Cowboy Hootenanny Folk Festival Celebrates Ranching Heritage (2014)


2014 - Archived

Celebrate Sunol Regional Wilderness’ pioneer and ranching heritage at the Cowboy Hootenanny Folk Festival, a free public festival at the park on Saturday, November 15 from 11 am to 4 pm.

The old-fashioned fun includes square dancing to live music – with a caller to help you keep up with the steps; and clog dancing by the Mount Diablo Cloggers and the Clogging Express Team. Taste homemade lemonade, learn to make rustic toys such as stick ponies or clothespin dolls, and do laundry in a washtub. Try your hand at horseshoes, whirlygigs, tops or other old-time pastimes. Experience Dutch oven cooking, rope making, and quilting. Meet animals at the petting zoo. There will be pony rides for the little ones, too.

Before it became a public park, the Geary family ranched on the land that is now Sunol-Ohlone Regional Wilderness for nearly 100 years. Patrick and Mary Ann Geary were married in the Mission area of Fremont, in the shadow of Mission Peak. In 1865, the couple moved to the Sunol valley– traveling by foot, with their belongings in a cart. The Gearys farmed - and raised their 11 children - at their homestead on Indian Joe Creek.

Geary descendants continued to ranch at Sunol for decades, even after Willis Brinker bought their land and other homesteads to form the JB Ranch. Brinker, a wealthy industrialist and builder of the original Bay Bridge, died while fighting a fire on the ranch. The land was sold to the Park District, which opened it to the public in 1962.

Join in the festivities on November 15, featuring live music, square dancing, crafts and games. Learn about local pioneer and ranching history while you enjoy a day in the park.

Sunol Regional Wilderness
1895 Geary Road
Sunol, CA 94586

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fees: free event 
Parking: $5 cash parking fee
Food: BBQ will be available for purchase (cash only)

Public Information
1 (888) 327-2757 or visit

Day of event:
Call the Green Barn Visitor Center at (510) 544-3249.

Event is on rain or shine!


11:00 am………………Festival Begins
11 am – 4 pm ……… Crafts and Exhibits
11:30 am - 12:30 pm… Diablo Mountain Cloggers and the Clogging Express Team
12:00 pm………………Welcome from EBRPD Board Member Ayn Wieskamp
12:45 pm - 1:30 pm……Cows, Cowboys and Conservation Presentation
1:45 pm - 2:45 pm……Square Dancing with Caller Bob Elling and Music by Jimmy Chickenpants
2:45 pm - 3:30 pm……Geary Family Descendants History Talk
3:00 pm - 3:45 pm……Live Music by Jimmy Chickenpants

Photos courtesy of Jurek Zarzycki

Cowboy Fest 1

Cowboy Fest 2

Cowboy Fest 3

Isa Polt-Jones
(510) 544-2207