RR GirlsA diverse team of community loving folks organizes Rivertown Revival.  We started off modestly and have grown to a team of 30 staff members. In October 2009, Kelin and Vanessa brought the idea of an arts-based festival to David Yearsley and Elizabeth Howlad of Friends of the Petaluma River; they loved the idea; and Rivertown Revival was born.  We formed a team and met many new friends in the process.  Many of the original crew are still primary organizers of the event.  They are amazing human beings with tremendous energy, creativity, and loyalty.  This week we would like you to meet the founding members of Rivertown Revival who still don their STAFF shirts! Stay tuned every couple of weeks to encounter all of us salty dogs!

Founding Staff:

Captain Dave rowing his boatDavid Yearsley – Our Captain! Rivertown Revival Founder, former Executive Director of Friends of the Petaluma River Nickname – Captain Dave

David enjoyed sharing the stories of the Petaluma Watershed with his entire community; picking his guitar and singing songs; hunting with his dog Coco; having adventures with friends and family; traveling with Elizabeth; and seizing the day! Sadly, David passed away in 2011. We dedicate this wonderful community event to David Yearsley!

Rivertown Revival 2011Kelin Castleberry Backman – Festival Director, Rivertown Revival Founder, Board Member of Friends of the Petaluma River, and Proprietor of Clementine Eco-Events Nickname – call me KelChien, baby!

Kelin enjoys night hikes with stolen wine, shaking her booty to live music, and spending time with her awesome friends and family which includes: rock star husband, Eric; hilarious and artistic prodigy, Emma; tuba blowing and swimming fool, Sawyer; polar bear dog, Lucky; one-eyed, three legged dog, Jo; the jumpy and always licking Olive dog; and nine chickens.  Kelin also enjoys dorking out on details and getting lots of vitamin D (usually on the sunny patio of Water Street Bistro).

Vanessa on dutyVanessa Hauswald – Decoration Producer, Rivertown Revival Founder, Proprietor of Clementine Eco-Events, and Executive Director of Norcal High School Cycling League Nickname – Vinnie or Coco

Vanessa enjoys trolling garage sales, riding her bikes (yes there are many of them) all around the county, dragging her paddle board down to the Slough regularly for bird watching, and wearing awesome costumes whenever the hell she can.  Vanessa also loves an excuse to ditch work and drink beer, spontaneously grab her husband, Yuri, and take him on impromptu adventures in their EuroVan, and walk (be dragged by) her very energetic, kangaroo of a dog, Kingston.  Vanessa can often be spotted scheming with fellow Deco Producer, Chris, on upcoming crafting missions.

Glamour Shot Elizabeth Howland – Volunteer Wrangler and Chief Financial Officer, Rivertown Revival Founder, Board Member and Former Executive Director of Friends of the Petaluma River, and Proprietor of Clementine Eco-Events. Nickname – Betty or Silver Fox

Elizabeth enjoys playing her mandolin and singing harmony in her band Betty; taking a boat out on the Petaluma River; spending time with her many dear friends (she’s the unofficial mayor of Petaluma!) and her wonderful family of four children, their four partners, four grandchildren and dog Coco. Elizabeth’s warm smile and loyal friendship serve her well as our Volunteer Wrangler; folks just can’t tell her “no.”

First year set up Chris Aluia – Decoration Producer, Rivertown Revival Founder, Board Member of Petaluma Downtown Association, Advisory Member of Friends of the Petaluma River and Proprietor of Lions and Tigers and Hair Nickname  – Road Runner or Helluia

Chris loves the thrill of the hunt! You can often spot Chris looking for treasures at recycle town, Lytton Springs’ enormous thrift store and Skip Domingo’s auction. These humble beginnings become the beautiful decoration of Rivertown Revival.  This mad scientist of adornment can also be found drinking champagne with her friends at her mountain cabin, tapping her toe to Sonoma County’s live music scene, hanging out with her son Anthony, and cutting the majority of Petaluma’s children’s hair at her downtown shop: Lions and Tigers and Hair!

Tyler in photo boothTyler Young – Art Director, Rivertown Revival Founder, and Owner of Young Nomad Design Nickname – Ty (but Kelin likes to call him Chili Power)

Tyler is a man with a vision and mission.  Tyler leads the creative vision for Rivertown Revival and countless other community projects including ProjectHere. He set his roots in Petaluma with his wife Kellee and sons Max and Knoll, and has made our community a better place to live.  Not that he’s all vision, mind you. This brother brings the snark, and beer to many a function.

Shennon at afterparty Shennon O’Donnell – Co-Music Producer, Rivertown Revival Founder, Manager of The Mystic Theater Nickname – Shen

Shennon is a force; this lady rocks! She is a world travelling fool who is always up for an adventure, not that she’s reckless, mind you.  Shen’s a practical wild woman who books music for Rivertown Revival along with her partner in crime Josh Stithem.  She can also be found booking music for The Mystic Theater in Petaluma, hiking with friends, going to music festivals, and Segwaying down wine country roads.

Handcar Regatta Photo Vicky Kumpfer – Fine Art Curator, Rivertown Revival Founder, Visual Arts Manager at Arts Council of Sonoma County Nickname: Vi Vie Vicky Vie Vai

Vicky is a champion of Sonoma County artists, and has a great time finding innovative ways to expose our county to the talent that resides here.  From producing art shows, to writing grants, to pitching new ideas, Vicky’s always mixed up in some artistic shenanigan.  This sometimes-masked lady, can also be spotted at Burning Man and The Lagunitas Beer Circus. A girl’s gotta have fun! And there’s no shortage of that in Vicky’s life.

Natal Modica Natal Modica – Construction Coordinator, Rivertown Revival Founder, Owner of Natal Modica Construction Nickname – Natalio

If Natal has bad days, we haven’t witnessed them in the four years we have worked with him.  That guy is always flashing his pearly whites and cracking jokes with his crew.  Natal Modica Construction does all the heaving lifting and building of Rivertown. They build our fences, hang our signs, create temporary walls, and install all shade.  These guys rock, and Natal leads the charge.  You can also stop and thank Natal for the beautiful new wall on the south side of the barn at the David Yearsley River Heritage Center; his company built it!

Ready for Bocce Eric Backman ­– Ticket Agent, Rivertown Revival Founder, Assistant Principal at Casa Grande Nickname – Enrique or Betty 2

Eric is outside whenever his busy schedule allows (he’s at Olompali Park right now hiking around; this is the follow-up activity to the 7 mile run he did this morning at Helen Putnam).  When he’s not getting his nature fix, he’s playing drums in the band Betty; getting to know 2,000 teenagers at Casa Grande; prepping for book club (called Frobys) or hanging out with his family (see description in Kelin’s bio).  Eric is also fond of the R&R, and is frequently spotted on the Demspey’s Patio with a pint of Petaluma Strong Ale in hand.