My Town - Kory Hayden
● By Enjoy Magazine
Kory Hayden, Etna Communications Manager
Photo by M.C Hunter Photography
I went from elementary school through high school in Etna. I had a gentle appaloosa horse who carried me everywhere and I drove a 1972 Cutlass Oldsmobile to high school. I left to attend Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga, which had cows in the hills too. I found pockets in the Bay Area with that same hometown feel - Mt. Tamalpais filled in for the Russian Wilderness. Winters and Clayton offered small-town charm.
When life brought me back to Etna, it was still special—farmers talked over coffee, the May and July rodeo were longtime signature events, but many of the restaurants had closed and gatherings were not in town anymore. This is when a group of energized citizens sparked a series of community gatherings, with the intention to bring people out of their houses.
It started with the Etna Farmers Market, then other events followed. Now we have a successful film and music festival, several new businesses and a bustling Main Street where our community wants to spend time. Our shops work together to support annual events each year and PCT hikers say that Etna is one of their favorite towns to visit.
Etna is a real town. We have a hardware store, a bakery, two novelty shops (where you can get really neat things)—we even have a handmade bike manufacturer who is known all over the world. We are home to Aetna Mills flowers, two local breweries and the only craft distillery near I-5, between Sacramento and Oregon.
My town is a meaningful community—one of salty character
and subsistence. We have bikes, bread, beer and spirits.
All we need is now is cheese.