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Independent Voice

Dixon’s Annual Parade Reaches 147th Year

Apr 17, 2024 04:08PM ● By Angela Underwood

Dixon residents patiently await the annual Mayfair Parade to begin, with this year marking the 147th year that locals will look forward to seeing their family and friends march. Photo courtesy of the City of Dixon

DIXON, CA (MPG) - The Golden State's oldest city-affiliated parade lineup has yet to be decided. 

According to Dixon Chamber of Commerce President Shauna Manina, participants in the 147th Annual Dixon May Fair Parade are sewing up costumes, contemplating float ideas and practicing their instruments for the city's most prized day May 11.

Manina, who is busy planning the May 11 parade, said Dixon has "something to be proud of" as the state's oldest procession.

"We were shut down during COVID, of course, but we came back strong," Manina said of the event, which she notes brings out "everything good in Dixon," from town friendliness to a classic high school marching band.

Shown is a decorated automobile in the Mayfair Parade, which awards participants for their creativity and color at the end of the procession. Photo courtesy of the City of Dixon

"Of course, our elected officials participate as well," Manina said.

The chamber president works closely with Dixon city officials, whom she commends for the parade's continued success. Public information officer Madeline Graf said that the May Fair Parade is an annual tradition for families and community members.

 "The community looks forward to this event every year and it provides a space for residents to come together and celebrate the community and all of the different groups who make Dixon so special," Graf said. "The parade entries are categorized by groups, including different community groups throughout Dixon, and we see a wide range of entries varying from local youth sports groups to car clubs and businesses."

All entrants must be decorated or costumed and relate to the Parade Theme, "Unforgettable — 147 Years of Making Memories.” Manina said she looks forward to the diversity of the group categories, including senior and junior, and the most significant entry of all, the float.

Annual demonstrations, including the karate group seen here, make up the diverse parade that represents all of Dixon's residents. Photo courtesy of the City of Dixon

May Fair Parade floats must be fully decorated to be judged on design, artistic imagination and overall workmanship. Novelty entries allow for active imaginations, with one drill team using garbage cans in their performance.

 "We have thousands of people down on the street watching it," Manina said. "It's really something that has to be experienced to be understood."

According to Manina, the parade’s military component is particularly poignant, as Dixon's proximity to Travis Air Force Base adds to the city culture.

"We start the parade with a color guard, and we have a group of active-duty military personnel from the base march in the parade, and their families are along the side or marching in the parade with them," Manina said, adding, "This year, we have the United States Army joining us for the first time."

Dancing horses, Mariachi bands and performances from Ramtown Karate and Dixon Dance Studio are just some of the groups to watch this year.

"The parade's only six blocks long, so it's fairly short but to see them performing and how thrilled they are to be a part of this community event, along with their parents beaming with pride is great," Manina said.

Many prideful parents were once participants.

"I have parents contact me about their children being banner carriers or being in the parade, and these parents are telling me they were in the parade 20, 30, 40 years ago, so it's also a generational thing," Manina said.

While the parade route might be short, the near century and half old parade tradition is long-standing.

"It's history, its roots, it's a sense of place, it's continuity that the younger generation is going to remember," Manina said.

The Pacific Coast Judges Association and the California State Horsemen's Association will judge all entries for the parade, which will move out of East C Street onto North 1st Street and head south toward the May Fair. The route will turn left onto East Chestnut and disband at Hall Park.

Due to a high volume of special requests to begin the lineup, Manina said the chamber is taking applications on a first-come, first-served basis after receipt of payment and will place entries accordingly.

For more information on how to enter the parade, call 707-678-2650 or email [email protected]