There are Petaluma legends living among us. In the year that Butter & Egg Days honors the "Legends of Petaluma" it is fitting that a group of dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers who have taken on the personas of seven of Petaluma's most prominent historical legends are honored as the parade's Grand Marshal.
Known as the Petalumans of Yesteryear, each member of the group has immersed themselves in the story and history of an individual who contributed to Petaluma evolving into a vital community. Representing important businessmen, prominent families, civic-minded women, a talented architect and savvy boat captain, they don the clothing of the era and speak as the historical figure, bringing the history of Petaluma's boom days to life.
The Petalumans of Yesteryear and the characters they portray are: Homer Johnstone as Capt. Thomas F. Baylis; Marshall West as Isaac Wickersham; Susan Coolidge as Clara McNear; Barbara Harden as Ida Belle McNear; Millie King as Addie Atwater; Ron Bausman as Brainerd Jones; and Bill Hammerman as William Howard Pepper.
"The honor of being selected at Grand Marshal came as quite a surprise. We are pleased and overwhelmed that the PDA has chosen our small group of volunteers for this recognition," says Hammerman.
There have been other individuals who have been Petalumans of Yesteryear but this group has been together since the early 2000s and has given presentations to the Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Petaluma class and cemetery tours for the Petaluma Adult School. "We assume a persona but we have a broader function: to celebrate and inform people about early Petaluma," says Johnstone.