Williams celebrates pioneers of agriculture

Veterans march in the 2019 Pioneer Day celebration.

The sun shone bright on Williams on Saturday for those celebrating Pioneer Day. The theme, “Ag Through the Ages” was observed by locals riding in pickup trucks or tractors pulling floats with people sitting on hay bales.

Saturday marked the 48th Pioneer Day in Williams.

Pioneer Day is celebrated across the United States to recognize the pioneer heritage shared by so many residents. 

The parade was led by Veteran of Foreign Wars Post No. 2441, who marched ahead of fire engines that blazed the trail and ushered in honored World War II veteran, Don Manor. 

Bill Donnelly drove a cherry red Mercedes-Benz convertible escorting his mother, Williams Pioneer Day Grand Marshal Betty Koch, 97. Koch waved at the people and judges as she passed by, kicking off the day’s festivities. 

First time parade chairman, Pat Ash, confirmed that this year had more participants than last year.

First place went to the Los Plumas/Oroville Alliance Band. The volunteers of Citizens for a Better Williams facilitated the young musicians with their Manhattan dreams. How do they get to Carnegie Hall? They started at the Sacramento Valley Museum, before heading east on E St., and then practiced, practiced, practiced in Redinger Park.

Second place went to Glenn Colusa Cattlewomen and Cattlemen, who won over the judges with a whimsical cattle drive and barrel train driven by Jerry Maltby.

Third place went to Williams Cheerleaders, who played to the gallery with their routine. 

Following the parade, Redinger park was lined with various vendors such as Cal Fire with freebies for the kids. A Jr. Bears Football clinic representative was accepting signups (no need to be a resident of Arbuckle). Indivisible Colusa provided ‘Trump Survival Kits’ that contained ear plugs, stress ball, and other lighthearted items. Bingo was enjoyed in addition to face painting. 

People were serenaded by the Alliance Band as they feasted on 300 to 400 free hot dogs, which were served by staff of Morning Star. Juan Luna grilled up the hotdogs and meat for tacos, Luna has worked at the tomato processing plant for 10 years and said he enjoys working for the company. 

On the other side of the park, people benefited from a clashing of chefs participating in a heated competition for Karen’s House.

Tootie Hackett started setting up at 5 AM that morning to prepare for the cook-off, before marching in the parade, only to come back to Redinger park to feed the masses. 

Undoubtedly her experience as kitchen manager at Granzella’s helped her to keep things running smoothly. Judges were picked at random and were compensated for their work with free beer and of course, ribs. The contest submissions were graded on taste and appearance. Results of the rib cook-off were “We did pretty good, took in $5,000, some donations” with more promised donations to be added soon. First place was awarded to Jim Saso’s team, “2nQue”, “Bro Brothers” took second place with “Big O and Mo” winning third place.

In the evening, residents found a spot to enjoy the fireworks that were set off east of the freeway. The skies echoed back with lightning, bringing the festivities to an awe-inspiring end. ■