing the Phoenix Theater as a popular music venue. It’s his open-door policy that gives teens the space to play music, rehearse on stage, jam, skateboard or just hang out after school…all under Tom’s supportive and watchful eye. </p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">“Ask around and you’ll find story after story of Tom taking the time to get to know our local kids, guide them, and teach them self-confidence,” says Kathleen Adams.</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">Tom recalls how thrilled he was as a young man to meet newspaper columnist Bill Soberanes and walk in the footsteps of people important to Petaluma’s history. By giving back to the “town that raised me,” Tom is building a legacy of young people who will continue contributing to the community. “I found life serving the youth audience and I would like it to continue. It is my honor to see these kids grow up to be successful people.”</p> Petaluma Downtown 2018-04-19T15:39:32-07:00 Tom Gaffey named 2018 Good Egg 2018 Grand Marshal - Steve & Judy Mahrt <p class="plain"><b>Long time poultry producers hatched the “Cutest Little Chick Contest” </b></p> <p class="plain">Someone who isn’t familiar with Petaluma might think that the Butter & Egg Days Parade is only about celebrating a period of time in our past; a throwback to an era when family farms typified the community and<a link="_EXT_" target="_blank" name="_GoBack"></a> almost every household kept chickens. </p><p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">But Petaluma’s significance as an egg producing community didn’t stop when Bert Kerrigan and the Egg Day Parades left Petaluma in the late 1920s. Family farms are not an anachronism; they are thriving, evolving, and forward-looking enterprises. And none personify this better than the Mahrt family who began selling eggs when Petaluma was known as the “World’s Egg Basket,” continue to succeed as one of the few independent egg farms in Northern California, and are training the next generation to carry the business into the future.</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">With the 2018 parade theme celebrating the “hatching” of the first Egg Day Parade in 1918, Steve and Judy Mahrt are honored as the Grand Marshal; literally millions upon millions of eggs have been hatched on their two farms during their 35 years in business. And another feather in their cap; the Mahrts hatched the “Cutest Little Chick Contest” in 1984 and continue to organize and sponsor the crowd-pleasing event.</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">The history of the “Cutest Chick Contest” started when the Mahrts were approached by Linda Buffo and Alice Forsyth who two years earlier had reinvented the “Egg Day Parade” as the “Butter & Egg Days Parade.” “Because the original parade had an ‘Egg Queen,’ they wanted us to sponsor an ‘Egg Princess Contest,’” says Steve. Instead, he suggested a “Cutest Little Chick Contest,” a natural association for an egg producer. </p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">Because it would be impossible to judge which toddler dressed in pounds of feathers is the “cutest,” the winner is chosen by whose costume interprets the parade and chicken theme the best. In addition to taking sign-ups for 80 children and running the busy event on the day of the parade, the Mahrts make a big investment in time and manpower prior to the parade, decorating “Judy’s Barnyard Stage” to tie into the parade theme. </p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">“Since we’ve been running the contest for almost 35 years, we now have kids of kids participating. It’s a lot of fun to see the next generation involved.” The “Cutest Little Chick Contest” takes place on parade day, April 28 at 10:15am on Kentucky Street in front of Copperfield’s Books.</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">For the Mahrts, being a commercial egg producer is also a multi-generational endeavor. A family of immigrants, Steve’s great-uncle came to Petaluma in the 1920s, and then in turn sponsored his father in the 1950s. “When my dad worked on my great-uncle’s farm, it was at the end of the heyday of Petaluma being the ‘Egg Basket.’” </p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">Growing up in the business, Steve says, “You could say that I was raised in a chicken barn.” When he graduated from college, he returned to the egg farm, eventually having the opportunity to buy a 35 acre ranch in 1986 in west Petaluma from a chicken farmer who was ready to retire. Judy’s family also worked in the poultry business, operating a hatchery in Calistoga dating back to the early 1900s.</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">The Mahrts pioneered producing cage-free eggs; their Rock Island brand were the first cage-free eggs to be in stores in 1983, and “we have been 100 percent cage-free all along,” Steve says.</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">In addition to packing his father’s eggs under Petaluma Farms label, the Mahrts produce several other brands of eggs including “Judy’s Family Farm,” the first organic eggs to be produced in California. The name was inspired by Judy’s desire to feed their four sons the most healthful food available. </p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">Steve says “one little label, our Super Eggs,” is his favorite. The Mahrts started developing the brand in 1999 and after extensive testing, it reached the market two years later. “We feed a special diet to the chickens and that translates to more nutritious eggs.” Steve adds that these eggs were one of the first functional foods which provide slow-release nutrients and can promote optimal health.</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">Eggs from the Mahrts farms are available in most grocery stores in Northern California,” and at Skippy’s Egg Store at 951 Transport Way in Petaluma which sells flats of 30 eggs and by the dozen, as well as canned and paper goods, dairy products and kitchen staples. Skippy’s specializes in selling “checks,” eggs that have a slight crack but the membrane is still intact. They are sold at a lower price making them a real value for the home baker. </p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">Skippy’s will also be the location of an egg museum, currently under construction and expected to open by the end of 2018. Steve says, “Judy has been collecting chicken and egg related memorabilia forever” and we are eager to have people to experience the farm through the museum’s educational displays.</p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">After graduating from college and pursuing other careers, three of their four sons, ranging in age from 24 to 29, have returned to the farm. And Steve hopes that the youngest son will do the same after graduating from college next year. </p> <p class="plain"> </p> <p class="plain">Whether it’s families returning year-after-year for the “Cutest Little Chick Contest,” the Butter & Eggs Parade celebrating a 100<sup>th</sup> anniversary, or a family such as the Mahrts continuing a farming legacy started 100 years ago, it should be honored. As Steve says, “It’s what makes Petaluma, Petaluma.”</p> Petaluma Downtown 2018-04-18T13:09:20-07:00 2018 Grand Marshal - Steve & Judy Mahrt