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Cinco de Mayo alive at Shafter festival

The Shafter Cinco de Mayo Festival was held on Saturday, complete with a parade downtown and a slew of activities at Mannel Park following the parade. The parade was led by this year's Grand Marshal, Diana Burnett, who retired this past year as the highest-ranking female officer in the department's history, retiring as the assistant chief of police.

Burnett was followed by the Minter Field Air Museum's entry, which included their Follow-Me Yellow Jeep and their Vietnam-era LOACH helicopter.

The event included a great variety of classic cars, which bounced and bopped to the music that was playing, using hydraulics to entertain the crowd.

Of course, there were bands at the event, with the Shafter High Marching Band and the Richland Trojan Band also making an appearance. Both squads had their musicians, as well as full color guard and drill teams performing as well.

The Shafter Little League made its debut in the parade, walking down the street in celebration of their inaugural year. The group was created to give the youth of Shafter a competitive baseball experience, teaching them fundamentals, as well as giving them experience in competing in real-game situations, making it possible for them to prepare for baseball teams as they go up into junior high and high school.

Organizations on hand were the Walker Senior Center, who had their members dressed up in their Cinco de Mayo best as they danced down the street. Mike Ayon and his Shafter Boxing Club members were in the parade, giving boxing exhibitions as they went, showing the community the reason why they have put Shafter on the boxing world map, with over six national championships, along with numerous state and regional titles.

After the parade, the action moved to Mannel Park, where there were over 80 vendors on hand, selling food, clothing, jewelry, snacks and drinks, as well as someone airbrushing tattoos and community organizations giving out information on their services.

Several musical entertainers were there, including a couple of mariachi bands, as well as popular local band The Midnighters, who entertained the crowd with a mix of classic rock and Tejano music. There was also a number of dance performers, including the Ballet Folklorico teams from the Richland School District, led by Brandi Root.

Several of the classic cars and off-road vehicles that were in the parade were also on display at the park, giving the public a chance to see the vehicles up close.


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