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Citys Park Fete Celebration A Highlight For Community
Getting ready for the Peace Officer Memorial Run in Modesto on Oct. 1 and another event in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 22, these officers took part in the Escalon Park Fete 10k on Saturday, running in full uniform. From left, Neil Cervenka, Turlock PD; Juan Mendez, San Joaquin County SO; Josh Petitt, Stanislaus County SO; Sean Dodge, Modesto PD. On right is retired LAPD officer Anita Finner. Marg Jackson/The Times

Temperatures that peaked near triple digits may have kept the crowd numbers down a little bit this year, but those that turned out for the city’s annual Park Fete celebration found plenty to enjoy.

From the cornhole tournament and musical entertainment on Friday night to the parade and non-stop activity on Saturday, the annual Escalon summer celebration went off well.

Nearly 400 people took part in the early morning Park Fete runs, breakfast was served up at the Masonic Lodge and kids enjoyed competing in stick horse races on Main Street.

The festive parade featured Grand Marshal Don Ritchey and his wife Lillian enjoying a seat of honor, while other entries ranged from musical groups to dancing horses, the Escalon City Council and local businesses, including RCM power washing, which closed out the parade by dousing happy watchers with a spray of cooling water.

Emcee Robert Swift, who enjoys getting a few comments from each parade entrant as they pass by, got a couple of unexpected answers from among the youngest participants.

He asked newly crowned Little Mr. Escalon, Max Villanueva, what he wanted to say to the community of Escalon.

“It’s really great to be a king,” the youngster said, bringing plenty of chuckles from the parade watchers.

Little Miss Escalon Daisy Lozano was a little more practical with her thoughts: “Strawberries are healthy.”

The newly crowned Miss Escalon, Grace Stime, and her royal court also rode in the parade, starting off their year of representing the city.

Plenty of youngsters spent some time in the Kids Corral taking advantage of free activities.

“We come out every year, we watch the parade, been doing it over 20 years,” noted Jinnohn Silveira of Escalon, who was at the event with her grandchildren.

Taking advantage of the chance for a cool treat, siblings Alden, 6, and Bailey Schultz, 8, both agreed that “eating ice cream” was the best part of the festival.

Musical groups taking the stage included The New Past, Remedy, Azores Band of Escalon and more, with the Powerhouse Dance groups also performing for the crowd on Saturday. Local businesses and service organizations hosted food and beverage booths, several vendors were on hand with a variety of merchandise, the sponsoring Lions Club had their beer booth, the police department’s new Zero electric motorcycle made a few quiet appearances and the overall feel was one of community spirit.

“I think it’s great,” said Lions Club president Kenny Taggart. “It has been a real nice turnout, though I wish the weather was a little cooler. But it’s always a great community event, it’s nice to have it and I hope we continue to do it for years to come.”