Dozens of sheep take to Petaluma streets on Saturday during annual Transhumance Festival


As livestock drives go, this one was … different.

Pushed by ranchers on a quad, and kept in line by a pair of highly concerned dogs, a flock of about 65 sheep mobbed down urban East D Street in Petaluma on Saturday morning. They scooted in front of houses, parked cars and spectators — some delighted, some perplexed — and past an out-of-session day care center, the offices of the Burdell Building and Willibee’s Wine & Spirits.

The woolly animals started inside a small pen at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds and wound up at Steamer Landing, where they joined about 600 of their brethren that were already feasting on grasses at the park.

This was the sixth annual Transhumance Festival in Petaluma — “transhumance” refers to seasonal movement of livestock between mountain and lowland pastures — but the first since Petaluma launched a citywide grazing program in partnership with Two Rock Land Management last year.

“We hope to see this implemented in the rest of our county cities,” said Sarah Keiser, who helps the city with coordination, planning and management of the grazing program. “Regional Parks and some county sites do grazing, but Petaluma is the only city. Community members love it. It’s a really great experience for everyone to see this happening, and watch how it transitions our landscape.”