Sunday, October 8th, 2017 is a day all of us in wine country will never forget, because on that day wild fires broke out across our beloved valley. As someone who grew up in Sonoma, it has been an emotional couple of weeks to say the least. Everyone who lives here has their own version of what that Sunday night was like- some fleeing flames in Silverado or Fountain Grove, and others sleeping soundly until the early hours of Monday morning before waking up to the smell of smoke. Regardless of where that day began I think there was a common experience of disbelief, panic, and disorientation that continued into the following weeks. For most Sonoma County residents, this was the largest natural disaster they had ever experienced. It is said that the best of humanity rises in the worst of circumstances, and this couldn't have been more true in my experience these past couple of weeks here in Sonoma.
We have all seen so many posts and articles already about how the town immediately sprung into action- evacuation centers popped up overnight, meal trains for first responders were organized, donations were dropped off by the truckload- so I won't go too far into depth with those details. What I do want to touch on is something that has always been here in Sonoma, and that is community. I have seen it many times over the course of my life growing up here, though not necessarily in such an obvious way as these past two weeks.
I see it every fourth of July when the entire town gathers to watch the parade downtown. I see it each year at Christmastime when the plaza is lit up with hundreds of twinkle lights and Santa Claus rides in on a fire engine. I see it at the Red and White ball when the plaza is transformed to host a fundraiser for local public schools. I see it during the Vintage Festival, and the Film Festival, and the Hit the Road Jack run. I see it in every restaurant, winery, and shop as people flock from across the world to experience all that is "Sonoma".
This community is what it is because of the amazing people that call Sonoma home- and those people rose up to support each other during the worst circumstances this town has seen in a long time. I think the most remarkable part about this is how immediate the response was. There was no hesitation. I went down to Sonoma Valley High School just the second day that it was open and was already turned away and told to sign up for a later shift- they had more volunteers than they knew what to do with. The donations of food and water flooded in faster than they could distribute them, and donations were eventually being turned away as well. The outpouring of love and desire to help has been literally plastered across town in the form of handmade signs thanking first responders and volunteers. I think it goes without saying that the people of Sonoma have shown their true colors these past couple of weeks, and I couldn't be more proud to call this place my hometown.
Now with the fires contained and the majority of the destruction behind us it is time to move forward, which is easier for some than others. My call to action for you all is this: hold onto that sense of community we all felt these last couple of weeks. Continue to ask how you can serve your community and help those people who lost everything. Listen to each other's stories, be compassionate, and take care of one another. Support local businesses. Be grateful every single day that we live in such a beautiful place full of caring, resilient people. I don't think Sonoma will ever be the same after these past couple of weeks, because I think it will be stronger. I, along with my team at A Savvy Lifestyle and A Savvy Event offer our sincerest condolences and love to anyone who has experienced loss due to these devastating fires. We are here for you, and Sonoma is here for you. #SonomaStrong
Our editor Emily Belle is a self proclaimed Sonoma native, having lived here since she was just five years old. Growing up in wine country fostered an appreciation in Emily for the best weather, food, and wine you could ask for in a place to live. Her passion for photography and writing lend perfectly to blogging, and her love for California's wine country makes her our go-to gal at A Savvy Lifestyle.
If you have a business you would like featured on the blog or feel that you know someone who deserves recognition for their hard work in fire relief efforts, please email Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org with more details.