By Ken Martin

UNDERSTANDING: Periodically, to protect everyone involved, I need to put out disclaimer. So here it is:

I don’t “work” for the Castro Valley Forum. I am not a “reporter” for the Castro Valley Forum. I do not receive any kind of compensation, monetary or otherwise, from the Castro Valley Forum. I am an unaffiliated freelance writer who donates this column to the Castro Valley Forum free of charge. The words, grammar, punctuation, style, opinions, and views are solely my own and may or may not agree with those of the Castro Valley Forum or the readers. The fact that they print my writings does not mean that they are in any way responsible for what is contained therein. If any criticism, positive or negative, is to be made of any aspect of this column, it should be directed only to me and not to the offices, editor, or staff of the Castro Valley Forum.

That being said, let’s get on to something more fun!

EVERYBODY LOVES A PARADE: I have several criteria by which I judge how great a place any given community is to live in. One of  those is this: Any community that will close off the main street for a parade has to be a great place.

I have participated in the Rotary Rowell Ranch Rodeo Parade (try saying that three times fast!) three times now and have been a spectator for more times than that. I guess that qualifies me to give some observations on that great annual event.

Whether you are in the parade or watching it, the parade is fun! If you’re in it, as you move along the route, you see people you recognize on the curb and you shout and wave in recognition. If you are in the crowd watching and see someone you recognize in the parade, you shout and wave in recognition. Everyone smiles! What makes the parade fun is that everyone, spectator and participant alike, gets to have some small part in it. And the fact that most of the entries are home-grown just augments all that and makes it a true community event.

I lived in Hayward in the late 1930’s. I still remember the Hayward Rodeo (as it was called then) and its attendant events including the parade, which went right down “B” Street. It seemed like the whole town was involved. Any man that showed up in the downtown area without a beard was thrown in the “Hoosegow” and had to go before a “Kangaroo Court” and was fined. I still have my father’s pilot’s license from that era and he was photographed with a beard and a bandana around his neck, both items in place for the rodeo hoopla.

The Castro Valley Rotary certainly deserves a large vote of thanks for preserving this great local institution. Kudos go to the volunteer Rotary people that plan, execute, and stage this huge undertaking. To paraphrase a popular PBS TV program (with apologies to Huell Hauser), “This is a fine example of Castro Valley’s gold.”