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Community Comes Together To Celebrate Park Fete 101
PF Scrambler
Young Jaxson Grass, 4, at left, isn’t quite sure he is enjoying the ride on the Scrambler at the Park Fete carnival area on Friday night, July 14 while seven-year-old Kayson Grass holds on tight. Marg Jackson/The Times

Temperatures were steadily on the rise as the week progressed, leading up to triple digit heat for the Friday and Saturday, July 14 and 15, observance of Escalon’s annual Park Fete celebration.

This once-a-year party for the community turned 101 years old this year and though the heat may have kept the crowd size a little smaller than usual, there was still plenty to do, see and enjoy.

No longer just a weekend event, Park Fete traditionally now kicks off on Tuesday, as a celebratory luncheon is hosted to honor Senior Mr. and Mrs. Escalon. This year’s recipients were Dave and Sandy Russell and they were feted at the Community Center on July 11.

Then it’s on to the pageant days: Wednesday night, July 12 saw the Miss Escalon Pageant staged at the Community Center and Thursday night, July 13 was the Little Mr. and Little Miss Escalon pageant, also hosted at the city’s Community Center. The new royalty crowned at those events – Miss Escalon Aileen Aguirre and her court, along with Little Mr. Escalon Harrison Showalter and Little Miss Escalon Tinley Lombardi – had their first official appearance as the new royals during the Saturday morning Park Fete parade.

Following the pageants, the festivities for Park Fete ramped up on Friday afternoon. Vendor booths opened, musical entertainment was featured on stage, food and beverages were for sale and the carnival area with rides and games enticed plenty of kids to visit.

It was another full day on Saturday, which started early with the Park Fete 10k and two-mile fun run/walk, taking off from El Portal Middle School on First Street.

The annual parade, with the American Legion providing the colors and then Grand Marshal John Paladichuk happily leading the way, featured a full half hour of community service organizations, equestrian units, a band, the Escalon Senior Fun Bunch providing their own musical accompaniment on kazoos, local businesses and more all following the route from Coley to First to Main. A couple of dancing horses were well received by the crowd and kids scrambled to get the candy and small treats that many were tossing from their classic cars or community floats.

The Escalon City Council was also riding aboard a float and serving as emcee was longtime former council member and past mayor Robert Swift. RCM Power Washing was a welcome presence, as they did some cooling water sprays at the end of the parade and then a few times in the carnival area, dousing hot Fete attendees with the water.

Power House Dance Studio presented several numbers on the Main Street Stage following the parade and later in the afternoon the American Legion Post provided an informative program regarding the presentation of military honors, with a 21-gun salute, flag folding and playing of Taps.

Music once again was non-stop from mid-afternoon on until the late-night hours, kids enjoyed the free activities set up in the Kids Corral and the many booths gave shoppers plenty of choices, whether they were in search of merchandise or a bite to eat.

It was definitely a hot weekend but the festivities throughout the week and culminating on Saturday helped shape a successful 101st edition of Park Fete.

PF Marshal
Honored as this year’s Grand Marshal, longtime Escalon resident John Paladichuk smiled and waved to the crowd as he rode along the parade route downtown on Saturday morning, July 15. Marg Jackson/The Times
PF Horses
A couple of different equestrian groups were included in the Saturday morning Park Fete parade on July 15, here with Dennis Borba, at left, and Ken Terpstra leading the way. Marg Jackson/The Times