Thousands watch annual downtown parade

This hasn’t been an ordinary Paso Robles Pioneer Day for brothers Larry and Tom Moore, who were Co-Marshals. It was only the third time in the event’s 89-year history that there were Co-Marshals — the two others were Willis and Hillis Truesdale in 1938 and James and Ronald McDonald in 1942.

“It’s been great. It’s such a humbling thing the honor they threw at Tom and I,” Larry Moore said after the parade. “Every once in a while, it’s kind of hard to swallow it all.”

The Moore brothers waved to the thousands of people that lined the Downtown Paso Robles parade route while sitting atop the rear seats of a classic powder-blue Cadillac Eldorado driven by Pioneer Day Chairman Paul Viborg.

Paso Robles Pioneer Day Co-Marshals Tom and Larry Moore wave during the Pioneer Day Parade on Saturday. It’s only the third time that Pioneer Day has had Co-Marshals.

And just behind was No. 6 in the parade “Pioneer Day Marshals Family,” a float-sized entry that held 38 family members wearing Moore family shirts and caps. The float was decorated with blown-up pictures of the Moore brothers’ younger days. Usually, the Paso Robles Pioneer Day royalty is joined by their immediate family in the car, truck or carriage they ride in during Saturday’s parade with a handful of family and friends following in a car or truck.

As is customary each year, Pioneer Day royalty opens the first half of the parade and then settles into their seats near the announcers stand between City Hall and the Paso Robles Inn. This year’s Queen was Milene Barlogio Radford and the Belle was Becca Stroud.

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Pioneer Day Queen Milene Barlogio Radford waves during the parade.

“I’ve got so much family here I haven’t been able to get around to talk to them all,” said Larry Moore. “That whole truckload those were son-in-laws, grandsons, great-grandsons and daughters, and all it was something.”

Not everyone that was related to the Moores was on the float, but they were all in the Downtown City Park for one of many Pioneer Day traditions, the free bean feed cooked by the Paso Robles Lions Club and served by the local Boy Scouts. 

The antique tractors are always a staple of the annual Pioneer Day Parade in Paso Robles.

The day is steeped in traditions from the parade, to the bean feed, to the hoosegow, to the tractor and wagon display and vintage engines at the Pioneer Museum.

The first Pioneer Day was held on Oct. 12, 1931. It was organized by community volunteers working with generous donations of time, materials and money from individuals, businesses, churches and service organizations. Their goal was to provide a day of community friendship and a commemoration of the heritage of the Paso Robles area. 

It is a day set aside to say “Thank You” to all of the people who support the business and professional community of the area throughout the year. Most businesses close so that their employees can enjoy and participate in the activities and family reunions. The whole day is free and entirely funded by the business people and dedicated citizens of the area who say: “Leave Your Pocketbook at Home.”

The Lions Club begins cooking around 5:30 a.m. the morning of the parade and feeds the town after the parade at about noon. 

This year’s parade of 112 entries had all of the usual antique tractors, floats, horse-drawn wagons and marching bands that have made it arguably one of the best parades on Central Coast.

Pioneer Day Belle Becca Stroud waves during the Paso Robles Pioneer Day Parade.

Following the bean feed, the Carolyn Sills Combo played music in the park’s Gazebo while people competed in the horseshoe throwing competition. People also visited the El Paso de Robles Historical Society building in the Downtown City Park, while others visited the Pioneer Museum on Riverside Avenue, home to many of the antique tractors that rolled in the parade, and took in the vintage engines displayed on the lawn outside.

Next door at the Paso Robles Event Center the Pioneer Day Gymkana.

This was the first Pioneer Day for John and Cathy Wilson, who moved from Phoenix, Ariz., to Paso Robles about a year ago.

“Very cool, very impressed,” said both of them nearly in unison.

“Kudos to everyone that puts this together. It’s an awesome event,” said John Wilson.

“It brings the whole community out. You can tell this is generational,” added Cathy Wilson.