Last month we celebrated Volunteer Appreciation Week by honoring our Clayton Community Library volunteers.

With 95 adult and 58 student volunteers contributing nearly 8,000 hours per year, Clayton's library boasts the most volunteers in the county library system.

Based on the 2010 Independent Sector figure for the value of volunteer labor in California, $24.18 per hour, the total monetary value of our library volunteerism is $187,951.14 -- we couldn't keep the doors open without them!

But it's not just at the library -- Clayton is truly a community of volunteers and they are hard at work for a new season of activities:

Last Saturday, in honor of Earth Day, we held our best-ever Clayton Cleans Up. More than 275 community members turned out for a morning of litter and garbage collecting from our trails, parks and creeks, which was followed by a fabulous barbecue in the courtyard of City Hall. Their collection was impressive and the town is all spruced up for a season of fun.

Next up on Main Street is the 18th annual Clayton Art & Wine Festival this Saturday, May 4 (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and Sunday, May 5 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) The Art & Wine Festival features more than 125 vendors of original art, jewelry, great food and uniquely crafted items.

The weatherman says it will be two fine days to hear great local bands, shop (for Mother's Day) and enjoy some fine wines or a beer with friends.


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Produced by the Clayton Business & Community Association, with the help of hundreds of volunteers, this festival generates funding for nearly every Clayton organization and activity, including our downtown concerts, school computers and athletic equipment and college scholarships.

The following Saturday, May 11, is a very busy day downtown as we kick off our Clayton farmers market season. Located on Diablo Street and featuring the freshest seasonal fruits and vegetables, flowers, specialty breads and other yummy delicacies, the market will be open from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday mornings until the end of October. While you are at the market, pick up some goodies for Saturday evening's "Concerts in The Grove."

Also on May 11, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Endeavor Hall parking lot across the street from the farmers market, the Clayton Valley Garden Club will have its annual plant sale. Look for plants suitable for our Clayton soil.

Saturday, May 11 brings back The Sun Kings, a great Beatles tribute band, for our first free "Concert in The Grove" of 2013. The concerts are coordinated and run entirely by volunteers with the sponsorship of the city of Clayton, CBCA and Allied Waste.

Last year, our concert audiences donated nearly $16,000, which will fund about half of this year's concert season. Thank you!

Chairs and blankets may be placed in The Grove starting at 4 p.m.; the concert is from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Bring a picnic or better yet, have an early or late dinner at one of our fine restaurants.

The concerts continue every other week all summer and have become "the place to be" on Saturday evenings. Check the Clayton website at ci.clayton.ca.us for the complete, printable summer schedule.

The weekend of May 18-19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, the Clayton Historical Society presents the 21st annual Gardens Tour.

The tour begins at the Clayton Museum on Main Street and features five beautiful Clayton area gardens offering gardening inspiration and a wide variety of landscaping ideas. Tickets are available online at claytonhistory.org.

This fundraiser is the primary source of funding for the operation and maintenance of the nonprofit Clayton Museum. The museum, run entirely by volunteers, is open to the public from 2 to 4 p.m. Sundays and Wednesdays, and is also open during the summer car shows on Main Street from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays.

The Clayton Valley VFW Post 1525 hosts the annual Memorial Day ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday, May 27, at the veteran's flagpole on Main Street in Clayton.

Assisted by local Boy Scout troops, and emceed this year by Concord Mayor Dan Helix, the services bring together hundreds of community members to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their country. Please join me and your Clayton council members there.

The Clayton community takes great pride in all our events and we welcome visitors to come and spend some time with us. Planning is already under way for Clayton's Fourth of July celebration and as always, "all volunteers welcome!"

Julie Pierce is the mayor of Clayton. Email her at columns@bayareanewsgroup.com.