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Larkspur Dresses Up For Rose Bowl

Centennial dance brings the community together for a memorable party organized by the Larkspur Association of Firefighters.

They were jumping, jiving and wailing well into the night during Saturday' night's Larkspur Rose Bowl.

The dance floor got a workout with the Dick Bright Orchestra belong out the hits, everything from boogie woogie to the best of the 80s. The music echoed through downtown Larkspur until just after 11 p.m.

"With the original Rose Bowl, everyone came out and had a good time," said the Larkspur Association of Volunteer Firefighters' Dennis Gilardi, who is credited as one of the primary forces behind the centennial celebration of the Rose Bowl dance

Some of the stars of the community showed up for the centennial, including Twin Cities Police Chief Todd Cusimano, Larkspur Vice-Mayor Dan Hillmer and community activist Tina McArthur.

"Without Dennis Gilardi, this wouldn't have happened," said Brian Costello of the Larkspur Volunteer Firefighters.

The dance was last held four years ago for the City of Larkspur's centennial, but Gilardi warns not to expect this to become a regular event, unless of course the community wants it.

That just might happen. Revelers came out Saturday dressed to the nines in outfits that might have been seen at the original Rose Bowl dance.

Gilardi's research shows the earliest such dance was actually in 1910, but the Rose Bowl didn't become a fixture until 1912. The funds raised from ticket sales went to pay for the volunteer firefighters' alarm system, the equipment and just about everything else they needed at the time.

"The motto was 'No taxes for the volunteer firefighters,' " Gilardi said.

Organizers decorated the Escalle Winery on Magnolia Avenue with vintage Model T fire engines (with sirens that they proved still work) and motorized cable cars which gave revelers a ride to and from the dance.

Local merchants, including Marin Joe's, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Emporio Rulli, donated food, wine and beer to Saturday's celebration.

Haggis September 09, 2012 at 11:09 PM
A friend, a WWII vet, told me he and his high school buddies from San Francisco used to take the ferry to Sausalito and the train to Larkspur to the danses at the Rosebowl. Didn't know about the Rosebowl then( 30 years ago), but it sounded like those kids had a wonderful time in that magical era.
Tracy September 10, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Sounds like a great time was had by all. I wish I would have gone.
Rocky September 10, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Just wondering if the Rosebowl dance will happen again next year.
GAFlynn September 10, 2012 at 03:05 AM
This should be an annual event.
Lou Judson September 10, 2012 at 01:31 PM
My parents had an annual square dance at the Rose Bowl, and I went to a few of them in the late 50s early 60s. It was a fun place for a kid too! Now I can't find where exactly it was, can't find Rose Bowl Aparments either. What was the address? Been a long time gone...
Jill Sellers September 10, 2012 at 08:48 PM
A huge THANK YOU to Dennis Gilardi, the organizers and volunteers! It's a special community that can come together to plan and share a wonderful evening under the stars. Beautiful setting, wonderful people, great conversation and lots of dancing! Just loved it!

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