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Home on the Grange returns to Bennett Valley

Traditional annual picnic, cherry pit spitting contest, set for June 5
Home on the Grange returns to Bennett Valley
Bennett Valley Grange at the grill in an undated photo from the 1960s or 1970s. Left to right: William Pisenti, John Mazzetta, Harry Guenza, Rocco Guenza, and Phil Guenza. The price for barbecued chicken in 1970 was $1.75 for adults and $1 for children.Source: Bennett Valley Grange


By Chris Gralapp

Bennett Valley residents are justly proud of their historic old Bennett Valley Grange Hall #16, built in 1873, which is the oldest continuously operating Grange in America and remains an important focal point for the community.

The hall was declared a Sonoma County Historical Landmark in 1979, and has traditionally hosted community meetings for the Grange and the 4H Club. The building provides a bucolic, unique, and historic setting for weddings and private family events. Multiple times throughout the year, the Grange hosts special public service events for the community and to raise funds for continued preservation of the building, which will be 150 years old in 2023.

The National Grange movement began in 1867, with the mission to be a support network for American farmers across the country. Today, the Grange remains an important grassroots, community-focused organization with a commitment to education about agriculture, our local food supply, and our environment.

The Bennett Valley Grange is pleased to announce the return of its annual picnic on Sunday, June 5, from 1 to 4 p.m. This much-loved family-friendly event dates back to 1873. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, June 5 will mark the 148th gathering. The event also serves as a fundraiser for the restoration of the historic building and grounds.

This year’s barbecue also brings back the famous Cherry Pit Spitting Contest, held from noon to 2 p.m., plus a children’s activity showcase and various exhibits by local community organizations. We’ll provide lots of door prizes and special coupons from local restaurants and businesses. There will be live music by “The Familiar Strangers,” great food, and fun for the whole family.

The event is open to the public, though advance ticket purchases will be required to ensure the right amount of food is prepared. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children under 16, and free for children 5 and under. To purchase tickets, visit BennettValleyGrangeBBQ.brownpapertickets. com.