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City Fest Success
Billed as the city's annual 'homecoming' celebration, the 2012 edition of Escalon Park Fete didn't disappoint, with music, pageantry, a parade and plenty of reminiscing on the agenda.

Friends, classmates, former residents and EHS alumnus all made the trek to the city's downtown, gathering in and around the Main Street Park area for festivities on Friday and Saturday, July 13 and 14.

With longtime local veterinarian Dr. Tom Hagan saluted as the 2012 Grand Marshal and new royalty selected in a pair of pageants (See related story, photos on Page A2) it was a week of special events to celebrate the city and its residents.

"I'm happy with it," said Escalon Lions Club member and co-coordinator Ed Alves, who is also a councilman and Mayor pro tem. "The people involved in the planning of it did a great job. Every year, we're trying to add a few new wrinkles and this year the wine booth was new."

The Escalon Lions Club is the organization that takes the lead in putting on the Park Fete, with primary financial backing from Escalon Premier Brands and a contribution from the City of Escalon as well.

"This town deserves the best we can give them," Alves added.

The Lions Club runs the beer booth every year at Park Fete and this year, based on citizen requests, the wine booth was also introduced. That was operated by the Escalon Parks Foundation, with proceeds going toward development of a skate park, the Foundation's first project for the city. Buoyed also by a successful fireworks booth, Foundation members said they have gotten a good start on fundraising for the park.

In the week leading up to the two-day Fete, honors went to Senior Mr. and Mrs. Escalon Sket and Angie Franceschetti, new Miss Escalon Alexis Fisher and Little Miss and Mr. Escalon Kelsey Webster and Hunter James.

On Friday, the carnival area opened for kids in the afternoon, along with the local vendor booths offering food, merchandise, information and more. Music kicked off in the evening, with a pair of groups taking the stage, with The Rangers up first and The Tailights closing out the evening with a large, appreciative crowd on hand.

Saturday started out with the annual Park Fete Run and the pancake breakfast, followed by the downtown parade, emceed this year by Lions Club member and city councilman Robert Swift, then another full day of activities.

There was plenty of action at the petting zoo hosted by Escalon Animal Control, where 4-year-old Jake Daluz was busy feeding goats who quickly found him with treats in hand.

"I like the socializing," mom Dena Daluz said of what draws her to Park Fete each year. "The kids like the carnival and the rides."

At the Lagorio's food booth, the Farmington based crew opted to try something different this year, offering deep fried treats, from bacon to cookies.

"Last year we did ribs and they didn't do so well," Kathy Lagorio admitted. "We needed junk food for the kids."

Even the adults could splurge on indulging in a deep fried treat, she said, with the booth doing a brisk business. The family operation also included Lagorio's sister, Christine Williams and niece Kayla Williams, busy deep frying items throughout the weekend.

With booths ranging from the local D'Boni's Pizza to informational booths staffed by the Escalon Republican Women and South San Joaquin Irrigation District, vendors from toy distributors to the 'Green Eyed Mommy' booth with a variety of affordable items, the park was packed. Music and entertainment on the stage Saturday was nearly non-stop, kicked off with multiple routines by students from the Power House Dance Studio and followed up by both solo and group acts. Escalon Historical Society and Museum was open for tours and reminiscing and the return of the Dennis Borba International Professional Bull Riding competition also drew a crowd to the evening show, with plenty of spills and thrills.

Alves said the community was very positive about this year's Fete and he also enjoys the chance to get reacquainted with residents.

"I want the best for this town," Alves said. "Whatever it takes, I'll do it."