This weekend marks the unofficial start to the summer, and it is a three-day holiday weekend for many, with Memorial Day being observed on Monday, May 29.
City, state and federal offices will be closed on Monday, along with post offices and banks. The Oakdale Leader office will be closed for the holiday as well.
And while it is the unofficial start of summer, local fire and emergency officials are warning residents of the danger awaiting them right now if they seek to cool off in the Stanislaus River.
Several river rescues have already occurred – including some half dozen people plucked out of the water near Orange Blossom over the weekend – and crews were called back to Knights Ferry at presstime on Tuesday to search for rafters reported lost along the river.
In nearby Escalon, two people had to be rescued while clinging to trees at McHenry Recreation Area on Saturday and the Jacob Myers Park area spanning Riverbank and Escalon also has seen some calls for assistance already this season.
The higher than normal rain in the Valley this winter, along with the major snowfall in the Sierras, has created the ‘perfect storm’ for dangerous, and potentially deadly, river conditions. The river is running fast and cold, creating conditions where people can potentially be swept away by the current or fall victim to hypothermia if they fall in.
Fire officials said the higher than normal flows are expected to continue until August, with ski resort operators also looking to stay open until the July 4 holiday.
All of which, said officials, makes floating or swimming in the river too risky at this time.
Meanwhile, with the weekend typically one for family gatherings and barbecues, the Oakdale VFW Post 2922 will be hosting a Memorial Day Service on Monday, May 29, open to all in the community.
Commander Dan Vigil will oversee the celebration, which will begin at 11 a.m. at the Oakdale Citizens Cemetery at 701 E. J St., Oakdale.
Charles Russell, Chaplain, will give the opening prayer. Vern Gladney (retired, Oakdale Police) will read Logan’s General Order #11.
Other speakers are scheduled to include Don Riise and Glenn Burghardt and there will be the placing of a memorial wreath honoring service and sacrifice.
Attendees gather around the flag pole in the middle of the cemetery. Seating is limited; those planning to attend are asked to bring their own folding chair if they will need to sit down.
Also, Escalon American Legion Post members will host an Honor Guard service at the Valley Home Memorial Cemetery along Lone Tree Road on Monday afternoon, that gathering scheduled at 1:30 p.m.