OROVILLE – Dane and Joyce Forrester are this year’s May Day Grand Marshals and their choice by the May Festival Committee is somewhat of a departure from choosing someone from the “older generation,” but well deserved.
While the couple are widely known for keeping the Community Fireworks show going, they also have strong ties to the community at large and the schools.
“Just guessing by my kids ages, I would say that we have been involved for 15 years total with the fireworks,” said Joyce.
Dane says it all began with Joy Ehlers and then was picked up as a cause by the Sons of the American Legion. After a few years, the group grew smaller and smaller until the Forresters seemed to be the only ones left to approach the community.
“In the beginning we were short of having enough money, then Jim Prince donated to help us out. We’ve had others, especially Greg James, chip in each year, but it is often a struggle to find the funds,” said Dane, who adds that many in the community have been generous.
He points to the help the event has gotten from Brian and Rebecca Sawyer the past six years as making his job easier. Brian Sawyer is the licensed pyro-technician that is responsible for making the show a spectacular each year.
The couple, especially Dane, say they are glad to be out of the fund raising part of the event now that the Oroville Chamber of Commerce has taken over.
“Now we can just go down to Deep Bay Park and help to set off the fireworks. We don’t even have to worry about getting the park ready any more,” said Dane.
In addition to the fireworks, Dane has coached junior high basketball for three years and high school softball for 10 years for Oroville. He can also often be seen running the time clock at sporting events.
“We put in two years helping with the Can Am boat races in 1988 and 1989 and we put on the Oroville May Day 3 on 3 Basketball tournament for three years under the Oroville Booster Club,” said Joyce.
For 22 years Dane worked for the family business at Dicks Furniture, as well as helping out with their orchards. The furniture store was started by his grandfather.When the store closed he concentrated on his floor covering business Forrstar Flooring and Home Supply, but now is running the apple and cherry orchards full time. The orchards were also started by his grandfather.
His parents, Richard and the late Barbara Forrester, were May Festival Grand Marshals in 2005. Like the younger Forresters, they were chosen for their contributions to the community.
“Barbara and Dane hung the Christmas decorations for the town one year. I’m not sure why that happened, but I think it had to do with the city storying them in the furniture store after it closed,” said Joyce.
Carrying on the tradition, Joyce has committed to helping change the lights on the decorations from all white poinsettias to colored bulbs.
“That project is being spearheaded by Daralyn Hollenbeck,” she adds. “I’m pretty excited about that one, it will make the town super pretty during Christmas.”
Joyce has also been deeply involved in the MS Society and she and her family were recently among the several thousand participants in the Walk MS in Seattle.
“The participants in the MS Walk walked 4.6 miles through the University of Washington down to Gasworks Park. It was the 25th anniversary of the walk this year,” she said.
They have two grown daughters, Shelby and Lacey – both Oroville High School graduates and both have served as class or club royalty during May Festival, as has their mother. Shelby was recently married and is a hair stylist on the coast. Lacey is currently at home attending Bellevue College online, but transferring to Wenatchee Valley College in the fall.
Three generations have been in the May Day Parade, Barbara was a majorette for the band, and Shelby. Both girls have been Maypole dancers.
“The year Shelby was May Princess, the Wolleys, Kellys, Carpers and Dane and I put in over 100 hours in mechanically rebuilding and refurbishing the May Day float and trailer. Another fun fact, said Joyce, was that Dane served as crown bearer for his babysitter, Lynn Dwyer, at the time she was queen in 1965.