Local News

Saturday, Sep 07 2013 03:56 PM

Community comes together at 'rosiest place on Earth'

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    The Wasco Rose Queen contestants participate in Saturday's annual Wasco Parade of Roses parade.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    The 2012 Wasco Rose Queen Diane Marin rode on the back of a convertible waving to the spectators during Saturday's parade in Wasco.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Many spectators wait outside of Colima's Barber Shop in Wasco for the parade to pass by Saturday morning.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Horses were a common site along Saturday's parade route in Wasco.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Kern County Fire Department, right, and law enforcement agencies along with the American flag were up front in the annual parade Saturday in Wasco.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    This spectator came early to the Wasco parade Saturday to set up in the back of this pick-up truck along the parade route for a good view of the parade.

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  7. 7 of 15

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    The Thomas Jefferson Jr. High cougar mascot made lots of friends along the parade route Saturday in Wasco.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    The Wasco Tigers Marching Band play a tune while marching in Saturday's 44th Annual Wasco Festival of Roses parade.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Sherry Skeels had her crocodile outfit on along with the other Skeels family members as part of the Peter Pan theme in the Wasco parade Saturday.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    School children ride in a school bus during the annual parade in Wasco Saturday, and wave to the spectators.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Rafael Torres, left, has fun with his brother, Mike Romero, right, and their chihuahua/poodle mix that they hadn't named yet, Saturday in Wasco during the annual Wasco Festival of Roses events.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Members of the Wasco Tigers Tae Kwon Do karate club hold several boards for black belt Alex Solorio, left, who broke them all in a matter of seconds on the parade route in front of the judges stand Saturday in Wasco.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Members of the Classic Dreams car club put on a good show Saturday along the parade route in Wasco.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    During the Festival of Roses annual parade, Federico Birrueta dazzles the crowd Saturday in Wasco with his horse. He is from Rancho Santa Rosa in Shafter.

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Maricruz Nino has fun trying to pet a horse passing by her in Barker Park after the annual Wasco Festival of Roses parade Saturday.

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BY LAURA LIERA Californian staff writer lliera@bakersfield.com

WASCO -- For Olga Ore Sanchez, the Wasco Festival of Roses means a day to celebrate her hometown.

The 35-year-old remembers when she used to sit on the curb of the sidewalk, waiting anxiously for the parade to start. Now the mom of three sees the same excitement in the eyes of her children.

"I feel very proud to be a part of this community because you don't get this type of bond that we have in other communities," Sanchez said.

The city of Wasco boasts that some 55 percent of all roses grown in the United States come from in and around Wasco, and so the event is also a celebration of one of the region's major industries.

The parade started promptly at 10:01 a.m. Saturday and the community cheered as law enforcement cars and trucks turned on their sirens to kick off the procession.

This year marked the 45th anniversary of the festival, with a theme of "The Rosiest Place on Earth."

Yvonne Butler, 66, has attended the festival since its beginning and woke up eager to spend the day with her grandchildren.

"It's an opportunity for the kids to see the community come together and just have a fun time celebrating Wasco," Butler said.

There were a variety of classic cars with yellow, red and orange roses decorating the sides, school marching bands and horses. Kids waved and jumped up and down frantically as they saw new floats, and ran to catch candy tossed toward them.

But Saturday was not just a day for the Wasco community to watch a parade. The tradition continued at Barker Park where people enjoyed a variety of barbecue food, Mexican food and bounce houses for the kids while adults caught up with friends they had not seen in a while.

"We never had anything like this in Los Angeles. The closest we ever got to a festival was watching the Rose Parade on TV," said 85-year-old Martin Macharro.

Macharro has lived in Wasco for 13 years with his wife, Mariaelena, and he still remembers his reaction the first time he saw the parade in Wasco.

"To see the entire community come together and just have a great time supporting their kids or friends made me happy," Macharro said. "And I haven't stopped coming since."

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