I just got through interviewing Clayton and Boots Emry, this year’s May Festival Grand Marshals. Like many people of a certain age group, and it’s a big group – it will always be May Day, not May Festival. But that’s OK, no matter what you call it with May Festival at our doorstep can the rest of the spring and summertime activities be far behind?
May Festival is less than two weeks away and promises to bring back old memories and perhaps make some new ones. It is also a chance to catch up with old friends, some of whom don’t make it home to Oroville except during this annual event – now 80-years-old.
I’m one of them those that thinks May Day and then changes it to May Festival – I supposed it was changed to encompass more than just parade day on Saturday.
Many of us can remember riding our bikes in the parade, or perhaps marching with the scout troop or skipping along as part of the May Pole Dancers. Others rode on floats or in convertibles as May Festival Royalty of all ages from kindergarten to Senior Citizen. Some have done all of the above at one time or another. The parade has something for everyone – if you get a chance to look back through some of the vintage photos of parades past it seems like May Festival has always been the time to roll out the new firetruck or ambulance, even a patrol car or two. There are horses, classic cars and floats from churches, fraternal organization and local business – if it’s anywhere near election time you’re guaranteed that a politician, often riding or walking beside a pickup truck, will show up.
Early birds fish in the bass tournament or run/walk in the fun run. Still others find the three-on-three basketball tournament the place to spend their day, trying to win top hoop honors. The young kids can enjoy some traditional kids games like three-legged and sack races put on by the Masons. And the Depot Museum will have it’s new display featuring the Okanogan Indians.
The town usually fills up with people from Oroville and the surrounding communities and there’s always a large contingent of our northern neighbors from the Canada side of the border. It’s just an all around good day.
And it’s just the start, the Run for the Border Motorcycle Ride is the following Saturday with the edition of the first annual Rally at the Border Blues Festival that same weekend. Then the first weekend in June we will will have the Tonasket Founder’s Day events including the parade and rodeo. June is also the month for the Fathers’ Day Fly-In. Molson has their Mid Summer Festival in June as well.
In July we have the Chesaw Fourth of July Rodeo and the Community Fireworks Display at Deep Bay Park which the Oroville Chamber is planning on expanding with more activities.
August starts out with the Tumbleweed International Film Festival, which will be in its third year and has become a popular event in Oroville and in Osoyoos. The Can Am Apple Cup Powerboat Races will race again in August and the month finishes out with Chesaw Hot Summer Nights.
So May Festival just marks the start of our busy event season in the northern part of the county. These events take lots of work on the behalf of volunteers to come off each summer. So this weekend and every event weekend, if you see someone you know helped to bring an event to town and all the people who come with it, take time to say thanks.