Arts & Entertainment: On Halloween
This is our first holiday issue and we decided to celebrate this uniquely American autumn equinox celebration with two mini articles, based on the principle of one party for the children and another for the adults. Now this may seem quite provocative as many people may associate the flipside of the holiday known for kids begging door to door for candy, as adults wearing the “sexy” nurse, fireman, peanut butter sandwich etc. costumes—but we assure you both are in good taste. Here are two alternative ways of celebrating the change of season from light to dark and enjoying the fruits of harvest.
The Floating Pumpkin Patch
By Nadja Masura
When I was a kid, I loved Halloween! It was the one night of the year you could be anyone you wanted to be. If you were feeling like a princess, then dress in your best glittering cloth, and shine up your tiara. If you were feeling brave, you could go out as a cowgirl or a leopard. Or, if you were feeling mischievous, then bring out your inner witch! What a wonderful sense of freedom it was to meet with friends and run through the night exploring Florence Street, seeing all the sights, visiting new places, mapping out the best houses, and celebrating the one time of year when candy was the accepted prize from strangers. The only thing I really didn’t like about this time of year was that the coming darkness meant the end of Summer, and the end of swimming!
Well, hurray! Ridgeway Pool has come to the rescue of today’s children who face that same dilemma. Every year in mid-October, Santa Rosa holds a fundraiser for its pools at Ridgeway Pool near Santa Rosa High School called the Floating Pumpkin Patch. The name says it all. Why go to a dusty old pumpkin patch when you can swim for your pumpkin? It is so much fun! I’ve taken my little cousin and we had great romp. Each person pays for a wrist band, which allows them to select one of the orange bobbing beauties. There are also some free games on deck, and just about everyone is in costume. It’s so much fun to play catch or float on the buoyant pumpkins. If you have a little one in your life who likes water and Halloween, be sure to put it on your calendar for next year!
Here are some surreal photos I took of the orange orbs in the blue water and sky. Enjoy.
The Sebastopol Cemetery Walk
By Peter Rogers
A couple of years ago, someone asked me if I wanted to go on a cemetery walk. I had no idea what to expect. Would it be like caroling, but more Halloween-themed? Would it be more like the “wake the dead” scene in The Addams Family movie? Considering that the annual event was put on by the Western Sonoma County Historical Society, I needn’t have worried. The event is called the “Annual Barbara Bull Memorial Sebastopol Memorial Lawn Cemetery Walk.” The event is named after the late Barbara Bull, who was the Society’s former vice president, and the founder of the Cemetery Walk. The event brings together history, performance, and community in a delightful, almost whimsical potpourri of performances, celebrating the residents of Sebastopol who are no longer with us.
The event starts with a soup and salad dinner, after which, the local Hubub Club band escorts the audience up the hill to the Sebastopol Memorial Lawn Cemetery, along a lighted pathway. The audience is led on something of a nighttime walking tour of the cemetery to witness a series of short performances, based upon some of the Sebastopol residents interred underfoot. The Historical Society makes a point of having the performances right at the grave site of the person the story is about. Each vignette gives one a flavor for the life and times of the subject of the story, and every year the scenes are completely new.
This year, the performances featured Alazuma Singmaster, who helped found the Graton Community Club, Juanita Bourbeau, Manager of the Magnus Lyons plant that made maraschino cherries, Frank Grimm, an Alaskan gold prospector, and Arthur Sweetnam, a former Sebastopol mayor, dentist, and WWI veteran, just to name a few.
After the performances, audiences are led to the Luther Burbank Farm Cottage, where they are treated to homemade apple dessert and tea. If you’re lucky, you might even win a door prize.
The event is definitely not intended for children, but aimed at adults who can appreciate the effect of the passage of time and the value of remembering those who have come and gone. If you’re looking to do a little time-traveling into West County history, I highly recommend you go next year. (Contact the historical society in early October—they often sell out).