There’s no doubt that the entire Petaluma community rallies around the Butter & Egg Days Parade…and has for generations. For the 3,000 parade participants, it’s an opportunity to take a spin around the block like a celebrity, waving at the crowd as they march or ride in the parade.
For the 25,000 spectators, it’s a grand time cheering on friends, family and other community members as they pass by.
Even if you’ve grown up with the parade and seen the parade from both sides – as a star and a spectator – there may be some things you didn’t know about the parade. Knowing these can also make for a more fun and enjoyable parade day.
1. Pick up a Butter & Egg Days Argus Courier special section
The 40 page insert will be in Thursday’s Argus and also handed out along the parade route. It has everything you need to know about the parade including the schedule of events, parade line up, map, plus history and information about lots of upcoming events in Petaluma.
2. Fuel up for a day of fun
Before you stake out the perfect viewing spot, enjoy a delicious breakfast and support one of Petaluma’s most active service clubs. The Petaluma 7-11 Lions Club will be serving French toast, juice, sausage and eggs from 8-11am on parade date in the parking lot between Putman Plaza and Water Street. Tickets are $7.
3. Ride Petaluma Transit for free on Parade Day
Everyone dreads trying to find a parking place downtown. Skip the hassle and ride the bus for FREE!
- Eastside Residents
Live near S McDowell Blvd, Ely Blvd S, Sonoma Mtn Pkwy, Maria Drive, or E. Madison? Take Route 33 to ETC (Safeway) & transfer to Route 11 to Copeland Transit Mall and walk to the parade.
Live near N. McDowell Blvd? Take Route 2 to ETC (Safeway) & stay on the bus, it will then go to Copeland Transit Mall (the bus becomes Route 11 once it departs ETC) and you can walk to the parade.
Live near Lakeville Hwy, Frates Road, S. McDowell Blvd, or Caulfield? Take Route 24 to Copeland Transit Mall and walk to the parade.
- Westside Residents: Live near Petaluma? Blvd N. take Route 1 to Copeland Transit Mall and walk to the parade.
4. Step aboard a SMART Train
Been wondering what the inside of the SMART train looks like? Butter & Egg Days is your chance to get a sneak peek. Just take a short walk from downtown – it’s less than a half mile – to the Visitors Center on E. Washington Street and Lakeville. That’s where SMART will have a train available for touring from 10 am to 4 pm on parade day. Staff will be on hand to answer questions.
5. Plenty of places for a pit stop
An event that brings 25,000 people into downtown can be a challenging day for merchants if thousands of parade-goers constantly ask, “Can I use your bathroom?” Instead, we want to encourage folks to be respectful of the downtown businesses and use the public restrooms that have been brought in for the day. There are nine throughout downtown, 10 if you count the restroom by the Visitors Center.
6. Button up and show your support for the parade
The Butter & Egg Days poster art has been adapted to a fun, commemorative button. By purchasing a button for $5 at Raley’s, Petaluma Market, Lombardi’s or the Visitors Center you can show off your love of the parade and support it for future years. Plus, wear your button and enjoy discounts from downtown merchants during parade week.
7. Cutest chicks and cow chips
Of course, the centerpiece of the day is the parade at noon. But there are some not to be missed pre-parade activities including the Cutest Little Chick Contest at 10:15 am in front of Copperfields Books (140 Kentucky St.). Moms have been gluing feathers and sewing felt for weeks in hopes of having their little chick named the most adorable.
How exactly does one throw a cow chip? The answer: very carefully. But our chips may have more structural integrity than one might expect. They go through a very thorough drying and painting process in preparation. Limber up your arm and be in front of McNear's (23 Petaluma Blvd N.) at 9:45 am to register with cow chip chairman Tom Corbett for the 10 am competition. Let the chips fall where they may.
8. It takes a small army of volunteers
More than 200 volunteers come out to keep the parade route safe, pour beer, carry banners, and line up the parade. If you see a volunteer in a blue t-shirt with the parade logo, give them a shout. We couldn’t do it without them!
9. Come back on Sunday for the Antique Faire
The Butter & Egg Days fun doesn’t end on Saturday. Overnight, the downtown streets are cleaned and transformed to an open-air marketplace for the Antique Faire on Sunday, April 24 from 8 am to 4 pm. With more than 180 vendors with antiques ranging from campaign buttons to armoires, it’s a beautiful day to stroll, shop and savor living in Sonoma County!
10. Enjoy breakfast before the Antique Faire in the historic Masonic Lodge
It’s a rare opportunity to step inside the Petaluma-Hamilton Lodge #180 built in 1881 at 9 Western Ave. The Masons will be serving a delicious pancake breakfast from 8 am to 11 am. Proceeds support their community development and public education programs.
And lots more info at PetalumaDowntown.com!