For many, it was like a big family reunion.
Meeting up with classmates, touching base with friends not seen in a while … the weekend Park Fete celebration in Escalon offered plenty of fun and family-friendly events.
Hosted each July, the Park Fete has been overseen the last several years by the Escalon Lion’s Club but with plenty of assistance from other community organizations and individuals. This year was no different and a busy week of activity culminated with the Friday night kickoff of the actual Park Fete with music, a carnival, cornhole competition and more. Saturday brought the traditional early morning 10k and 2-mile runs, the downtown parade and more entertainment, the carnival, food booths, vendors, a special Kids Zone and the chance to reconnect with the community.
EHS Class of 2004 graduate Tony Reis was taking in the Park Fete with his wife Kristen and their son Hudson, who will turn two in November.
“I love it, I come here almost every year, try to keep the tradition going,” Reis said. “I’m here with my two older brothers, Paul and Joe, so it’s a family thing.”
Kristen said they also typically meet up with lots of friends who schedule trips back home to coincide with the annual Park Fete celebration.
“We had a great parade and everyone gets so enthusiastic, the entries, the crowd, the kids are running around for the candy,” noted parade emcee Robert Swift.
He is also a Lion’s Club member and helped organize the event. He noted that officials were very pleased that the majority of the Saturday entertainment on stage was Escalon-based, from PowerHouse Dance to the Azores Band, Elvis tribute artist Tony Freitas to the summer El Portal-EHS band.
Swift said there was also plenty of competition from events in other areas, with the State and Stanislaus County fairs both kicking off this weekend, but he feels like Park Fete held its own.
“We’ve had great crowds,” he said.
While the downtown festival was headquartered around the Main Street Park for the Friday and Saturday festivities, earlier events were hosted at the city’s Community Center, including the Senior Mr. and Mrs. Escalon celebration, and both the Miss Escalon and Little Miss and Mr. Escalon pageants.
The parade on Saturday morning saw the crowd lining both sides of Main Street and enjoying a full half hour of floats, dancing horses, musicians, church groups, community service organizations, fire and ambulance entries and more. Wrapping up the parade was the RCM Powerwashing business, giving attendees a welcome spray of water.
Temperatures did creep up to near the 100-degree mark on Saturday but crowds seemed to be good both days, with attendees enjoying the wide variety of events offered.
“It’s everything you could want out of a Park Fete,” Swift said. “It’s a real community homecoming.”