Oroville celebrates 76th Annual May Festival May 7 to 9

Michelle Smith, President of the May Festival Committee holds up this year's festival T-shirt, with the

Michelle Smith, President of the May Festival Committee holds up this year’s festival T-shirt, with the “Let the Good Times Roll” design by Princess Cheyanne Sharpe. Photo by Gary DeVon

OROVILLE – To many it’s still “May Day,” but Oroville’s May Festival has grown into an event that’s too big for just one day and this year in addition to all the familiar activities there will also be a street dance on Saturday night.

“We really have just about everything people have come to expect, with the exception of the arts and crafts, which just didn’t get the support this year,” said Michelle Smith, in her first year as president of the May Festival Committee.

“Ellie Braman came to the committee and asked if we could do a street dance on Saturday night, so that is new this year. It will be from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Appleway Street near the library.”

May Festival kicks off on Friday night at 7 p.m. with the Royal Coronation in Coulton Auditorium at the high school. The night honors May Festival Queen Brandy Lynne Range and Princess Cheyanne Sharpe. Following the coronation will be a lighted mini-parade through town.

Saturday morning is busy with the bass tournament at Oroville’s Deep Bay Park, the pancake breakfast at the American Legion Hall and the start of the Fun Run. The 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament put on by Oroville’s Booster Club also begins bright and early on the tennis courts. The Farmer’s Market will be in front of the public library from 9 a.m. to noon as well.

The main event on Saturday for many festival-goers has got to be the Grand Parade through downtown Oroville. It begins at 10 a.m. and people start lining up along Main Street early to watch. This year, adding a new dimension to the parade, there will be more sidewalk to park a chair on because of Oroville’s nearly completed Pedestrian Project.

Following the parade will be the May Pole Dance on the high school front lawn. The colorful dance is a May tradition in Oroville going back several generations beginning with many of the fourth-grade dancers’ great, great, great grandmothers. The awards ceremony will follow the dance.

Also in front of the high school will be the Oroville Chamber Barbecue. Money raised for the fire pit slow-cooked barbecue goes to pay for insurance for the May Festival as well as for Oroville’s participation in events throughout the region. The Oroville Chamber prepares the meat and the Oroville Fire Department is in charge of cooking it, while community volunteers serve the meal at lunchtime on Saturday.

The Masons have traditional kids games at Ben Prince Field and award prizes beginning at noon.

Planning wine tastings will be Okanogan Estate and Vineyards, Lake Crest and Copper Mountain wineries. The Cruiz-in Car Show, which attracts classic and custom cars and motorcycles, will be in the parking lot for the Shop Tavern and Subway Restaurant.

The Duck Races will be held at 2 p.m. at the Cherry Street Bridge and the Street Dance rounds out the evening.

On Sunday Esther Briques Winery plans a wine tasting starting at noon and the Golf Tournament at Oroville’s golf course begins at 1 p.m.

May Festival Committee President Smith says that planning the festival takes a good group of volunteers, which she says she has had this year and in the past when Theresa Hawkins headed up the committee. The two have been working with the festival for five years. While Smith moved up from vice president and has taken the reigns of the presidency, Hawkins is now the committee treasurer. Polly Thornton was selected as the new vice president.

“It really is a good group with each activity’s committee handling their own particular event,” said Smith, who feels the festival gets easier to organize each year.

She adds that the float committee, which has some new volunteers this year, is putting on the finishing touches to the community float.

“It’s shaped like an old classic car with a jukebox on the back. It has a spinning record with the theme ‘Let the Good Times Roll’ and May Festival 2010 on it, as well as a hood ornament that spins on front,” she said. “Erin McKinney and Shannon Smith have done a good job heading up the float committee.”

Smith said this year’s festival T-shirts are available at Sterling Bank and she has them for sale at Prince’s Foods if you get in touch with her there. The shirts feature a design by Princess Cheyanne Sharpe with this year’s theme. They are $10 for youth and small and medium adult sizes and $12 for the larger sizes. The festival button features a photo of Queen Brandy and Princess Cheyanne and can be purchased for $5 at Prince’s Customer Service, Sterling Bank, the Brown Jug and Appleway Video.

The Oroville May Festival Committee would like to remind everyone that the Parade Route along Main Street/Highway 97 will be closed to through traffic during the parade, Saturday, May 8. The parade begins at 10 a.m. and there will be detours set up for traffic wanting to pass through town until the end of the parade.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are the Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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