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Festive Fete
Leading the way in the Park Fete parade, newly crowned Miss Escalon Vanessa Kualapai is all smiles as she rides in comfort along Main Street on Saturday morning. The line up behind her includes additional pageant royalty, including runner-ups, special award winners and the outgoing Miss Escalon, Darian Caton. Marg Jackson/The Times


Crowds enjoyed great weather, good friends, food, music, merchandise and more at the 2015 edition of the Escalon Park Fete. Against a backdrop of nearly perfect July weather – temperatures in the upper 80s to lower 90s with a cooling breeze – there was no reason not to attend the annual city celebration.

Along with special events early in the week including the Historical Society open house, Senior Mr. and Mrs. Escalon Luncheon, the Miss Escalon and Little Miss and Mr. pageants, the weekend brought a full slate of activities to the Main Street Park and stage area.

Newly crowned Miss Escalon, Vanessa Kualapai, was excited following her coronation at the Wednesday night pageant, eager to take on her duties and happy that she pushed herself past her comfort zone to enter the pageant.

“I was always that shy, awkward girl,” she admitted. “This was a good way to express yourself and we had a great group of girls, they were all deserving of a win.

“I was shocked,” the incoming EHS senior added after hearing her name announced as the winner. “I wasn’t expecting it.”

Several musical groups hit the stage, there were magic acts, dance routines, the Saturday morning parade, an omelet breakfast, wine booth hosted by the Escalon Skatepark Foundation, the beer booth hosted by the Escalon Lions Club and more.

Lions Club member and city councilman Ed Alves said he was thrilled with the turnout, all the activities, and pleased with the support from the community. In particular, he said, were a major donation from corporate sponsor Escalon Premier Brands, plus additional sponsorships from Steve Cash Crop Insurance and an anonymous donor.

A walk through the Main Street Park offered views of local restaurants, church groups and community organizations serving up a variety of food and drink, local vendors with wares from dreamcatchers to jewelry, toys to Scentsy products and a special Kids Corral featuring bubbles, sack races, a sandbox and more for children to enjoy for free.

On the other side of the park, past the caboose, the traditional kids carnival area was set up and had rides and games, along with a couple of food vendors with shave ice, cotton candy, ice cream and more.

Escalon American Legion had a booth, as did the Masonic Lodge, hosting the Ceres Lodge with fingerprint identification kids for youngsters. There were cornhole and horseshoe tournaments, a demonstration by the Sierra Gunhawks fast draw group out of Sonora, and pet adoptions hosted by the Escalon Animal Shelter.

Friday saw the action start at midafternoon and run through late night, with The New Past and Remedy both entertaining on stage. Saturday kicked off with the annual Park Fete Run and the omelet breakfast, followed by the parade and then non-stop entertainment throughout the rest of the day.

Police reported a few minor incidents during the celebration, a couple of disorderly conduct arrests, but no major problems.

Jessica Flowers was on hand enjoying the day on Saturday, bringing children Kaylee, 5, and Leland, 2, out for the fun.

“I know Escalon is very relaxing, not hectic,” the Ripon resident said. “We just come right up River Road, there’s lots of good stuff here and nice people.”