Attendance at the return of the Ceres Street Faire Parade was noticeably affected by the threat of rain but the skies became forgiving as Saturday rolled on with impressive turnout at the annual Ceres Street Faire in downtown Ceres.
"The Street Faire was a tremendous success," commented Lisa Mantarro Moore, a member of the Street Faire Committee. "The return of the parade was fantastic. In spite of the unpredictable weather, we had a very successful Street Faire."
The 10 a.m. parade, themed "Back to the Future" and organized by Angie Smith and Helen Condit, started out with light drizzle which failed to deter a single of the approximately 80 entries.
Congressman Jeff Denham walked the parade route, handing out aluminum can insulator sleeves emblazoned with his campaign logo.
"This is fun, this is a great parade," said Denham. "I like getting out talking to people. It's like walking precincts. You really find out what's on people's minds. Believe me, they let you know if they're mad about something." Water was the top issue, he mentioned.
A fully-restored 1892 Studebaker exhibition hitch wagon pulled by Cal Crush Clydesdale horses carried grand marshals Rocky Fisher, Rev. Adrian Condit and Dick McKay. Biographies of the three community servants - who all at one time were named Citizens of the Year - were read by parade emcee Jim Wells, AKA Jungle Jim on a local radio station, at the judge's stand in front of the Richland Shopping Center.
Other parade entries included the Disabled American Veterans Chapter #26 of Modesto, Fire Chief Bryan Nicholes, Police Chief Brent Smith, two Shriner's mini tin lizzies brought by members of the Aahmes Shrine chapter, the Don Pedro Mighty Dolphins students who performed a dance routine, female Disney characters from Princess Party Fun, Ceres SWAT team, police canine Dex with Officer Coey Henson, women working out on the Ceres Curves float, Ascot the mascot of Stanislaus Animal Services Agency, the Ceres Cowboys with a large football helmet, the Children's Crisis Center and Ceres City Council.
Political entries in the parade include Supervisor Jim DeMartini on his rare 1921 DeMartini truck made in San Francisco, only one of seven that exist today. His challengers, Luis Molina, the mayor of Patterson and Eileen Wyatt Stokman also rode in the parade. Robert Hodges, an opponent of Denham's in this year's election, also rode in the parade.
"It was great to see the parade back in action," said Mayor Chris Vierra. "I'm looking forward to it getting bigger and bigger every year."
Linda Ryno, a member of the City Council, attended the Street Faire both days and observed a "pretty good turnout." Councilman Ken Lane, who worked at Lions Club food booths, thought Sunday attendance was down a bit from prior years, probably because of Mother's Day occurring on the same day.
Moore said that the committee worked to add more vendors - 97 in all - as well as new attraction like a Ferris Wheel to the Faire, which is a combined effort of the Ceres Chamber of Commerce and the Ceres Lions Club.
While commercial and arts and crafts vendors peddled their wares at the Street Faire - mostly on Fourth Street - non-profit organizations reported brisk sales of food and snacks to bolster their coffers. Ceres Lions Club members were barbecuing tri-tip beef for sandwiches and close by Ceres firefighters were frying corned dogs.
"We sold all of our sandwiches, about 1,200 pounds and about 2,000 sandwiches," reported Lane.
The cooler weather put a dent in Lions Club beer sales. Last year the club sold 23 kegs and this year 17 kegs.
On North Street, in the shadow of the Ferris Wheel - new to this year's list of carnival type rides - members of Ceres Youth Soccer Organization were busy taking about 1,000 sign-ups of children to play soccer when the league starts in August.
In a booth on North Street, Ceres Women's Club members sold a table full of home-baked cookies. Proceeds go to support high school scholarships, Howard Training Center, the Salvation Army, Pennies for Pines, the Modesto Union Gospel Mission and the Redwood Center in Modesto. The club was founded in 1926.
A number of entertainment acts were featured both at Whitmore Park and at the Fourth Street stage. Steps Dance Arts Studio was among the groups offering local talent, including a Saturday dance routine to Disney music classics from "Beauty & The Beast."
The CUSD Foundation held its ninth annual Raffle Fundraiser during the Saturday activities. Proceeds from ticket donations support activities at Ceres schools and provide supplemental instructional support for Ceres teachers. Four $500 cash prizes and five prize packages valued at $500 were raffled off. The four $500 cash prizes donated by Bank of the West were won by Ed Garcia, Judy and Harland Smith, Darren Smith, all of Modesto, and Paulette Mink of Orosi.
The winner of a $500 merchandise gift card donated by United Inspection was Theresa Lopez of Turlock, who purchased the winning ticket from her great grandson who attends Virginia Parks Elementary School.
Dolores Chavez of Modesto won the $500 grocery package donated by Cost Less Foods. This package contained $500 of grocery certificates and a variety of food items. Her ticket was purchased from an Adkison Elementary student.
The $500 entertainment package donated by Black Oak Casino was won by Amy Browning who bought her ticket from her Lucas Elementary School daughter. The package included meal vouchers, hotel stay and $50 in slot play, as well as a gift bag filled with merchandise from Black Oak Casino.
A $500 fuel package donated by Ceres Lions Club was won by Marylu Gutierrez of Modesto on a winning ticket sold by her daughter, a Virginia Parks Elementary School student.
A $500 gas grill barbeque donated by Lowe's of Modesto was won by Jeff Mack of Hilmar. His winning ticket was purchased at the CUSD Foundation booth at the Ceres Street Faire.
The bonus prize, a huge brown grizzly bear, donated by Bank of the West was won by Iris Guzman of Modesto.
Participating in the drawing of the winning tickets were local business and education representatives: Dave McConnell CUSD Foundation Board Member. Dave was the founding community member of the CUSD Foundation. Also on hand were Michele Parish, Learning Director at Central Valley High School; Ken Lane, City Council Member; Chad Adams, Ceres Lions Club member; and Lori Mariani, principal of La Rosa Elementary School. Elementary students excitedly pulling winning tickets for the raffle were Isabella Cassio, Cassie Osborn, Lilly Cassio, and Emily Mariani.
Attracting a lot of attention were entries into the Saturday only Car Show where Adolf and Diana Mauksch's 1940 Custom Chevy won the Grand Champion award. Alisa Guzman's 1969 Chevy Camaro took the People's Choice award. The City Council Award was given to Gary and Eileen Castillo for their 1968 Ford Mustang. The Fire Chief's Award was given to Tim Orr for his 1927 Dodge Coupe. The 1957 Chevy Bel-Air owned by Bud and Joanne Nielson garnered the Mayor's Choice. Joe Rose's 1930 Ford Model A pickup earned the Police Chief's Choice Award. The Elvis' Award went to Bob Moss and his 1931 Ford Coupe. John and Peggy Kearney's 1950 Ford Woody won the Most Unique award. Rocky Bentley's 1947 Chevrolet half-ton pickup was awarded Best in Show Truck. Best in Show Car award went to Bob and Vivian Eisen's 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe. John Vega's1967 Chevelle was given the Competitor's Award.
Moore said there are a number of commemorative T-shirts still available with this year's logo for sale at Embroidery Plus on Fourth Street.