Congratulations to the Fairfax Festival and Ecofest Grand Marshal for 2022 -Richard Pedemonte!
Richard Pedemonte - also known as "Mr. Fairfax" - is at the heart of the Fairfax Festival and Ecofest. It is with great privilege and joy that we are honoring him this year as the Grand Marshal. Although Richard is "officially" retiring from the Fairfax Festival Committee, we know that he will always be a part of the Festival!
"Richard Pedemonte is known by many as Mr. Fairfax. The Fairfax resident’s civic service for the town spans 19 years, during which he was Fairfax Festival director, Fairfax Brewfest director, Fairfax Chamber of Commerce commissioner and president, and Park and Rec Commission chairman, among others.
As last weekend’s Fairfax Festival came to a close, so did this chapter of his life, as Pedemonte, 72, heads into retirement.
Q I’ve heard that people call you Mr. Fairfax.
A Yes, a lot of people do, actually. It’s very flattering, that’s for sure.
Q What drew you into getting involved in civic service?
A I started out just as a helper, and people just started asking me to do more, so I just slowly got roped into more and more responsibilities. I just did it because I was enjoying it, every bit of it, so it was never work to me.
Q What are some memorable moments of your time in civic service?
A When I did take over as chairman of the [Fairfax] festival, we were younger, Fairfax-type characters, and the first thing we did when we took over, we formed a committee, is that we named our favorite garbageman grand marshal of the parade. He deserved it, but it definitely raised a few eyebrows in Town Hall. It ended up being a big hit. And it was right around that time when EcoFest was founded … I feel proud to see that happen.
Q What’s been rewarding about your work?
A My day job before was in the event business. I had the honor of working for Warren Hellman, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass guy. I started with him in 2001 in a little sort of private party for him and some of his musician friends and then it blossomed into the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. And when I retired, 14, 13 years later, I had 55 restaurants and caterers that I managed. I created that whole thing for Mr. Hellman and it was such an honor being part of that fantastic event.
Q How did you get in the events business?
A Originally, my wife and I when we first got back from the Peace Corps, way back in the ’70s, we worked at the Renaissance Fair, the very first Renaissance Fair in Marin. We had one of the food stalls there, and we both have graduate degrees and we were both going to do other things, but we decided, hey, we’re having so much fun, let’s work for ourselves and keep doing this event thing.
Q How do you plan to spend your retirement?
A I’ve got two beautiful homes that I was able to buy. Beautiful, old homes in Marin, one of which my daughter lives in, and next door is my house, and I’ve been restoring both of them. It’s kind of like that Grateful Dead song, “When I Paint My Masterpiece.” Bob Weir sings it. I kind of think about that, too, when I’m working on these projects, because my property is a canvas, and I’m trying to make it a masterpiece, my legacy to my family. And a big part of my leisure plan is more of my beloved Grateful Dead and Co. shows."