Published September 16, 2008
Volume 16, Number 9

Running of the Cows is Moo-ving Experience     

Kendra Knudsen, a 2008 graduate of Amador Valley High School
sits between her art cow, Bovine-stein, representing the
Amador Valley High School physics classes (left) and the Foothill
High School art cow (right) which was designed by students in
Caroline Fields Advanced Placement Art History class.

Are you ready for the September 20 Running of the Cows, arguably one of the most eccentric events ever conjured up by a group of civic-minded volunteers?  Presented by the Amador-Livermore Valley Historical Society (ALVHS), the Running is actually the middle phase of a whimsical, bovine-themed fund-raising campaign benefiting Pleasanton’s  the Museum on Main. The cow motif, harking back to historic Meadowlark Dairy, the first such operation to be certified in the state, will receive its ultimate expression in the Udderly Divine Bovine Event, a festive evening of cuisine tastings, auctions, and music by Tommy and the 4-Speeds on Saturday, October 4.

Phase I of the campaign began this summer with the birth of the cows, as local artists unleashed their creative energies to animate 16 large and 12 small plywood bovines. Decorated for their public debut, the cows were corralled on the front lawn of the Museum on Main for the Bovine Beauty Pageant during the First Wednesday Street Party downtown on August 6. Bovine-stein, the creation of Amador Valley High School physics department student Kendra Knudsen, took top honors among the large animals, while Rhinestone Cowgirl, the entry from Valley Community Bank, trotted off with the tiara in the diminutive class. 

Right now, the fanciful cows are still on display during business hours at various downtown merchants. On Saturday, September 20, as part of Pleasanton’s Art & Heritage Celebration, they will mosey over to the starting line in front of the Redcoats British Pub, 336 Saint Mary St., for heats that begin at 1 p.m. With local service clubs, high schools, and breweries pitted against each other, some interesting rivalries will be playing out among the three-person teams that actually propel each bovine down the track.  “We are recruiting runners, whether teams sponsored by local businesses or students looking to fulfill community service hours,” says Udder Event Chair Joanie Fields.

After the Running, the cows will retire for two weeks and then reappear as auction items at the Udderly Divine Bovine Event. Demand is traditionally strong, and this year Fields is hoping that at least one of the prize-winners will top the record $920 previously fetched by a divine bovine. The large cows make great lawn decorations, while the small ones fit comfortably in a family room, she notes. For Udder Event reservations call the museum at (925) 462-2766 or visit www.museumonmain.org.

The ALVHS, under the leadership of new executive director Julia Bussinger, is enjoying a busy season. Also on tap for the Art and Heritage Festival, on Sunday, September 21, is "Hollywood in Pleasanton," a movie walk showcasing six of the 36 films made in Pleasanton from 1910 to 1943. Local residents will be recreating scenes and events from the film at each site.

Participants veer off in a different direction with the Museum’s reservations-only Pleasanton Ghost Walk, Friday and Saturday, October 10-11 and 17-18. For more information on either of these events, call Rebecca Bruner at 925-577-8802.


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