Old Timer’s Day parade ready to march on


Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Jon and Donna Barsotti are the 2021 Old Timers’ Day king and queen.

 

After having to cancel last year’s Old Timer’s Day parade, chairman Nick Salinas wanted to make this year’s return bigger than ever.


“Entries are looking pretty good,” Salinas said. “We’re looking at more than 50 entries. Looking at what the fair did, we’re looking forward to a big crowd in terms of attendance.”


The Old Timer’s Day Parade will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday in Downtown Madera and march down Yosemite Avenue towards Courthouse Park where there is a “Booths in the Park” event that will last until about 3 p.m.


“It’s been a long time in the making,” Salinas said. “I first took it over in 2019 and learned a lot. I found out how much I didn’t know about how much goes into doing a parade. Over the course of the past year, with everyone stuck at home, it’s good to get out. I would say this is a celebration of working through the COVID stuff. I’m very excited to have an event that the community can come together.”


Salinas, the Chief of Staff for Madera County Supervisor Robert Poythress, expects the parade to run until about noon and that will lead to the Booths in the Park event, hosted by the Madera Young Professionals, at Courthouse Park.


“They are doing pretty good and have a lot of early registration in,” Salinas said.


According to Madera Young Professionals President Erica Prado, there are more than 30 booths signed up for the event.


“The planning is going pretty good,” she said. “Our numbers felt like they were a little short, but we got so many more in the last week. I think the turnout will be just as much as before COVID.”


Prado said there will be something for everyone, including for their appetite.


“There will be jewelry, home decor, a lot of information booths from businesses, food vendors and a mixture of other items,” she said. “We will also have Johnny Dogs, Evening Lions with tri-tip sandwiches, 3 Animals Food Truck and TS Productions with a variety of everything, including tacos.”


This year’s Grand Marshal is Steve Copland and the King and Queen are John and Donna Barsotti.


In addition, Salinas has organized a five-plane (two Stearman’s, a Stearman look-alike, a T-6 and an AT-301) to begin the parade.


“We have some pretty good announcers set up,” Salinas said. “We have Ed Chacon and Tim Riche announcing at the historical library. We have the main stage, but Sally Moreno is sponsoring the stage and will also be announcing, along with Monte Pistoresi.”


There will be an awards ceremony after the parade in Courthouse Park. Trophies will be given to the top three in each category, as well as cash prizes.


Salinas wants to grow the parade in the future and even envisions it corresponding with the Madera District Fair.


“It’s my plan to move the parade back with the fair next year,” he said. “I know that used to be the way it was. I asked questions and they said that’s the way it was and the way it is. We will have more of a regional presence, as well.”


Salinas is hoping for a good turnout, especially since the weather forecast is predicted to be 87 degrees.