Longhorns Tromp through downtown Santa Rosa

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Yes, that was a real cattle drive in downtown Santa Rosa Sunday morning.   And hundreds of spectators lined Fourth Street to take it all in.

A small but exuberant herd of 30 longhorn cattle were driven out of downtown, up Fourth street and down E street to the fairgrounds in a display of cowboy skills that had all of the expected frills and dressings.

The cattle drive was once a regular occurrance during Fair Week, but hasn’t been seen since 2011.  This year’s event was put on by the Sonoma County Farm Bureau to kick off Farmer’s Day at the Fair, which celebrates the region’s agricultural roots.

That made no difference to the longhorns, who waited patiently in a temporary corral erected in a corner of Courthouse Square.  As soon as expert wranglers opened the gate and whistled a command, they were off at a trot, accompanied by a police escort, about 20 invited luminaries and guests on horseback, and of course sweeper trucks.  Around 35 volunteers lined the route to make sure no cattle escaped into neighborhoods along the way.

The morning cattle drive has long been a way to promote the fair, and this year was proceeded by a big pancake breakfast at the Square hosted by the Santa Rosa Police Department.

The drive went off on cue at precisely 10AM, and the cattle arrived safely back at the fairgrounds, after a mile walk down city streets, at around 10:20AM

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