Riveting Rally

Photos courtesy of Lisa Foote

by Zach Chouteau

Slap on your blue coveralls and polka-dotted bandana and get yourself to the Craneway Pavilion this Saturday, Aug. 12 for another Guinness World Record attempt. The Third Annual Rosie Rally – an effort to set the record for largest gathering of people dressed as Rosie the Riveter – will join forces with the 11th Annual Home Front Festival to bring an abundantly festive atmosphere to the city’s historic waterfront. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the experience, with all the key info you need to take part and enjoy the festivities including parking and transportation details:  

Record-Breaking Rosie Rally

The Rosie Rally will be held in the Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour Way S., starting at 10 a.m. Saturday. The rally aims to break the Guinness World Record that was set at the same location last year, when 2,229 people Rosie lookalikes assembled at one location in time inside the Craneway. That record eclipsed the record set in 2015 at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Mich., where 2,090 Rosie lookalikes assembled. The Michigan and Richmond contingents have been embroiled in a friendly rivalry over this specific Guinness World Record since March 2014, when 776 Rosie lookalikes set the mark for the first time at Willow Run Airport. The ongoing rivalry has served a good cause: to loudly celebrate and remember Rosie the Riveter, an iconic character representing the women who rallied to support the U.S. during WWII through their work on the home front, including taking on roles that were traditionally held by men such as welding. The Rosie Rally is held by the National Park Service in partnership with the Rosie the Riveter Trust and City of Richmond.

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Marsha Mather-Thrift explains Rosie Rally 2017

What to wear at Rosie Rally

Those wanting to partake in the rally are asked to dress in the proper Rosie gear, and also to arrive at the Craneway Pavilion by 10 a.m., when you can be checked for authenticity and tallied as part of the official count. Here’s what to wear:

  • A red bandanna with polka dots, worn in the traditional style;
  • A dark blue collared shirt AND dark blue pants or coveralls;
  • Closed-toe black or brown shoes; and
  • Red socks.

Home Front Festival

Right after the Rosie Rally, a Samba procession will lead participants to the nearby Home Front Festival at Lucretia Edwards Shoreline Park.

The festival starts at 11:30 a.m. and continues until 4 p.m. with live musical acts, plenty of food vendors, and various booths and activities for all ages. Another cool touch: the USS Potomac will be docked at Marina Bay marina and open for free tours starting at 11:30 a.m.

Other fun will include an aircraft cockpit display from the USS Hornet, and the East Bay Regional Parks Mobile Ranger Unit will also be on hand, as will a gamut of hands-on activities for the kiddies. Historical intrigue will include a historical display from Angel Island, info on the popular “Victory Gardens” from the UC Master Gardeners’ program, and a 1940s bus from the Pacific Bus Museum. Military vehicles from the American Armory Museum, including a replica of General George S. Patton’s Command Car, will also be showcased.

Food trucks will offer a variety of cuisines, and for anyone seeking a keepsake of the big day vendors will be selling Rosie-the-Riveter-themed mementoes and other WWII-era items. Live Entertainment at the festival has been coordinated by East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, and will include The Klipptones, Tiffany Austin, Mexican music and dance ensemble Son de la Tierra, vocal ensemble Voices of Reason and West African Music and Dance. The SS Red Oak Victory, owned by the Richmond Museum Association, will be holding an event that will include WWII re-enactors, food, music, and ship tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Parking and Transportation

Free secure bike valet parking will be provided at Harbour Way South near the Craneway Paviliion, and there will be free shuttle buses between the Craneway and Festival and the Richmond BART station starting at 9 a.m. The Tideline Water Taxi, a relatively new addition to the Bay Area, will be providing ferry service from San Francisco.

Complimentary shuttle service between the Craneway Pavilion and SS Red Oak Victory will be provided from 11:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. There will also be public parking at the Craneway, at 1414 Harbour Way South in Richmond, as well as ample street parking.

Citywide Celebration

Those dressed as Rosie for the Rosie Rally will also benefit from a host of special discounts throughout Richmond on the day of the event, with numerous restaurants, shops, breweries, a winery, coffee shops and other local businesses in nearby Point Richmond and beyond will offering free or discounted items or services to rally participants—with a list of participating establishments posted at the event.

 

Original Rosies to take part

One of the monumental aspects of the Rosie Rally experience is the presence of numerous “original Rosies” who will participate and add their support. These living legends are women who actually served on the home front during WWII, and they have remarkable memories to share. The Richmond Standard met some of them during a preview event for the Rally and heard profound, eye-opening stories.  Marian Sousa, 91, told of her experiences as a ship draftsperson right out of high school following a short drafting course. Her two sisters and mother also served on the home front.

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