Kenwood Press

Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

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News: 07/01/2017

Grand Marshal represents Kenwood’s history

Here’s your complete rundown of Kenwood’s 4th of July activities

old woman
Connie van Löben Sels is this year’s Grand Marshal.

Long-time Kenwood resident and nonagenarian Connie van Löben Sels has witnessed many of Kenwood’s 4th of July Hometown Parades, but this year van Löben Sels will take the spotlight riding a 1925 Ford Model T down Warm Springs Road as the parade’s Grand Marshal.

Moving to Kenwood in the 1940s, van Löben Sels has memories of Kenwood as a very different town, full of gravel roads, barns and hay fields.

Her roots run deep through Kenwood. Coffin Lane, next to St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, takes its name from her family. The property on which the church is now located used to be owned by her parents, Sherwood and Constance Coffin.

Born in 1921, van Löben Sels grew up in San Rafael. She was a teenager when the Golden Gate Bridge was completed. She married in 1942 and had two sons.

When her father retired as president of Coffin-Reddington in the mid-1940s, he bought 36 acres in Kenwood for $13,000. The property included a dairy barn on the corner of Highway 12 and a six-acre prune orchard.

When van Löben Sels’ boys were still young, she and her husband separated and van Löben Sels moved with them to her parents’ property in Kenwood. It didn’t take long for her to find a place in the community. Her sons attended Dunbar School, where she was president of the PTA and led a Cub Scout den.

After his wife died in 1969, Sherwood Coffin donated the land for St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, where it stands today. Green Acres Manor, a residential care home, also occupies part of their original property. Her sons are now both in their seventies. William worked as an electronics engineer and Fred served with distinction on an icebreaker with the Coast Guard. Fred will accompany his mom in the parade, riding his Harley Davidson.

Her great grandson – a fifth-generation Kenwoodian – Orion William van Löben Sels, was born in January and lives with his parents, Nathan and Caitlin van Löben Sels, on the same family property with Connie on Coffin Lane behind the church. At 95, van Löben Sels is still an active member of St. Patrick’s and sings soprano in the choir.

Grand Marshal van Löben Sels will be with our local fire departments, color guard, kids, dogs, horses, antique cars and trucks, and more traveling down Warm Springs Road toward Plaza Park beginning at 10:30 a.m. on the 4th of July. Come out and wave a flag or two! If you’re interested in taking part in the parade, sign up online or download an entry form at, or pick up a form at the Kenwood Press office. It is the best small-town parade in the county, bar none.

group in parade
The Lane family has fun during last year’s 4th of July Hometown Parade.

In addition to the 4th of July Hometown Parade, there is a splendid line-up of events all morning long:

Redwood Empire 10K and 3K runs

Get some exercise to start your day by running a 3K or 10K. The 10K is the oldest continuous footrace in California!

Sign up for this 46th annual race at

Prizes include:

• Commemorative dated Kenwood Footrace glassware to the first 1,250 finishers.

• Special stainless steel pint glass to the first 100 10K finishers.

• Option to buy a Kenwood Footrace tech tee with your registration for $15.

• $5 off Pancake Breakfast at Kenwood Community Church (normal price is $8).

KCC pancake breakfast and silent auction

The Kenwood Community Church will provide a hearty breakfast to everyone, serving coffee at 6 a.m. and food starting at 7 a.m. and going to 11:30 a.m. $8 for adults and $4 for 12 and under. Menu includes scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, fruit, orange juice, coffee and water.

The church also has a silent auction with plenty of tempting items to bid on, running from 9 a.m. through 2:30 p.m. in the park. Be sure to check it out. This year’s auction features gift certificates to the area’s finest restaurants, gift baskets, garden/patio items, kids toys, fine art, wine, and much more.

Rotary Shindig after the parade

After the parade ends, take a short stroll into Plaza Park where the Rotary Club of Glen Ellen-Kenwood will host their annual 4th of July Shindig at the park, featuring music by bands T Luke & the Tight Suits and Radar, food by Palooza, beer, kids games, booths, and more.

Best of all, everything wraps up by the afternoon so you will have plenty of time to get to your favorite fireworks show or just go home and enjoy the holiday in peace.

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