Remembering the Very First Sagebrush Days

On April 27 the town of San Miguel invites everyone to join in celebrating its first major event of the year — the 28th annual Sagebrush Days Parade and Peddlers’ Faire. It’s a day of fun and festivity when downtown Mission Street rocks! The Peddlers’ Faire opens at 8 a.m. and includes wonderful hand-made items for sale until 3:30 p.m. The Lion’s Club serves a great barbecue lunch and the Native Sons and the Native Daughters of the Golden West offer ice cream treats for dessert. The Sagebrush 5K Run starts at 9 a.m., winding through town up to the school and back. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m.
The main event — the parade — steps off at 11 a.m. going south from 13th and Mission Streets, around Fr. Reginald Park and back again. You get to see both sides of the horse! The parade had its beginning in 1990 when long-time San Miguel resident Allen Belden organized a large, enthusiastic group to plan a parade for San Miguel which would celebrate the long history of the town. That first parade was held on April 27, 1991. Afterward, reporter Bill Dellard wrote an account of the first Sagebrush Days in the Paso Robles Daily Press. As I read his story it brought back memories of many wonderful people in San Miguel that we knew when we were growing up. The chosen day was Saturday, April 27, 1991; the site was Mission Street in downtown San Miguel. A Color Guard from Camp Roberts led the Parade. The Grand Marshal was Ernest Konecamp, 102, who rode in a beautiful antique buggy that had been in his family since before they moved to the Bee Rock area in the 1870s. There were 37 entries. Judges were Maggie Vandergon (who still drives her antique car in local parades), Rose Eyler Ripel, Elaine Rogers, Jeanne Miller and Lester Rougeot. The San Miguel Senior Citizens float took first place. First Place awards went to Bob Loughlin’s 1931 Model A Ford, the San Miguel Wild Bunch mounted group, adult cowboy Forest Schmidt and Jules Delwiche’s horse-drawn vehicle. Camp Roberts brought several military vehicles. Following the parade, everyone enjoyed a barbecue in the park.