Consider it a celebration 150 years in the making.
In other words, it’s going to be big.
The members of the Oakdale Enrichment Society, OES, are planning a huge birthday bash – recognizing not only the 150th birthday for the City of Oakdale but also working in a July 4 celebration as well.
The event is being planned in late June, kicking off with some activities on Thursday, June 24 and running through Sunday, June 27. The main attraction will be Saturday, June 26 – a day that will include a parade, tractor pull, live music, kids activities, food and a live professional fireworks show at dark.
Members of the OES include President Amy Velasco, Vice President Cherilyn Bairos, Secretary Lisa Ballard and Treasurer Lupe Aguilera.
“Our beloved town of Oakdale turns 150 in 2021, and we want to celebrate with a bang … literally,” the OES members noted in an announcement highlighting the upcoming event. “Combining the celebration of this huge milestone, along with the Fourth of July holiday, our event promises to be one of the best around.”
Activities in the days surrounding the main Saturday celebration are still being finalized, though there are plans for a Thursday evening gathering at the Oakdale Cowboy Museum and collection of items on Friday night at the city’s Community Center for a time capsule.
June 26, Saturday, will feature a morning parade, the formal time capsule ceremony, and an afternoon and evening full of activities at the Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo Grounds.
Tractor pulls are planned in the afternoon, with live music by both Ava Grace and Valley Fire, and possibly another performer to be determined, with the fireworks extravaganza anticipated about 9 p.m.
“We’ll have about $12,000 worth of fireworks,” Bairos noted.
Also scheduled during the day at the rodeo grounds are a kids zone with games, food and beverages for purchase and the presentation of the colors by the Oakdale Saddle Club.
“To be able to celebrate 150 years of history, it’s incredible,” said Velasco. “I’m proud to be a part of it.”
The group is currently seeking sponsors to help finance the upcoming festivities.
“On our webpage, there is a sponsorship button,” Ballard said, “plus you can also find us on the OES Facebook.
The group’s website is oakdaleoes.com and sponsorships are available from the $250 to $5000 level. Donations are tax-deductible, as the group is a registered non-profit organization.
Right now, the OES members are getting the word out, able to give presentations to groups about the event and also mounting a social media campaign. The goal is to get as many people as possible to join in and help celebrate Oakdale’s 150th.
In 1971, the City had a Centennial Celebration, with a review of “The First 100 Years” done as a special supplemental issue of The Oakdale Leader.
The ‘Official Centennial Week Program’ marking the city’s founding in 1871 included festivities starting on Wednesday, May 26 and running through Sunday, May 30. City officials entered the city by stagecoach to kick off the event on May 26, with square dancing, a fashion show and a ‘Whiskerino’ contest on May 27. A barbecue and a pageant, “Story of Oakdale” hosted at the Rodeo Grounds were the highlights of Friday, May 28. The pageant was written and performed by OHS students, with special guest narrator Dave McElhatton of KCBS Radio of San Francisco.
A Centennial parade and the Rotary Club Centennial Ball were main events on Saturday with team roping, cattle penning, a flea market and fiddler’s contest on Sunday, May 30 to wrap up the 100-year party.
It’s that kind of community involvement that the current OES members want to see, especially with the chance to celebrate July 4 a little early, in conjunction with the 150th birthday party.
Ballard said the group is working in cooperation with and has support from the City of Oakdale in planning the endeavor and they want to make it one for the record books.
“Save the date,” Ballard said, smiling. “This is going to be remembered for forever and a day and we want the community there.”