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Bird’s Eye View

Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. So how was it for you? The Sierra Music Festival that is. Apart from a few complaints about the loudness of the music late on Friday and Saturday (“I live over a mile away and didn't hear a song I liked until 1am on Saturday!”) and the sheer number of people in town clearly under the generally very mellow influence of various substances, I heard mainly positive comments as I hovered in and around downtown Boonville over the weekend. Deputy Craig Walker tells me that there were five relatively minor arrests on Friday and none at all to his knowledge on Saturday or Sunday — quite amazing considering there were perhaps as many as 7,000 visitors in town.

I finally landed at The Buckhorn on Sunday afternoon and, along with about 70 others, watched some live soccer from Europe. It was England against Italy in the European Championships (think World Cup for European countries only) and the crowd in attendance, mostly visiting for the Music Festival but taking a break to watch some soccer, featured a wide spectrum of nationalities, including French, Australians, English, Irish, Ethiopians, Nigerians, a German, an Italian, a Scotsman in a kilt (not Bruce Anderson) and a sprinkling of Valley folk. It was a veritable Pub of Nations! They all seemed to have a great time and only one local left in disgust at the whole proceedings, muttering to himself as he left, “I f***in’ hate this s***.” I’m not sure whether he was referring to the soccer, the Music Festival, or his life in general — or perhaps all three.

Overall, I'd say the Festival was a success for most. It has grown significantly over its seven years here in The Valley with this year’s event the largest yet in terms of attendance. It has a good ‘feel’ about it, with virtually none of the silly behavior that comes with The Beer Festival, and those “in the know” say it is one of the best music festivals anywhere. No doubt we will hear about any problems and inconveniences that arose but, as I mentioned above, there were many, many “thumbs-up” for the event, both from visitors to our Valley and locals alike.

Public Service Announcements, calendars and pens at the ready. #127. Don’t forget that the Boonville Farmers’ Market is every Saturday morning from 10am to 12.30pm in the parking lot at the Boonville Hotel. #128. With the new owners at the AV Farm Supply continuing to run the operation just as before their purchase, the vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital will still be making their visits to the Valley in order to see our pets on a regular basis. In the month of July they have two visits planned, on Thursdays, July 5 and 19, from 2pm to 3.30pm each day. #129. Just around the corner it’s the 15th Annual Boonville ArtWalk when you can enjoy the warm hospitality and vibrant art that Boonville is famous for. ArtWalk is sponsored by AV Arts, the AV Chamber of Commerce, and Boonville merchants. ArtWalk is on Saturday, July 7th from Noon-6pm with dozens of local artists and craftspeople at businesses throughout the downtown area. With creative art activities for kids and adults, it’s a great summer family outing! Call 707-895-2204 for more information. #130. The 2nd Annual PawFest to benefit the AV Animal Rescue is once again at the AV Brewery. Fun, food, drink, live music, raffle, silent auction, dog demos and an appearance by local Deputy Walker and his dog Argus, all taking place from 2-6pm on Sunday, July 15th. #131. The Kate Wolf music festival is this coming weekend, but that’s in Laytonville and I would humbly suggest that you will have a better time staying in the Valley, hanging out with local people, and supporting local small businesses.

Topics and Valley events under discussion this week at The Three-Dot Lounge — “Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant Rumors” from my favorite gathering place in the Valley.

…As mentioned above, the new owners at the AV Farm Supply are settling in well and doing a fine job as they learn the ropes with the assistance of previous proprietors, Dave, Nancy, and Mark Gowan. There is a lot to learn for the new guys before the Gowans depart for Oregon, although if enthusiasm and friendliness count for something, then the Ardzroonis and their crew will be absolutely fine.

…A regular stopped by and showed us the recent issue of ‘Wine and Spirits’ magazine featuring an article on Valley wines by Talia Baiocchi. However, the piece, which focused on the Valley’s Pinot Noirs, appeared beneath the confusing headline “Brightliners in the Deep End.” “Brightliners”? Really? Surely she meant to use the Boontling phrase “Brightlighters” when referring to city folks. Come on Talia, if you’re going to write about the Valley do us the courtesy of getting the basics correct, particularly if it's your headline!

…The Valley was also in the headlines when it featured in the most recent issue of the national news magazine, ‘The Week’ by way of the New York Daily News! The latter’s Jeff Heilman was quoted in the magazine’s travel section, describing the Valley as “charming wine country, free of the tourist hordes that can spoil Napa” and “a patchwork of vineyards, orchards, and sheep-dotted hills sweeping up to forested ridges.” However, Mr. Heilman goes on to say that his “moment of true rapture” came when driving along the 11-mile redwood tunnel (the Navarro Redwoods State Park) to the sea, a journey “as moving as a cathedral.” Difficult to argue with that part, although for “sheep-dotted hills” one has to go back several decades when there were 75,000 of my woolly friends who called the Valley their home, rather than the 3,000 who reside here now. Still, I guess it’s nice to get a mention, and now we can expect more hordes of brightlighters (but not brightliners) to head this way.

Time to take my leave. Until we talk again, Keep the Faith; be careful out there; stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts; and may your god go with you. One final request, “Let us prey.” Humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. PS. Contact me with words of support/abuse through the Letters Page or at

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