Western heritage on display for annual weekend

Los Alamos celebrates ‘Old Days’

Olga Reed School students and faculty won the award for best youth group in the parade. Photo by Raiza Giorgi

SYV Star Staff Report

The “Greatest Little Small Town Parade” on Sunday, Sept. 24, featured more than 350 participants in 37 entries from around the region during the 71st annual Los Alamos Valley Old Days celebration.

The parade and other weekend festivities attracted an estimated 3,000 people to Los Alamos, according to organizers.

“I love the horses and eating candy,” said Sasha Burnett, 4, of Santa Ynez, who attended the parade with her parents, Rory and Nicole.

Old Days is sponsored, coordinated and hosted by members of the Los Alamos Valley Men’s Club (LAVMC), a nonprofit group of men, women and families that is dedicated to preserving the town’s unique Western character and hospitality.

The club provides scholarships and funding to local students and other nonprofit organizations, as well as offering its facilities to rent for private events.  LAVMC is supported by tax-deductible donations from individuals, families and businesses.

The grand marshal of this year’s parade was Los Alamos resident and community volunteer Jim McCullar, affectionately known around town as Big Pops, Papa or Jimbo. Since moving to Los Alamos in 1994, he has tirelessly volunteered with LAVMC, serving on many committees and now in his second term as a board member.

He has been seen decorating the town with pumpkins, setting up luminaries, assisting with sandbag placements during wet months, removing graffiti and doing maintenance for the LAVMC clubhouse at 429 Leslie Street.

He is employed as a property manager by area businessman Dan Thompson.

The parade coordinator was Los Alamos resident Mary Anne Christensen. The parade began with the singing of the national anthem by Ilysia Pierce, a professional singer who serves as cantor at Temple of the Arts of Beverly Hills and performs in concerts, musicals and theater. She is part of long-time LAVMC volunteer Mary Caldera’s extended family.

Winners of parade awards were:

– Best Overall Entry: LOLA (Ladies of Los Alamos) Social Group

n Best Theme Oriented: Brigette Lopez, Queen of the Black & White Ball, sponsored by the Mexican Ladies Social Club of Santa Maria

– Best Float: Righetti High School Future Farmers of America Club

– Best Equestrian Entry: Santa Maria Elks Outriders & Historic Officers Wagon

– Best Vehicle Entry: Boots-N-Chutes All Airborne Association 1942 World War II military Jeep

– Best Musical Entry: Righetti High School Warrior Band

– Best Performance Group: Los Tequileros

– Best Youth Group: “Once a Bronco, Always a Bronco,” Olga Reed School students and faculty

– Best Tractor: 1925 John Deere, Jim Martin of Lompoc

For more information, visit www.LosAlamosValleyOldDays.com.