Bear Revolt Celebration Carries the Flag for Sonoma Weekend

Sunday's historical re-enactment, barbecue and beer festival in the Sonoma Plaza will be the biggest event in town, but it's not the only thing to do on a lovely weekend.


The weather is absolutely gorgeous out there - hopefully you're reading Patch on your smart phone outside somewhere, looking for something to do. We've got a couple things lined up we think you'll enjoy.

Biggest event in town is doubtless the annual Bear Flag Celebration, now in its 50th year, running Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Plaza. The Bear Flag, for those of you who slept though California history, was raised over Gen. Vallejo's garrison in Sonoma in June 1846 by American settlers to protest Mexican rule over the area. Ten days later the U.S. Army came to town, and Alta California was annexed; but the flag the rebels flew, with the single star, brown bear and words "California Republic" became the basis for the state flag.

You probably don't need to know all that to enjoy Sunday's festivities, though. There will be historical re-enactments at 11 am at the Bear Flag Monument in the Plaza, and again at 1 p.m. in the Grinstead Amphitheater, as well as chicken barbecue meals for adults, hot dog meals for smaller people, a beer garden with 60 microbrews (including Bear Republic, the Healdsburg brewery that was originally supposed to open in Sonoma). Live music from the BackTrax will begin at 1:30. It's all presented by the Native Sons of the Golden West, who keep us in touch with our history.

"You can enjoy the day without spending any money," said Dean Zellers of the NSGW. "But it's a good place to spend some if you want to." The non-profit organization helps support almost 30 groups in the Sonoma Valley, and hopes to raise "about $10,000" from the event, their third largest fund-raiser.

Zellers pointed out that they haven't raised their prices over the past few yearsm and the $12 barbecue remains a pretty good deal. "It's Rocky free-range chicken, which a lot of people don't seem to know. And you get a whole half chicken with chili beans, salad and a roll." The hot dog lunch is only $5, and includes chips and a soda.

Beer tasting tickets run $25 for a wrist-band allowing tastes of the participating micro-brews, and some beer is available by the glass as well. It probalby won't be the good stuff, but on a hot day it'll just have to do.

Expect a good sized but not daunting crowd in the Sonoma Plaza for the event, maybe 2,000 locals and out-of-towners rubbing shoulders and enjoying the good weather. Sounds like a good start to summer in Sonoma.

Speaking of a good start, the yard sales have already started - the Sonoma Film Festival Yard Sale began Friday morning at 9 a.m. and ran till 2 p.m., and they'll repeat those hours on Saturday. It's being held at 850 W Watmaugh Rd, just east of Arnold Dr. It's a , which brought so much fun and in April.

Live music continues tonight and tomorrow at , with local Pogues tribute band The Gentlemen Soldiers on Friday, and blues guitarist the Andrew Freeman Band on Saturday. Shows start at 8 p.m.

Also live tomorrow is jazz and blues singer at Centre du Vin, the Ledson Hotel. No cover, from 7 p.m. on.

If you know of something else going on Sonoma this weekend, please let us know - and your fellow citizens - by adding your event to the Patch listings. It's the best way we know to spread the word.


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