October 10, 2005

The cold, cloudy Saturday morning was a little discouraging for a few festival goers but by 10 a.m. the skies cleared and the sun was brightly shining as visitors piled into the Community Park for the annual Sunol Country Festival held on October 1.

There were many events taking place that day and the festival was kicked off with a flag ceremony performed by Galen Hoxie. Galen had erected the flag pole in the Community Park a few months ago as part of his Eagle Scout Project and festival organizers thought the celebration would be a great time to finally raise the flag.

One of the festival organizers, Neil Davies said, "All in all we did really well. I was very pleased and everybody loved the music". Entertainment for the day was provided by two terrific bands; the Donner Mountain Blue Grass Band and Nightmare on Bourbon Street. Andrew Turnbull worked the crowd beautifully as emcee for the event.

Folks browsed tables filled with silent auction items ranging from exquisite paintings and pieces of art to beautifully filled baskets. Among the items up for auction was a home-cooked gourmet dinner courtesy of Sunol's Department of Forestry which brought in a whopping $2,500. "The auction did real well; it was very, very successful", said Pat Stillman.

The grand prize raffle tickets winners were Little Valley Vineyards owner, Sandi Bohner who won $1,000 and Sunol Glen School Eighth Grader, Nicola Barnes who won Oakland Raiders Football tickets.

During the festivities there was a special presentation of a plaque and flowers to retired Sunol Postmaster Lucille O'Laughlin declaring her a "Very Important Person of Sunol". Lucille has resided in Sunol since 1947 and was the towns Postmaster for 23 years.

The smell of grilled hot dogs, hamburgers and tri tip sandwiches filled the air as people perused the 45 booths selling everything from arts, crafts and jewelry to chiropractic services and insurance. Nearly every one of Sunol's business's and organizations were present.

Organizers also did a great job including the little ones in the day's events by providing wonderful children's entertainment. There were jump houses, face painting, sack races and a piñata. Sunolian Lynn Kozma, who was in charge of the children's events, looked amazing dressed up as a clown, complete with great face painting.

Also on display that day was an exhibit of two diesel engines provided by the Niles Canyon Railway. Folks had a great opportunity to tour these engines and Chief Station Agent, Al McCracken, was on hand to explain the workings of these giant iron horses. One of the engines was an F7 built in 1950 and the other a G9 built in 1955.

Sunol's first ever bocce ball tournament was being held simultaneously at the east end of the park and although the competition was tough, the winning team included Ben Copeland, Connie DeGrange, Bob Foster and Norm Tornoe. Tournament organizer Tom Harland said, "It's a great game because we had people from 10 years old to 90 years old playing." Tom and wife, Vicki, had just enough time after the bocce ball tournament to head back up to the other end of the park to cheer on their granddaughter, 3 year old, Gabriella Garcia who was competing in the sack races.

All in all I believe a good time was had by all and everyone is really looking forward to next year's festival.

It is with deep regret that we have lost two very exceptional longtime Sunolians. They were both a very important part of our community and they will surely be missed by many.

Don Glass passed away on September 13 and memorial services were held at the Little Brown Church of Sunol on Sept. 17.

Bob Hrabe passed away September 27 and memorial services were held at Saint Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Livermore on October 2.

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