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The greatest slough on earth

  • Astrid Stokes of Las Vegas dropped in at last year's Petaluma River Revival in Petaluma to do a few laps on the Whiskeydrome. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Petaluma's quirky celebration of its beloved tidal slough known as the Petaluma River is back. The fourth annual Rivertown Revival takes place Saturday, July 20 at the David Yearsley River Heritage Center.

The music, art and community festival with a turn-of-the-century carnival theme attracts thousands of local residents, many in costume, to make merry along the river until the sun goes down.

“Attendance last year was around 7,500 people — and it was 102 degrees,” said Kelin Backman, Rivertown Revival director. “We were so pleased so many came out to join us in that heat.”

The all-day festival will have five stages for music this year, including a children's area with performances for kids featuring James K, the Ukelady, a magician and sing-alongs. A variety of old-time games, a petting zoo, and a natural dye workshop are also planned in the kids' area.

“New this year is our revival tent stage where we will have music and sideshows,” said Backman. “It will be a fun place to hang out. It's also shaded, which is nice since we're pretty exposed to the elements out there.”

The Rivertown Revival music lineup includes 35 local bands, including Homebrew, Misner & Smith, Kazamose, The Easy Leaves, Smokehouse Gamblers, John Courage, Alison Harris and the Barn Owls, Highway Poets and David Luning.

“We have two marching bands coming,” said Backman. “The Hubbub Club and a church marching band will be roaming throughout the event.”

Local lovebirds will be pleased to know that the $5 weddings are back. Backman said that they have about 30 couples set to tie the knot, and two of them will be same-sex weddings.

“One couple is coming all the way from Washington D.C. to get married at the Rivertown Revival,” said Backman. “Councilman Gabe Kearney will be our officiant in the morning. State Senator Noreen Evans will be an officiant in the afternoon.”

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