Kudos to planners of party in Cotati
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By Dave Williams  July 19, 2013 12:00 am

It’s too bad you can turn 50 only once in your life. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I’m hoping I can have as much fun on my 50th birthday as Cotati did when it celebrated No. 50 on Saturday, July 13.

It’s been pointed out to me on several occasions leading up to the celebration how Cotati has been around more than just 50 years. It’s been around for a couple hundred years, but remember, it wasn’t an official city until it incorporated on July 16, 1963.


No as big as Rohnert Park

Cotati didn’t do it up as big as Rohnert Park did last year when it celebrated turning 50 – and believe me, that was an excellent party as well – but matching Rohnert Park was never Cotati’s intent. 

“It’s just going to be a simple, small-town celebration…that’s all,” said Cotati historian and longtime resident Prue Draper said a couple weeks before the celebration. 

The city’s 50th was held in conjunction with Cotati’s annual Kids Day events. Some had expressed concerns the two events would overshadow each other. 

That was hardly the case. The two events not only complemented each other, they enhanced each other.

Most of those who participated in the Kids Day parade and subsequent activities stuck around for the 50th birthday celebration.

“It was crazy,” said Community Voice photographer Jane Peleti. “Once the parade ended, it was like everybody just invaded the park. It was like a swarm, and you could hardly move. It was hard to take pictures for a while.”

Later in the day, however, plenty of people found ample space to move as they danced the afternoon away to the soulful sounds of popular band Pride and Joy.

People you would never imagine to see dancing, specifically Cotati Mayor Mark Landman, were grooving to the tunes. Hey, there were a lot of my friends who I’ve never seen dance out shaking their money makers. It was just that kind of a day.

“Can you believe they got Pride and Joy to play?” asked Deborah Berk, who was a vendor selling homemade jewelry. “I love their music. I wonder how much they paid to get them.”


Pride and Joy worth the price

Whatever the cost to get Pride and Joy was money well spent. This party had been months in the making. I had a chance to sit in on one of the organizational meetings with the 50th birthday committee. The committee members labored over just about everything. Sometimes, they spent too much time on a particular subject, but that was only because they wanted to make sure everything was done right. And each and every one of the people on the committee should be commended for a job well done. 

The only wobbly moment of the day happened around 2 p.m. when Draper, 83, fell off her motorized scooter and suffered a cut to her lip which required a few stitches. She was leading her final historical walking tour at the time. She had a CT scan of her brain. Draper, however, convinced medical staff to allow her to return to finish her tour.

 Landman said it would be nice to do a celebration like this every five years. 

I agree with the mayor up to a point, it would be nice to have an event like this as often as possible, but too many of these would dim some of the luster. A 55th birthday celebration wouldn’t have the same type of allure as the 50th or even the 60th.

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