First Responders honored during Raymond parade


Wayne Raschdorf/For The Madera Tribune

Madera County Sheriff’s Foundation parade entry.

 

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, the Raymond Parade drew hundreds to the historic Madera County community Saturday, April 16. This annual celebration, its 34th, rolled into town led by a United States Marine Corps Honor Guard and followed by everything from camels to fire trucks to a ukulele band. The theme was a tribute to First Responders, many of whom joined in the Raymond festivities.


The Annual Raymond Parade, sponsored by the Raymond Community Association, started at high noon with an indomitable “Come rain or shine” mentality. The parade continued the tradition of family fun, values, and a celebration of the unique history and traditions of Eastern Madera County. Folks from all over the hill country as well as the Flatlands brought their kids and lawn chairs and settled in for a day of fun.


Activities kicked off on the grounds of the Raymond Museum. At 10 a.m., a large variety of food and craft vendors, informational booths, live entertainment, and fund-raising for the Raymond Community Association got the ball rolling. Classic rock and roll music, was provided by the highly regarded Madera County band, “Yard Dogs,” led by Brett Moglia. Food vendors this year featured Matsumoto’s Samurai, Olde Thyme Kettle Korn, J. Dogg’s, Sal’s Tacos, Mariposa Fry Bread, Pappy’s Spuds and More, and Emmie’s Sidewalk Café.


In addition, 34 local crafts and wares vendors displayed their products for sale.


Family activities were abundant at “Kid’s Korner,” sponsored by the Raymond Community Church, which included horse stick races and kid’s roping dummies, free kids’ carnival, and a fun Easter Egg Hunt. Grand Marshall Linda Cuthbert hosted a small petting zoo. The Raymond Museum was open and offered a panorama of fascinating Sierra, Yosemite, and local history while former Madera County Sheriff, 96-year-old Ed Bates, signed copies of his latest book and gave visitors a first person account of Madera County’s past.


The parade stepped-off at noon. The theme for this year’s event, “The Year of the First Responder,” was timely considering the recent year’s disasters and pandemic, and the selfless service of the military, law enforcement, fire and EMS agencies.


Parade organizers were delighted that the United States Marine Corps from Lemoore Naval Air Station presented the colors at this year’s opening ceremonies. They were followed by Grand Marshalls, Niel and Linda Cuthbert, local retired public servants of the Madera Sheriff’s Department.


Following the Grand Marshalls, a display of over twenty public safety vehicles, apparatus, and equipment from local, state, and federal agencies displayed their assets and capabilities. Then came the line of parade participants including school and youth organizations, faith based, service organizations, equestrian groups, local businesses, and elected officials.


According to Nannette Rocha-Ritchey, President of the Raymond Community Association, the highlight of the post-parade activities came at 3:00 p.m. with a silent auction and raffle which supported the Association’s goal of funding scholarships for graduating high school students and maintaining Footman Park.


Organizers of this year’s event included Rocha-Ritchey, Heather Curtis-Sloan, and Bill Ritchey.