May Day Fair draws in hundreds

mgaytan@losbanos May 14, 2014 

One thing was clear at the Los Banos May Day Parade: It’s a town favorite.

Nancy Contreras, 65, had a big smile on her face as she joined in with her friends in waving to horseback riders, dancers and many others in the procession down I Street on Saturday.

“Everybody looks forward to May Day in Los Banos,” said Contreras, one of hundreds of spectators lining the route.

Contreras was among many who reminisced about going from being a youngster participating in the parade to watching her children compete in the parade to now sitting on the sidelines. She noted how the parade has changed over the years.

“My mom used to put me on a buggy with a doll,” she said, “and I was only six.”

While school bands from Los Banos and surrounding communities competed with each other, local dance groups showed off their moves and members of various service groups and organizations rode atop floats.

Watching the bands compete was the main reason Merced resident Lydia Rodriguez and her family were in attendance. Rodriguez, who has been a paradegoer for three years, has a son in junior high band. Even if her son weren’t competing, she said she would still have driven from Merced for a glimpse of the event.

“The parade’s really cute,” she said.

Traci Marques brought her 4- and 5-year old granddaughters from Turlock for the first time. The little ones had their pink foldable chairs set up in the street 40 minutes before the start of the parade to get a closer look at the horses, dancers and floats.

“The kids really enjoy it,” Marques said.

As it did for the Marques family, and for others, the day concluded at the Merced County Fair.

Reporter Marina Gaytan can be reached at (209) 826-3831 ext. 6562 or

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