When I first spotted 17-year-old Isaiah Vergara he was practicing his rope lariat techniques in preparation for the Winters Youth Day Parade. He rode with the Rancho Tres Protrancas and the name of his horse is Banana. This was the first parade for Banana. Isaiah says it takes 10 months to a year to train a horse for a performance in a parade. Banana did some fancy footwork and a few pirouettes in front of the judge’s stand where I was positioned.
The assembly staging area for the parade was not the bedlam that I had anticipated with 60 entrants. It was orderly and civilized. This was the 84th Youth Day Parade so a few folks such as Parade Chairman Mike Sebastian have had a lot of practice. Mike was also the announcer and he has been involved with the parade for something like 49 years.
At the assembly area, and before the parade made their march down Main Street, I met Rosie Lucero. She helped organize a float sponsored by the St. Anthony Catholic Church. She said it took about a week to build a frame and cover the float with the paper flowers that members of the congregation had made. Approximately 15 children rode through town on the float which carried a banner reading, “Let the children come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.”
The float prepared by the ASB (Associated Student Body) featured a fairytale castle, a frog and a boat, all of which left me perplexed. Serena and JJ Husted explained that the theme is taken from the Disney movie Tangled. Google informs me that this is a story where Rapunzel — a lost, young princess with magical blond hair — yearns to leave her secluded tower. See the movie or read the story to find out what part the frog and boat play in the outcome.
The only anxiety that I witnessed at the staging area occurred because of the late arrival of the drums for the Winters High School marching band. No need to worry, they got there in time and the band put on a good show under the direction of Mr. Mike Williams. The middle school band also marched in fine form. A few other bands featured music from Mexico and this year’s downtown upright piano was introduced into action by the musical group Yolo Ramblers which earned rave revues on Saturday, April 23 at the Opera House.
Appropriately, the VFW honor guard flag bearers led the parade. They were accompanied by Oscar Barraza on a large tricycle flying a flag. He served in Vietnam as a helicopter door gunner. They paused long enough at the Judges station for The Pledge of Allegiance and a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Christian Duran.
A parade in Winters would not be complete without a tractor. Of course it has to be the huge 8400 model made my John Deere which was loaned for the occasion by the Romingers and was driven by Educator of the Year Donnie Whitworth. His wife and three children were also on board.
These are people that I spoke with, and are just a sampling of the parade participants.
I like how happy everyone is at a parade.