Columns

Upside: Family fun in Colma

What heat wave?

News around the state and the nation warned of soaring temperatures heading up to the Fourth of July.  That sounded like false advertising to those living on the western edge of San Francisco Bay as they bundled up as usual on their way to outdoor festivals.

The town of Colma on July 8 welcomed residents, neighbors and folks eager to escape the sizzle in shores untouched by the typical marine layer aka the fog, our frequent visitor where the Pacific meets the hills and valleys and the Bay to produce an atmospheric a blanket from the cold or a chill in the scorch, depending on the time of year.

June gloom had passed, but clad in puffy jackets and hats, people of all ages eager to have fun, chow down, and make friends ignored the gusty wind and hopped by 34 tables of community-forward businesses and organizations.

There was something for every member of the family, traditional or not, on the 99th anniversary of Colma’s foundation.

San Mateo County leading agencies Peninsula Family Service, Hip Housing and Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA and Jobs for Youth deployed staff to discuss their programs and services.  County Commissioner on Aging Liz Taylor staffed Colma’s Age-Friendly Task Force that, with Colma Historical Society, highlighted the host town’s support for the older population. Tomorrow’s movers and shakers literally jumped their hearts out in the bouncy house next to the Home Depot Kid Zone.  While a band chased the blues away with classic rock and pop, health-conscious revelers worked out inside the spacious community center, where fitness and craft demonstrations took place.

Clinic by the Bay, One Medical, Republic Service and Farmers Insurance talked health, sanitation and safety while Roxy’s Hat Company, Succulents by Sue, Jen’s Crafty Creations, Hecho Handmade Jewelry, From Trash to Beauty, Bracelets with Meaning and Self-Love, Self-Made offered retail therapy.  Casita Vegana, Marros Tacos, Mr. Softee NorCal soothed hunger pangs.

Contiguous municipalities put their best foot forward with able representation, like Daly City Public Library and AHMC Seton Medical Center.  South San Francisco Public Library set up an information table featuring Project Read.  Plus: Mayor Flor Nicolas performed double duty giving presence to her city while spreading the word about healthy relationships as ALLICE Alliance for Community Empowerment 2023 president with fellow Kumares Elsa Agasid, Lydia Pomposo and Nellie Hizon and her co-president Junior Flores.  Together they distributed their ALLICE directory.  Underwritten by the Town of Colma, the “A-List, as it is familiarly called, is the first-known family resource guide vetted for linguistic and cultural sensitivity for serving immigrant and LGBTQIA+ communities.

Quite a huge turnout for a town of just a handful over 1,500 living residents and some 1.5 million resting eternally in memorial lawns or columbariums.  Yes, the term necropolis applies, but residents won’t be lying if they say life is happening in Colma.

For one, the town leaders host a big picnic every year.  This is the home of Lucky Chances, the 24-hour cardroom owned by FilAm Rene Medina and managed by his sons Ruell and Rommel.  My snobby bestie swears by the prime rib at its Rene’s Fine Dining restaurant and its Café Colma martini hits the spot anytime.  Serramonte Boulevard is north county’s bustling auto row.

Colma was the first Bay Area city to invite ALLICE to conduct a workshop on family and intimate partner abuse prevention to ensure concerted informed response from its law enforcement and town leadership.  That’s thanks to current Mayor Joanne del Rosario, who happens to be an ALLICE Kumare therefore an advocate for community education as violence prevention, with strong support from Vice Mayor John Irish Goodwin and City Council members Helen Fisicaro, Ed Gonzalez, and Carrie Slaughter, and City Manager Brian Dossey.

Wait till next year, the five-time mayor gave a teaser for her town’s centennial, promising a celebration for the ages.

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(Philippine News Today Executive Editor Cherie M. Querol Moreno is founder-executive director of ALLICE.)