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Quiet, Cool Fete Weekend
A low-key crowd, some unexpected raindrops and cooler temperatures made for a very quiet, relatively peaceful Park Fete.

The 87th annual event was staged in Escalon on Friday and Saturday, July 10 and 11 and organizers were pleased with the event, which went off with very few problems.

Friday evening's bands drew big, happy crowds that danced into the night and the action picked back up again early Saturday with the Park Fete Run, annual omelet breakfast hosted by the Escalon Masonic Lodge and then the parade, with Grand Marshal Palmer Little saluted in a day set aside to 'Honor Our Veterans.'

That was the theme for this year and Little, a longtime member of the Escalon American Legion, was transported along the parade route by Bob Girling, driving his 1944 World War II jeep. The local American Legion Post colorguard started off the parade, showing the colors and the American Legion Riders motorcycle group were next in line, followed by Little, who served both in World War II and Korea.

The weekend wrapped up a busy week of festivities, with Senior Mr. and Mrs. Escalon Larry and Agatha Swanson feted on Tuesday, Rosebud Brumley crowned as Miss Escalon in a Wednesday night pageant and Christopher Nekut Jr. and Madison Bavaro taking the titles as Little Mr. and Miss Escalon, respectively, in Thursday night's pageant on the Main Street stage.

All rode in style in the parade, which also featured plenty of equestrian units, musical entries, local community groups, businesses, service clubs and a variety of antique autos. Also featured was a Lions Club entry, the 1953 Chevy pick-up owned by Lion John Salvin.

Park Fete is sponsored by the Escalon Lions Club and some members serve on the committee with coordinator Amanda Swift to put the once-a-year party together. Escalon Premier Brands, as it has in the past, served again as corporate sponsor for the event.

For those attending, the annual Park Fete is a good time to meet up with friends, enjoy music, support local businesses and community organizations through their booths and spend some quality time reconnecting.

"You come down and meet your friends, there's good food, good music and it's fun for the kids, you can let them run around and not worry about them," said local resident Sean Brogan. "Then you can dance all night."

Representing South San Joaquin Irrigation District, Joe Catanzarite said he likes being involved in the fete.

"I've been coming here since I started with the district 24 years ago and I like the people, seeing all the farmers we serve," he said.

Escalon Pentecostal Church was serving up ice cream, soda and water.

"It's slow but good," Carol Warren said of the crowd, noting that the unexpected early afternoon raindrops on Saturday may have turned a few people away from the ice cream.

Nevertheless, she said having local groups offer food booths is a bonus, since proceeds benefit local projects. For the church, it is going toward the building addition.

Mar-Val Main Street Market Manager Mike Davidson said he was pleased with the business at the store's booth and they hope to be back next year as well.

"We're having a blast," he said. "Everybody has been wonderful."

For 12-year-old Shalene Yarber of Escalon, it was all about the rides and games, along with the fish she won.

"I like it, there's rides and stuff, cotton candy, a bunch of stuff to buy," she said.

Saturday also featured a continuous line up of musicians, including the teen crowd-pleasing Close To None, which drew a huge following.

"It was amazing," said guitarist Taylor Dickson. "I didn't think we would have that big a turnout."

Organizers were also pleased with the event and Escalon Police Chief Doug Dunford said he can't remember a quieter Park Fete.

"It was real quiet, maybe it was a smaller crowd, the cooler temperatures, and it was also a younger crowd this year. Friday night, we had two arrests and Saturday night no arrests," he said. "It was a very well-behaved Park Fete."