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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sebastopol - Support Your Community the Holiday Season

Give the Gift of Your Support 
to Your Community This Holiday Season

We’ve experienced challenging budget decisions, cut back services, and continue to face uncertain, perhaps declining, revenues. We need your support – Sebastopolians, Sebastapudlians, Sebtowners, and all community members by whatever favorite name that identifies you as a local.
You can help the City and our Community by keeping your holiday purchases local.  This doesn’t mean simply gift purchases.  It includes much more – food, gasoline, dining out, contributions to non-profits, charities, and service organizations.  Whenever you are about to make a transaction, “think Sebastopol first,” the holiday message from our businesses.  Their message is really a good message for all year long.

The Holiday Season is almost here. Well, for some, it’s already underway, starting as early as Halloween.  We invite you to enjoy your holidays at home, in Sebastopol.  Our town is gearing up for a festive season with a new look. Hopefully, those white lights, that were problematic last year, will go up on Main Street this year, thanks to the generosity of Sebastopol Hardware and the many donors who contributed to the expense.  

Adding to this warm and inviting ambiance will be the decorated and colorful store fronts.  The annual tree lighting on The Plaza is scheduled for December 1, Thursday.  There will be music, performances, candle-light singing, a visit from Santa, and likely some surprises.  That same date hosts “Dine Out for Life,” a local program where participating restaurants contribute part of their meal and/or drink revenues to Food for Thought, a local food bank.

To make shopping and carrying your armloads of bags easier, the City, Chamber of Commerce, and Sonoma County Transit will repeat a first-time activity from last year – free rides on the new Sebastopol Shuttle, on Saturdays only.  This year the program is extended several weeks.  It will go from November 19 to December 24.  The Shuttle, our new local bus for the in-town-only Route 24, has one floor level [no difficult steps] and can kneel to make entry and exit easier.  It drives to or near many of the key locations in town, both cross town and up town.  Ride the Sebastopol Shuttle and be car-free and care-free.  Our friendly drivers deal with the traffic for us and parking is never a problem. “Super Saturday” riders on December 3 will receive special offers from stores participating in this now-city-wide event.
Parking is more available than ever in our downtown area and at no charge.  The lots on South High Street and behind the Chamber of Commerce building on South Main have no time restrictions now.  So if you have more to do than can be accomplished in one, two, or three hours, seek out one of these parking spaces.

Enjoy a more relaxed experience away from the hectic crowds.  Our downtown is a unique experience with a variety of specialty items to choose from our stores.  Meander from shop to shop, grab a cup of coffee, sit down for a meal, and likely chat with someone you know whom you run into. Remember our other shopping areas, north and south of town, and our restaurants, all over.  Sebastopol businesses are our friends and neighbors, so what can be better than spending your holiday at home.

The community gathers twice during the Holiday Season for a traditional meal with all the trimmings and more.  The first free event is on Thanksgiving Day, the other one on Christmas Day, both at the Community Church. Volunteer ahead of time or at the event.  Come for some companionship and fun.

Let’s remember those in need, too, and our many non-profit, service and charitable organizations that serve them.  The City has not been able to give as many community grants as in previous years, so your help here is crucial.  Your generosity can provide food, clothing, shelter, toys and other small gifts for our more vulnerable members.   It can extend services as well, such as driving to medical appointments.  Remember that you can give your time, too, to help.
Celebrate the Holiday Season with great appreciation for the local flavor and global vision of our community.  Slow down and take it in.  Think Sebastopol First.
Acknowledgement to Executive Director Teresa Ramondo, Chamber of Commerce, and to Council Member Kathleen Shaffer for this material.

Sarah Glade Gurney