The Main Street Stage will host multiple bands, new royalty will be crowned, and a longtime local couple will be honored as Escalon’s Park Fete unfolds for 2021.
There was no Park Fete in 2020, as the city celebration fell victim – as did many events – to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally hosted in early July, organizers had to wait until mid-June and the lifting of pandemic restrictions across California to begin formal planning. So they delayed the fete until early August, preferring to go a month later than normal than lose the event for another year.
“Save the date,” committee member Paula Rocha said when organizers made the decision to move forward in June. “It’s going to happen. We’re back.”
Now, with the first official Park Fete Week gathering looming, finishing touches are being put on multiple events.
The Senior Mr. and Mrs. Escalon Luncheon, with Walt and Debbie Murken selected as this year’s honorees, is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 3 at the Escalon Community Center. Tickets for the luncheon, which is being put on by the local Blodgett Catering, are available for $20 and can be obtained by contacting Gracie Marx at 209-988-5673. The luncheon is at noon and reservations are requested; get your tickets today and join in honoring the Murkens for their involvement in and contributions to the community over the years.
Local teens take the stage on Wednesday, Aug. 4 at 6 p.m. as the Miss Escalon Pageant is hosted, also at the Escalon Community Center, with dinner/admission tickets available at $25; must be purchased in advance. Contact Lexi Bavaro for more information, 209-480-0728.
The Little Mr. and Miss Escalon Pageant begins at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 5 at the Escalon Community Center; no admission fee.
The traditional two-day Park Fete celebration hosted downtown begins with vendor booths opening at 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 6 and the carnival, with rides and games provided through the Manteca-based Fun ‘n Games, opens at 6 p.m.
Escalon Police Department is sponsoring its annual cornhole tournament on Friday evening as well and entertainment on the Main Street Stage kicks off at 5 p.m.
First up on Friday, the ‘Escalon’s Got Talent’ local talent show, slated from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; with Gary Gervase and Kickstart Blues Band performing from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Friday night’s headliner is the popular returning group Gotcha Covered, a longtime Park Fete favorite, performing on stage from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 7 will feature the two-mile and 10k Park Fete runs, taking off from El Portal Middle School on First Street. Cost is $20; the 10k starts at 7:15 a.m. and the two mile at 7:30 a.m.
Individuals interested in participating in either the 10k or 2-mile can register online at: https://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=86636
The annual Park Fete parade is scheduled for a 10:30 a.m. start; Richard and Karyn Dawson are Grand Marshals for the parade. For more information about the parade or to obtain an entry form, contact Vince Giovaniello at 209-604-9100.
The carnival will be open again on Saturday and there will be a variety of food trucks and vendor booths available as well. Saturday also features the drawing for a painting at the Escalon Historical Society Museum, along with the annual horseshoe competition at the pits adjacent to the Main Street Park.
Stage entertainment begins at 11:45 a.m., with performances by Powerhouse Dance Studio, running through 12:30 p.m.
Los Compadres Vaqueros Banda takes the stage from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Entertainment Coordinator Rick Baglione said he is excited to have gotten a couple of new groups to perform as well. Those include Los Niteliters, on stage from 1:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m., with the Latino band based out of San Jose making their first Park Fete appearance. They perform a wide range of music, from salsa to funk, R&B to Tejano.
Elvis impersonator Tony Freitas returns to the Park Fete stage from 3:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Remedy is slated to perform from 5 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. and another new group, the Goat Hill Girls, have the 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. time slot.
Baglione said the Goat Hill Girls will bring some bluegrass entertainment to the Park Fete mix in their local debut.
The five musicians in the Goat Hill Girls are native Californians and got their name from a landmark in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Their musical selections include plenty of bluegrass and vintage country, along with some novelty tunes and fun Irish songs added in.
Rounding out the entertainment will be Weekend at Jimmy’s featuring Greg Rivera, playing from 9:15 p.m. to 11 p.m., closing out the 2021 Park Fete festivities.