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Walt, Debbie Murken Tapped For ‘Senior’ Escalon Honors
Museum Fundraiser Also Part Of Fete
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Escalon Historical Society Vice President Wendy Fenton shows the vintage oil painting by artist Alice Popp that will be awarded in a drawing hosted on Saturday, Aug. 7 at the museum as part of the weekend’s Park Fete festivities. Tickets are on sale now; proceeds will be used to maintain the museum and the artifacts it houses. Marg Jackson/The Times

This year’s Senior Mr. and Mrs. Escalon have been announced – and the honorees are longtime local residents Walt and Debbie Murken.

A former police chief for the city, who also served many years in the department as an officer before taking over as chief, Walt Murken later was elected to the Escalon City Council. He also is now a Docent for the Escalon Historical Society Museum.

Debbie Murken for many years ran a home-based child care business and later got involved in the Every 15 Minutes program, serving as one of the coordinators of that effort at Escalon High School. She also has been instrumental in helping plan the last several Park Fete gatherings.

The luncheon to recognize Walt and Debbie Murken for their contributions to the community is planned for Tuesday, Aug. 3 at noon, noted Park Fete committee member Paula Rocha. Reservations for the luncheon at the Escalon Community Center can be made by contacting Gracie at 209-988-5673.

“Richard and Karyn Dawson have the honor of being Grand Marshals for the Park Fete parade,” added Rocha. “The parade is on Saturday, Aug. 7 at 10:30 a.m.; this is a new time. In the past it has been at 11 a.m.”

For more information about the parade or to obtain an entry form, contact Vince Giovaniello at 209-604-9100.

Park Fete itself is at a ‘new time’ as it is being hosted during August as opposed to the traditional second weekend in July date.

Organizers did not get to put on the city’s hometown party last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 event. This year, with pandemic restrictions loosened across the state in mid-June, the committee agreed to go forward with a celebration, giving themselves time to get it all put together, scheduling the festivities in August.

An informational meeting for the Little Miss and Mr. Escalon pageant is planned at the Main Street Park stage at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 13. Contestants must be between 5- and 7-years-old, and reside in or attend school in the Escalon Unified School District.

Also, tickets for a vintage oil painting are on sale at the Escalon Historical Society’s museum on Main Street, with the winner drawn about 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7 during Park Fete. The painting, by artist Alice Popp, is of a floral arrangement and was originally commissioned for Erma Jeanne Barton. Popp lived in Escalon for 54 years. Tickets are $5 apiece for a chance at the painting.

The Escalon Police Department will host its annual corn hole tournament as part of Park Fete as well. Those interested can pre-register online now at under the recreational page. Deadline for sign-ups is Wednesday, Aug. 4 at 5 p.m.; cost is $30 per team.

Day of registration, if still available, will be hosted from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Aug. 6, at a cost of $40 per team. Only 42 teams will be accepted in the tournament.

Tournament coordinator Sara Cardoso of the Escalon Police Department noted that the “bags fly” at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 6. First place team will receive a cash prize. Proceeds will benefit the Escalon Police Reserves and Explorers units.