Word of advice: Come early to get good parking!
Next word of advice: Come prepared to have a great time.
True – parking was tricky. I wish we’d come earlier so that we could avoided the hunt for a parking spot, but the pay-off was definitely worth it.
I was entertained from the very beginning. The ticket table and the folks in its proximity were very friendly and funny. I walked in to the festival with a smile already on my face.
The first thing I smelled was barbeque. The first thing I saw was a steady stream of people shopping the row of booths lining the park. Jewelry, hats, scarves – all handmade. And, of course, accordions. Lots and lots of accordions.
The lawn was covered with a full crowd of people who had come to listen to great musical acts and visit with their friends who had come to enjoy the same thing. A small park was busy with children climbing and swinging high.
But it’s all about the accordions and the people playing them. This year’s festival touted 31 accordion acts on 4 stages. Probably one of the most-loved experiences of the weekend is the Lady of Spain-A-Ring. This is when everyone in the crowd who has brought their own accordion get up and play The Lady of Spain together. What camaraderie! What a sound! I have heard that there are usually between 70 and 100 people playing together. I wish I had been there during the time this happened!
About the time I came across this next booth, I was wishing I hadn’t already had lunch. Paella!
The Cotati Accordion Festival is a non-profit organization established in 1991 to promote the love of the accordion and to support local youth service organizations.
To date we have contributed in excess of $320,000 to the youth of our community.
Perusing their site I learned that the folks who do the hard work to make the festival happen every year are also very dedicated. It seems they’ve all been on board for several years, if not since the festival’s first year! It goes to show how special the event is and how dear it has become to the people of Sonoma County.
If you weren’t one of the 5,000 people who made it to the festival this year, be sure to make it next year! Be prepared to settle in and stay a while – it’s the best way to experience the event.