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Petaluma goes retro on the river

One piece of late 19th century fashion came in handy Saturday afternoon at the third annual Rivertown Revival festival in Petaluma — the lace parasol.

With temperatures hitting the mid-90s, some people hefted cups with both hands at the lemonade stand, not to mention the beer stand.

The event, a benefit aimed at celebrating the heritage of the Petaluma River, drew thousands of visitors for a day of sun-baked festivities that included an art-boat race, $5 weddings, aerial acts on the water and folk bands, lots of folk bands.

Petaluma Rivertown Revival

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This year, the event charged a $5 entry fee, with four of those dollars going to pay for the actual cost of putting on the event. Each remaining dollar will go toward a renovation project at the park's 102-year-old barn.

The barn, whose south wall and gable need restoration, is known as the David Yearsley River Heritage Center, a nature and history center named after the founder of the Friends of the Petaluma River and one of the festival's creators.

Yearsley died last September of cancer.

"He lived to see the first two (festivals)," said Elizabeth Howland, Yearsley's wife and the executive director of the Friends of the Petaluma River. "He put his whole heart into it and we're trying to share that with everybody."

The event was produced by Clementine Eco Events, which along with Bike Monkey magazine produces the festival at Levi's GranFondo. Clementine donated its services, as did more than 300 volunteers.

One of the main events was the art-boat race, which drew floating contraptions similar in style those of the Great Handcar Regatta in Santa Rosa's Railroad Square. One such vessel, resembling Fred Flintstone's car, was amphibious in design and made an appearance in the recent Handcar Regatta.

The vessel, built by Steve and Chaney Delaire of Rincon Valley in Santa Rosa, used cycling power and was made of bamboo and cardboard cylinder molds used for making concrete columns.


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