For The Madera Tribune
One of several floats that were featured in the 2018 Chowchilla Spring Festival. This year’s event is Saturday at 10 a.m.
The Chowchilla Spring Festival, held in conjunction with the Chowchilla Madera County Fair, will celebrate their 73rd year of festivities Saturday.
The Spring Festival began in 1946 with a parade and barbecue to welcome the community’s soldiers home from World War II.
The Articles of Incorporation were issued on March 17, 1950, by the State of California and recorded with Madera County on March 23, 1950. The first committee officers named were: Edward H. Clendennen, chairman; J. L. Green, vice chairman; Walter Haupt, treasurer; Dorothy Foster, secretary; and Clyde Quick, publicity director.
The parade and barbecue are always held on the third Saturday of May, which is Armed Forces Day.
The day starts with a parade down Robertson Boulevard at 10 a.m. People young and young at heart line Chowchilla’s main street to kick off the day’s activities. The newly crowned 2019 TommyHawk will lead the parade. The parade features bands, floats, horses, 2019 Miss Madera County, Little Miss Madera County and Festival queen candidates, classic cars, military vehicles, city, county and state dignitaries and much more. The parade awards will be announced at 3:30 p.m. in the Fairgrounds Little Theater.
Following the parade, people gather at the fairgrounds for one of the best deep-pit beef barbecues in the Valley. Each year the committee serves approximately 6,500 people in 2 1/2 hours. They prepare 9,000 pounds of meat, 1,200 pounds of beans, 1,500 pounds of salad and 600 dozen rolls. The barbecue is served from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The tickets are $10 and include the lunch plus admission to the fair until 3 p.m.
There are three young ladies running for Festival Queen. The candidate who sells the most tickets will be crowned queen. The queen coronation will be held in the Little Theater Saturday night at 6:30 p.m.
Candidates running for Festival Queen include Taylor Jensen, selling green tickets; Gabby Soliz, selling yellow tickets; and Tori Calley, selling blue tickets. The contestants and their teams will be selling tickets along the parade route and at the entrances of the Fairgrounds.
Each year the Spring Festival Committee seeks volunteers to help with the barbecue. Once again they are calling all meat wrappers to active duty. Meat wrappers are needed on Thursday evening, May 16, at 5:30 p.m. at the Bean House, located at the fairgrounds. Salad Mixers are also needed early Saturday morning, at 6 a.m. at the Bean House. For more information on how you can help, call 665-4501.
The Spring Festival Committee includes Jimmy Carr, chairman; Mike Eye, vice chairman; Mary Carr, treasurer; Kevin Pettitt, parade chairman; Paula Hansen and Rita Cornaggia, queen chairs; Stacey Miller, line chair; Susie Spomer, beef boarders chair; Chad Buttrey, Matt Lasiter, and Jerry Volkmar, committee members.