The Los Banos American Legion Post 166 and the VFW Post 2487 held the seventh annual Veterans Parade in downtown Los Banos, on Saturday, November 5, 2022, the after a two- year break. The morning kicked off with the Veterans Parade Pancake Breakfast at 7:00 a.m. Veterans Memorial Hall located on E Street.
According to their website, “In 2014, the Los Banos American Legion Post 166 and the VFW Post 2487 joined together to provide a Veterans Parade. As Los Banos is a small town, it was decided to hold the parade the weekend before Veterans Day in an effort to not compete with the festivities of the larger neighboring towns. The primary purpose of our Veterans Parade is to honor all military veterans and their families. Additionally, it is to educate and inspire community awareness while paying tribute to the service and sacrifices all veterans have endured in the pursuit of freedoms. While all veterans are honored, each year the committee selects a ‘theme’ for the parade.”
This year’s theme was “Salute to the Navy.” The U.S. Navy and all veterans were celebrated beautifully this year. From the music to the smiling faces waving at the crowd, to the amazing floats, horse riders and giant, beautiful American flag that members of the Los Banos High School and Pacheco High School FFA were carrying.
There were over seventy entries according to Parade Chairperson and U.S. Air Force veteran, Patricia McCoy.
Participation from various community members and businesses included Los Banos High School, Los Banos Junior High, Our Lady of Fatima, Volta Elementary, Paul Llanez for Mayor, John Duarte for Congress, Merced County Fire and Sheriff’s Departments, Dance Explosion, “Farmer Chuck” Edler and more.
There were also various, beautiful cars in the parade, including a 1940 Lincoln that was carrying this year’s Los Banos Veterans Parade Ambassador, Marion George Santos III with his son-in-law Jeff Sousa as driver and grandsons Brody and Ford enjoying the ride.
John Cates and Los Banos School Board Trustee Anthony Parreira served as announcers this year.
Winners of the Most Patriotic School Contest in the three school categories were: Mercey Springs Elementary, Los Banos Junior High and Pacheco High.
“There are three judges for the Most Patriotic School Contest,” McCoy explained. “The judges are from the community and are usually changed each year. They are each seated separately in three different areas of the parade route to keep the integrity of the scoring process. We believe this is the best way to ensure none of the judges will be influenced by another judge sitting next to them.”
“They really had their work cut out for them this year, as all the schools did an amazing job,” she added.
Los Banos American Legion Post 166 and the VFW Post 2487 and their members would like to gratefully thank all of the sponsors, volunteers and everyone who helped make this beautiful event happen. They also have a big thank you to Larry Marques and his team from the Native Sons of the Golden West – Parlor 206 for all of their help and hard work.
And thank you to all of our Veterans! We salute you!