Valley Parades: Reedley Fiesta Parade

Oct 17, 2015 | 2015 Articles, Arts & Entertainment, Community, Mallory Moad, Reedley News

by Mallory Moad

Check out the coupon for Sunnyside Bicycles in Reedley at the end of this post!

Fall is here and, after a summer break, the parades are back! Dust off the floats and tune up the tubas, because I am ready!

On October 10 I arrived at the beautiful valley town of Reedley, home of the Reedley Fiesta Parade. Of the three parades that take place in Reedley every year, the Fiesta Parade is the largest in terms of both participants and the size of the audience.

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Fiesta King and Queen, Walter and Helen Krause

According to Erik Valencia, parade chairman, “It is a homecoming of sorts. Many people who no longer live in Reedley will come back to Reedley just for Fiesta. People arrive before sunrise to set their chairs for the parade.” I believe it, too! As far as the eye could see, both sides of the eight-block parade route were lined with Reedley residents (and at least one from Fresno). This year’s parade celebrated the Fiesta’s 50th anniversary with the theme “Memories.”

The role of grand marshall was held posthumously by Budd Brockett and Wally Olfert. Long-time and well-known members of the community, they are credited with reviving the Fiesta in 1965 after an eight-year hiatus. Although they may be gone, they have not been forgotten and were represented in the parade by their families.

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Budd Brockett Family

Education and children were front and center in the Fiesta Parade and schools of all kinds participated in a number of ways. A rambunctious crew from Washington Elementary School shouted a spirited cheer as their mascot, the Wildcat, showed off his air-guitar licks; students from Karate Academy, Silas Bartsch Folkloric Dancers, and Airtime BMX School demonstrated impressive, difficult moves with energy and confidence, and a schoolbus was decorated with photos and mementos of past and present drivers in a loving tribute. Floats paid homage to characters from beloved children’s books such as Thomas the Tank Engine and the frizzy-haired Oompa Loompas from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.

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Charlie and The Chocolate Factory

Every parade has at least one entry that is unusual, whether it’s a bicycle-riding lobster or a vacuum cleaner drill team. This one had the world’s second 100% electric school bus and three adorable, well-dressed alpacas strutting their stuff. You don’t know what cute is if you’ve never seen a prancing alpaca in a pink bow tie and matching hat!

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Tribute to bus drivers, past and present

The Reedley Fiesta Parade featured seven marching bands that ranged in size from 20 to 350 members, representing middle and high schools from valley towns including Dinuba, Orange Cove, and Fresno. Regardless of number, all were dressed in uniform (some more elaborate than others) and all made plenty of noise (some louder than others). Reedley’s pride and joy, the ginormous Reedley High School Pirate Marching Band, drew cheers and applause as they danced and struck poses with precision while playing a swinging, sassy rendition of the classic jazz tune, Night Train.

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Reedley High School’s Big Green Marching Machine

Every parade is a reflection of its community, whether it’s cultural heritage, a unique holiday celebration, or a time-honored tradition. With its Fiesta Parade, the community of Reedley celebrated values and proved that isn’t just a word over-used by politicians. It’s people together, sharing what they love and believe in and having a whole lot of fun in the process!

My name is Mallory Moad, and I love and believe in parades.

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Mallory Moad is a visual/performance artist, vocalist in the jazz band Scats on The Sly and a proud Central San Joaquin Valley native.

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