Hundreds of community members gathered downtown on the Fourth of July to join the festivities in Turlock, which included a morning parade, a car show, and a fireworks show at the Fairgrounds later in the evening.
Crowds of people lined the streets of downtown at 10am that morning, many of which adorned patriotic apparel of red, white and blue while waving tiny American flags. The parade, which started on Main St., turned down Broadway and ended at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds where the 2012 Fenders and Fireworks 4th of July Car Show took place directly after.
According to Sharon Silva, President and CEO of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber and CVB assisted with $10,000 in donations to the Fireworks, the Patriotic Parade and the car show.
The Patriotic Parade had approximately 80 entries this year, as opposed to the 120 in last year’s parade. Al Seaton, an organizer of the event, attributed this to the holiday falling on a Wednesday this year.
“For the last 3 or 4 years, we’ve done it on a Saturday or the Independence Weekend,” stated Seaton. “This year, because of the strength of what we had to offer as an all-day event, we decided that the Fourth of July should be actually celebrated on the Fourth of July.”
Downtown Main Street business owner Jen Kubala, who operates Ritzy Ragz, was not happy about the changes that moved the all day event usually held on Main Street to the Stanislaus Fairgrounds.
"The 4th of July event was an all day event that brought thousands to downtown,” stated kubala. “That in turn meant huge revenues for the retail shops and the restaurants that day.”
Kubala went on to say that sales were very low for her store this year and imagined other downtown businesses’ sales were low as well.
As for feedback on the parade, some attendees felt the parade could have lasted longer. Kim Whiteside, a resident of Modesto who has been coming to Turlock’s Independence Day Parade the last few years, expressed that this year’s parade was not as up to par compared to previous years.
“I was disappointed that I just didn’t go to the Modesto parade,” stated Whiteside.
Other attendees, such as Turlock resident and CSU Stanislaus graduate Meredith Andre, believed that the parade held a special meaning of what it means to be a community.
“It’s great to have an excuse like the parade to spend some extra time downtown and run into friends and family from Turlock and surrounding communities,” stated Andre. “I think parades like Wednesday’s remind the community that we have a great downtown area with a mix of old staples and new places to try. It seemed like there were a lot of young families out enjoying the holiday and the parade.”
Seaton, however, stated that although the parade could have been a little longer, the important thing was that everything went smoothly, and the people seemed to be enjoying it.
“The parade was excellent, start to finish as expected,” stated Seaton. “It could’ve been longer, but it was kind of hard to get a lot of entries, such as a marching band to play, in the middle of the week.”
“We had a lot of entries still, and a lot of interesting entries,” said Seaton. “And many of the entries had been in these parades before.”
Three awards were given out to parade participants, including Best Community Entry, awarded to Westside Ministries which had approximately six different parts to their entry with a total of nearly 70 community members; Most Creative Entry, awarded to Joe Fagundes’ ‘Horse Car’; and the Best Fourth of July Themed Entry, awarded to the Girl Scouts, Brownies, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, who rode by spectators in red white and blue on their bicycles.
After the parade, the car show at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds had many entries show up along with vendors. Besides the confusion that it was $5 to get in but free to get into the fireworks later, people seemed to have enjoyed it.
The fireworks show at the end of the night have received many positives reviews around town and on facebook.
Seaton also attributed the success of the all-day event to the collaboration of efforts from various organizations and community members, such as Graffiti Classics and Rick Wallenburg, Richard Kline, the City of Turlock, the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, the Fairgrounds and CEO Chris Borovansky, and many others who helped to make sure that everyone enjoyed a fun-filled holiday.
“We had all of this going on right here in Turlock,” explained Seaton. “Why travel anywhere else?”