The first major event of the year is upon us, and it is shaping up to be a good one.  I was downtown hanging a banner for the upcoming Great Petaluma Chili Cookoff, Salsa, and Beer tasting event and witnessed some rare sites. (Save the date for Chili – it is May 7th, 1-5pm, at the Fairgrounds, and is all the chili, salsa, and beer that you could ever want for.)   Not only are the streets completely empty of cars but they are lined with chairs.  Many of these chairs spent the night, in order to hold spots for parade goers who prefer to sit comfortably, as opposed to standing.  Personally, I love me a good parade, but like to walk around after the parade eating all the great food, so I opt to sit on the curb in front of the area that my family and friends reserved with their chairs last night.  (For those of you how are rookies – or are just inconsiderate… if there are people sitting in chairs, please refrain from standing in front of them.  They planned ahead, you didn’t, so live and learn…and move to a spot that doesn’t block them.  And next year, set out your own chairs.)

A couple of quick notes — most of the restaurants will be open today, so if you don’t want to eat street food, there are plenty of great choices.  As you know, some of my favorites include Maguires (great fish and chips, and Irish quesadilla), Wild Goat Bistro (awesome pizza and salads) and Sugo (everything on the menu is great.)  Petaluma Pie Company (on Putnam Plaza) appears to have some special creations for the day.  Also, I was down at Cordoza’s Deli (P. Blvd So., right next to Peet’s Coffee) and Bonnie and her crew are geared up for the day.  If you want some quick food to go (including pre-boxed salads) she will have a table out front selling sandwiches, salads, and bottled water for $1.  And get this…Bonnie has gluten free bread.  So if you haven’t had a deli sandwich in years because you can’t eat normal bread, it is time to indulge yourself.  But be warned…Bonnie said that one woman came to tears because she had forgotten how much she loves deli sandwiches and can now have them again due to Cordoza’s gluten free bread.

But back to the chairs…  First of all, I love that I live in a town where you can leave thousands of chairs lining the sidewalk, overnight, and nobody steals them.  Well, I assume nobody steals them — maybe one or two go missing; who knows.  And if you think people only bring portable folding chairs, you don’t know how seasoned parade goers roll.  There was every size and shape of chair, along with blankets, wagons, and pillows.  I even saw chairs with pre-assigned names on them — now THAT is pretty organized. 

I also think it is very neighborly for all these folks to set their chairs out and allow me to test them all to see which ones I think are most comfortable.  I enjoy checking out all the options in outdoor portable seating, testing out what looks interesting, and coming to a decision as to whichchairs I will buy for the upcoming outdoor, beach, and BBQ season.  The GF thinks this is odd, but if I refrained from doing things that she thinks is odd…I might never leave the house. 

There are your run of the mill old school folding beach chairs.  Then there are the newer, more comfortable folding camp chairs, which come in a ton of varieties.  There are also an array of stadium chair; the padded seat cushion types work great for the kids to sit on the curb in front of you.  Then there are the plastic stackable deck chairs.  (We call these “elephants” in my family, because the originals kind of resemble a cartoonish elephant.)  These chairs have advanced quite a ways in the last few years and are now offered in an aderondack versions.  They are a  little more bulky but much more comfortable than the standard ones.   (Heritage Salvage has their huge (200lbs+) Aderondack chair sitting on the back of an old Dodge truck, parked at the Mail Depot at 4th and C.)  There are regular old folding chairs, with and without seat cushions.  And then there are one of my all time favorites, which is the camp style folding chair that sits upright, canvas strapped across aluminum bars, with padded arm rests, and usually comes with a pop-up side table.  (Don’t even bother buying it without the pop-up table or you will always feel like you are missing something.)  These fold flat, are super sturdy, and are great for holding your plate of BBQ when you don’t want to hold it in your lap.

And the winner of this year’s most comfortable chair is…

very comfy, with lumbar support and storage pockets

another option with nice lumbar support

Domesticated elephants...

...wild elephants.


Super Adirondack

Folders in front of McNears

VIP assigned seating in front of Pelican Art Gallery.

Wagon seating for the kids.

A nice variety of beach chairs.

The ones in the back are super sturdy...but get the varient with the attached fold up side table.

Enjoy the event and please, drink responsibly.  The PPD and ABC will be out in force making sure drunkards aren’t the ruining the event for the rest of us.

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