The Party Doesn't End with the Parade

Fourth of July in Sonoma is an all-day affair, from color guard to fireworks.

The party in Sonoma doesn’t end with . You might think, in fact, it's just the beginning, and you wouldn't be far off.

Even as the water cannon shot a cool spray into the crowd at Spain and 1st West, the northwest corner of the plaza, the food vendors in the park were selling hamburgers, hot dogs, snow cones and Louisiana cuisine, the beer booths were pouring, and the wine booths featured and .

Speaking of , the Hungarian-born patron saint of California winemaking was honored not only in the parade, with a giant paper-mache float, but on stage at the Grinstead Amphitheater with a (somewhat overlong) tribute to the eccentric entrepreneur who brought 100,000 vines to Sonoma County in the 1860s. George Webber, his theatrical impulses in full flourish, led a small troupe with Richard Holsworth and Butch Engel in a recreation of the pioneer's strangely legendary life.

Harazthy will return on Sept. 1, when the Sonoma - Tokai Sister Cities committee produces another event in the Plaza to celebrate the international connection, "The Summer of the Count," with Hungarian music and dancing. That will be a more appropriate 200th birthday party: Harazthy's birthdate is generally given as Aug. 30, 1812.

Democrats, Republicans and the 99% had their booths up to register voters or spread the word, and both candidates standing for the 1st District Supervisor were on hand. poured beers, talked up the party faithful, and both of them were clearly keen to earn the trust or loyalty of Valley residents who find themselves without a local candidate for what has long been thought to be the "Sonoma Valley" seat.

But all the action wasn't in the Plaza. Down Vine Alley, at the very end, staged a guerilla opening, fueld by Facebook and Twitter, that packed the newly opened tasting room where   and Mike Benzinger poured their wines to a largely infatuated crowd of sub-30-somethings.

Down another alley, took over the dead end to throw a big post-parade party that threatens to last all night, with a rockin' bank playing an endless "La Bomba" to a celebratory crowd, dressed for the occasion in red, white and blue.

This, all before the , tonight after 9 from the What a fitting end to a Sonoma day.


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