A Winters Express opinion column
In a well-known scene in the 1974 Gene Wilder movie Blazing Saddles, a hulking brute by the name of Mongo rides a 2,000-pound Brahma Bull into town. Youth Day Committee President Mike Sebastian retells a memory of the 1979 Youth Day parade when that Brahma Bull marched the streets of Winters, although without Mongo or any other rider. Mike was a teenage volunteer at that time helping to organize the parade. He said that in those days all you needed to authorize the parade was the signature of the fire chief. As the City has grown and permitting process has matured there are more approvals required.
The idea of a Youth Day was fostered in 1933 to teach youth about the aspects of City Government. A week was selected to have students spend time with local officials. That custom is still in practice and students have the opportunity to ride in the parade with their designated official. You can learn more about the founding and early history of Youth Day by visiting wintersyouthday.com
There are many newcomers to Winters in the last few years who may not be familiar with the activities on Youth Day. The Duck Derby kicks off the festivities at 6 p.m. Friday evening preceding the main events on Saturday, April 30. You may participate by purchasing a duck and entering it in a flotilla down Putah Creek. There are cash awards to the winners of the race.
On Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. the Rotary Club of Winters sponsors a pancake breakfast held at the Community Center. They shut down the breakfast before the Kiddie Parade, which begins at 9:45 a.m. Children dress up and decorate their tricycles and wagons and become participants in the parade.
Following the Kiddie Parade, the main parade marches through downtown beginning on West Main Street. There you will see the honor guard, marching bands, fire trucks, prancing horses, restored automobiles, dancers from various ethnic backgrounds, the Shriners go-carts, floats depicting the Youth Day Theme and much more. According to Mike Sebastian, Youth Day Committee President, there were 50 entries last year. One year they had 140 entries, the most ever. Entry forms for all of these events are available at City Hall or by contacting Mike at email@example.com.
Activities for young children are to be set up on the Little League Baseball Diamond adjacent to Winters Park at Main and Fourth Streets. Planned programs, vendor and display booths and food booths are to be set up at the Park. Delany Holden is the coordinator of all events at Winters City Park — which reduces the workload of the Youth Day Committee — however, more volunteers are needed to serve on the committee and assist with the coordination of the Duck Derby and parades. Mike says, “It will take about 30 volunteers.”
If you would like to volunteer, contact Mike Sebastian. Anyone who would like to help out in any way is invited to attend a planning meeting on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. at Round Table Pizza.
Mike emphasizes that we can’t move forward without a theme for Youth Day and the deadline to submit a theme is Feb. 1. There is a $100 prize for the winning theme.
Youth Day is my favorite outing of the year. I would never miss out on going to the parade.
I could buy a lot of doggy treats with $100. How about these themes: “Treat a dog right, he won’t bite” or “A happy puppy is a happy home.”