Ambrose Schindler, one of few remaining ‘Wizard of Oz’ actors, turns 100 in Petaluma: Ambrose — known in his youth as “Amblin’ Amby” — and currently a resident of Petaluma’s Adobe House, marked his 100th birthday on April 22. He is, indeed, one of only nine surviving cast-members of the 1938 classic “The Wizard of Oz,” in which he served as Jack Haley’s Tin Man stunt double, and also appeared as one of the Wicked Witch’s marching Winkies (“Oh-Oh Oh-eeee-Oh!”). His proudest claim to fame, though, is playing quarterback for the USC Trojans, and being named MVP of the 1940 Rose Bowl. A happy birthday to you, Mr. Schindler.
Petaluma poet out-writes the competition in London — Last week, at the Royal Society of Antiquaries in London, England Petaluma’s own Tallulah Lefkowitz was awarded the Keats-Shelley Young Romantics Poetry Prize — and a cheque (English spelling there) for 1000 pounds. Lefkowitz, a sophomore at Petaluma High School, was one of eight teenage authors short-listed for the honor. First place ul;timately went to her poem “The Step of Two.” The award is presented annually by the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association. To paraphrase Percy Shelley: O, a poet, such as Lefkowitz, is a nightingale or similar bird, who perches in class, or, you know, in the school cafeteria, and sings, bird-like, more-or-less, to cheer its own solitude with sweet, sweet sounds — and for what it’s worth, the thousand-pound cheque doesn’t hurt much either. Congratulations Tallulah!
The River Cleanup: Local river-lovers will be gathering this Saturday, May 6, to participate in a community clean-up along our beloved tidal slough. Participants are invited to come prepared with gloves, water bottle, hat, sunblock and proper attire (including shoes that can get mucky), registration and a “safety talk” at 9 p.m. There will be a lunchtime barbecue with music and raffle prizes. The event begins and ends at the Petaluma Marina.
Ugly Dog Contest sign-ups now open: On to a very different kind of contest. The Sonoma-Marin Fair’s annual World’s Ugliest Dog Contest is gearing again, and looking for applicants. Every year, dozens of perfectly imperfect pooches go head-to-head to prove which are the most adorably un-adorable canines in the world. Entries must be received in the Sonoma-Marin Fair office no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 21. The Fair itself runs June 21 through 25. Entries are free until May 15, and $10 afterwards. Applications available online at Sonoma-MarinFair.org/worlds-ugliest-dog.
Tomales Regional History Center announces 17th Tea & Fashion Show: The historic Tomales Town Hall will once again be the setting of the organization’s annual Tea and fashion show. The popular event will take place May 16, at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $30, and reservations can be made by calling Kathleen at 707-878-2462. The deadline for reservations is May 10.
Inaugural Petaluma Community Engagement Fair launches on May 7: Employing the theme “Where Do You Want to Make a Difference?” an alliance of local organizations are launching the first annual Community Engagement Fair, taking place Sunday, May 7, from noon to 4 p.m. at Lucchesi Center, 320 N. McDowell Blvd. The event will feature a number of local groups sharing opportunities for volunteerism and community engagement.
PEP ‘Home on the Range’ Fundraiser: The local senior-housing non-profit once again throws its annual cowboy-themed benefit out at Tomrose Tractor Ranch in Santa Rosa, itself a kind of living museum to local agricultural history. Wear your best western duds and be prepared enjoy farm-style grub, country music, games hayrides – and the good feeling that comes from supporting a grade-A cause. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tomrose Ranch, 5307 Stony Point Rd. Tickets $20-$30. Visit PEPhousing.org.