The Buzz: Which summertime events are canceled, which are going virtual?

Rivertown Revival, Broadway Under the Stars and more are going online: It seems like every day another beloved Sonoma County/Petaluma event is officially canceled, as hopes rapidly dwindle that the coronavirus’ impact on the North Bay’s summer events calendar will quickly run its course. Many of those happenings are now being resurrected, however, in the form of online content. Last weekend, having already declared a one-year hiatus for Petaluma’s popular Rivertown Revival, the event’s sponsor - the nonprofit Friends of the Petaluma River - announced a month-long series of live streaming shows designed to capture at least some of the wacky, fun-loving vibe that exemplifies the eclectic outdoor extravaganza.

“This homegrown, volunteer-run festival has always been about much more than a single sunny day in July,” states the accompanying press release. “The spirit of Rivertown is an ongoing effort by the community to celebrate life, support the arts, and raise awareness for environmental protection and education.” The new on-line series, titled “Living Room Live,” begins this Saturday, May 23 at 7 p.m., and runs through June 13. The first show, which will blend musical performances with other bits of artistic theatricality, will feature John Courage, Sebastian Saint James and Ismay. The show, viewable by visiting, will be hosted by Rivertown’s music director Josh Windmiller, of The Crux.

Meanwhile, Transcendence Theatre Company, having pulled the plug on its annual Broadway Under the Stars series held each year at Jack London State Historical Park, plans to deliver the same “best night ever” razzle-dazzle with a series of online shows beginning July 10, and running through Sept. 13. The four free-of-charge “virtual concerts” will feature highlight moments from the last eight years of star-studded outdoor musical reviews. Says Transcendence Artistic Director Amy Miller, “We will work together to create the magic of the park in living rooms and backyards across the world.” As is the case with past programs, each show has a separate theme and will stream Fridays at 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The shows are “Don’t Stop Believin’” (10 viewings, with two on Saturdays and Sundays, July 10-July 17), “Fantastical Family Night” (five viewings, July 24-26), “I Hope You Dance” (10 viewings, Aug. 16-23) and the Gala Celebration (five screenings, Sept. 11-13). Virtual reservations are required, with an opportunity to make a donation through the company’s website at

New Dairy Princess announced: At a “virtual crowning” that took place Saturday, May 16, Petaluma’s Olivia Poncia was named the 2020 Dairy Princess for the California Milk Advisory Board’s District 3. As Poncia takes over for 2019 Dairy Princess Amanda King, preparing for a year of representing the dairy industry across Sonoma, Solano, Laek, Marin, Mendocino and Napa counties, she’ll be assisted by First and Second Alternates Marissa Temple and Rachel Spaletta, also from Petaluma. Poncia is the daughter of Andy and Lisa Poncia, is a senior at Petaluma High School, and plans to pursue degrees in agriculture and viticulture. Temple’s parents are Matthew and Nicole Temple. Also senior at PHS, Temple plans to study accounting and environmental science. Spaletta, the daughter of Louie and Diane Spaletta, will be graduating from PHS as well, and plans to major in Agriculture Education.

Signs of the times: As the local shelter-in-place enters its third month, signs of resilience and artistic community resolve continue to pop up here and there around town. The marquee at the Phoenix theater has evolved from its hopeful initial pronouncement “See you in April, Stay Well” to a less specific “Be Back Soon” to its newly installed message: “Congratulations Class of 2020. History is Yours to Make,” appropriate enough given the significant status this class of graduates will rate in the history books of the future. Elsewhere, artists and writers are making their mark with pop-up images of masked corona goddesses wreathed in flowers, and displays of inspirational quotes, examples of the latter currently on view at downtown Petaluma’s Putnam Plaza. Some are actually funny, as with the supper-story signs overlooking American Alley that proclaim “Fear Not,” with a picture of a roll of toilet paper, and also, “Wanna use less TP? Eat more cheese.”

Does anyone know what this is? Several months ago, a small, strikingly curious structure appeared near a foliage-lined fence on Sycamore Lane, just outside of the Cypress Hill Memorial Park. The odd little wooden edifice looks something like a low-to-the-ground birdhouse from a distance, though it is filled with purposefully arranged sticks of wood, carefully cut to fit the interior of the box-like … whatever it is. The thing is propped up on a metal spike, and blends in well with its surroundings. But what is it? A piece of art? A play thing for squirrels? And are there others like it around town? Any information or explanation would be welcome. Till then, whatever this turns out to be, it’s definitely … well, it’s something, that’s for sure.

Local library suggests three tips for preventing ‘Summer Slide’: The coronavirus might have pushed school classes to the Internet and closed the doors of libraries, but it can’t stop the mighty power of the popular annual ‘Summer Reading’ program. In addition to inviting all Sonoma County kids to read a collective 2 million minutes between June 1 and August 8, all of that book-reading logged on special log-sheets that will be available online and in the newspaper next week. The library has also releases the following three suggestions of ways parents can help their kids avoid the loss-of-momentum that summer vacations sometimes bring. 1. Set realistic daily summer reading goals, aiming at 20 minutes or so per day. 2. Sneak books into all fun activities you do with your child. 3. Show your children that reading really does matter by taking time to model reading yourself.

[Have an idea for a good BUZZ item, and maybe a photo to go with it? Drop a line to Community Editor David Templeton at]

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