Time-honored parade set to roll

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

Now is the time to get your entry form in for the Desert Empire Fair Parade, set to start at 10 a.m. on Oct. 20.

Out of all 58 counties in California, only Ridge-crest and Ven-tura fairs still have fair parades. Organizers encourage us not to let this time-honored, family-friendly tradition fade away. From the serious to the silly, the sublime to the supportive, this is the time to show off our community in all its glory.

The last two fair parades were canceled because of lack of participation. Organizer Kathy Armstrong has been working for a year now to get this parade going — and keep a wonderful 60-year tradition going strong in Ridgecrest.

Anyone can be in the parade. Just fill in the form and gets it back to Armstrong before Oct. 8.

Are you in Scouts, 4-H, FFA, Habitat for Humanity, service organizations, chess club, theater group, pep squad, motorcycle club or whatever? Armstrong encourages everyone to get your group together and brainstorm — someone in the group will probably have a pickup truck, or a trailer, or something to build a float on. Or enter your unique car, rickshaw, wagon, horse, pedal car or bicycle.

“We’re excited about the entries we’re already receiving,” said Armstrong. “The first entry was from Ridgecrest Regional Hospital. We’ll get to meet some of their dancing staff and families.

“There will be an antique Army truck, the Model T Car Club from Bakersfield, the prize-winning Burroughs High School Marching Band under the direction of Simon Austin, and the BHS Cheerleaders.

“And CLOTA will have a ‘hanging tree’ float to promote the annual ‘Halloween Spook House’ fundraiser.

“The Cherokee Community will be there in their regalia, the Nazarene Church and some others have signed up, and we’ve got the Navy Color Guard coming.

“Several rare, antique and unique vehicles will be there. We’ll have the opportunity to greet our politicians. I think it’s wonderful we’re getting such great response.”

This year’s theme is “We’ve Got a Good Thing Growin’.” You could do a float with a pumpkin patch and hay bales, and have your group members sit on that.

You could advertise an upcoming fundraiser your group has planned. Or take the “good thing growin’” as growing young minds, such as daycare, preschool, library or programs for kids.

You could look at the “growin’” as increasing technology, and raise awareness of your business or computer club.

Or “growin’” could mean skills, such as martial arts groups, music groups, track clubs, dance groups, riding clubs, sports clubs, re-enactment groups or marching units. Anybody got a washboard band? The fun is in the creativity and doing things as a group.

What about blood donors? Members of the One-Gallon Club could ride on a float with a big sign. Would you give Ridgecrest a chance to applaud and cheer to thank you for your life-giving generosity?

This is a great opportunity for charities and organizations that use a lot of volunteers. And how about businesses? This may prove to be some of the best advertising you could get — you can introduce your business to the public if you’re new, or remind them you’re here.

What about emergency service teams, like fire departments, police, sheriff’s office, search and rescue, ambulances, Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service? All these groups have some wonderful vehicles, like colorful fire trucks, crash trucks, trucks with big winches, specialty vehicles that folks seldom get to see unless they’re racing to an emergency. Come on out and let people get a good, long look at those expensive and wonderful vehicles, and a chance to show off your crews, too.

Wouldn’t it be great to see some of our senior citizens on floats or in antique autos, waving happily, wearing something fun? What about folks from the surrounding communities?

Spectators are needed too, Come on out and cheer. Maybe you’ll make new friends along the route.

You can print out your set of forms from the DEF website, desertempirefair.com. Or call Armstrong at 760-375-2643 and she’ll respond right away. Get your entries in as soon as you can — the deadline is Oct. 8. Packets can also be picked up at the DEF office. Call 760-375-8000 weekdays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Story First Published: 2012-10-03