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News: 02/15/2014

World Pillow Fight Championships return – to Rohnert Park

A new partnership between The Kenwood Firemen’s Association (KFA) and the Santa Rosa Rotary Club will revive the defunct World Pillow Fight Championships in Rohnert Park this September.

The last World Pillow Fight Championships were held in Kenwood Plaza Park on July 4, 2006. A popular local fundraiser for the KFA, the event had grown too large for small-town Kenwood. In its 40-year run, it had gone from a relatively small event to one that was attracting up to 10,000 people, and the KFA decided to suspend it.

“Ever since we stopped the event here [in Kenwood], we’ve been looking for a new venue,” said Daren Bellach, captain with the Kenwood Fire Protection District.

The KFA has been working with the Santa Rosa Rotary Club for more than a year to secure the new event venue at Sonoma Mountain Village in Rohnert Park and the event has received final approval to return on Sept. 27, 2014.

Wayne Rowlands, of the Santa Rosa Rotary Club, said the venue at Sonoma Mountain Village is a large open recreation area (on land owned by the Codding Family), big enough to hold 20,000 people. Rowlands said they anticipate an attendance of about 5,000 at the initial event, but that the space offers room to grow.

Rowlands said the format of the new World Pillow Fight Championships will be similar to the old event, with a “little Rotary twist.” The event is already lining up sponsors and even looking at some celebrity face-offs, said Rowlands. The actual pillow fight competition will be capped at 100 participants, and all the proceeds raised will be split evenly between the KFA and the Santa Rosa Rotary Club, to be donated to local charities.

When the original World Pillow Fight Championships began in Kenwood in 1964, they were used as a significant funding source for the KFA, raising money not only for the volunteer fire department’s needs, but also other local causes such as the Valley of the Moon Children’s Home, the Kenwood Fire Explorers, and the fire department’s scholarship program.

Although details are still falling into place, the website is up and running at

“We are excited,” said Bellach. “There is 40 years of history here. It’s potentially a great fundraiser.”

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