While the sun made only a cameo appearance at Monday’s Box Car Days Parade, at least everyone stayed dry — something no one could say a year ago
By Per Peterson
There was a strange sighting in the sky about 1:45 p.m. during Monday’s 92nd Annual Box Car Days Parade. Curious spectators were not sure what to make of it, and even though the phenomenon lasted only a few minutes, it grabbed everyone’s attention.
Rumors were confirmed later Monday that the object everyone was talking about was indeed the sun.
A year after being robbed of the grand parade, residents from far and wide lined the streets of Tracy to enjoy one of the largest parades in the region.
“I think it was Mother Nature redeeming herself after last year,” said Tracy Area Chamber of Commerce Director Lexi Erickson. “People were devastated (last year), including myself and I wasn’t even the Chamber director yet. I remember seeing the cops coming around the corner and I was heartbroken. The parade is my favorite part. I was a little nervous today when someone sent me the forecast and it looked like it could’ve rained, but it ended up being perfect. The sun came out during the parade and it was overcast after.”
She’s not alone. All the streets along the parade route — which began on Rowland this year and ended by Park Place — were lined with the young and old alike and everyone appreciated the fact that nothing fell from the sky this year.
Gary Johns went to the trouble a year ago to have a sign made to honor the late Art Marben, a long-time, beloved educator in the Tracy School District. The deluge prevented Johns from doing so, but no worries, he just did it this year.
“I made the sign special for the parade last year,” Johns said. “I was disappointed, so then I decided to honor him this year.”
Long-time Box Car Days volunteer George Hebig, who not-so-officially retired from his event organizational duties after the 90th — shared his thoughts about last year’s rain event prior to the start of this year’s parade.
“When it started, we couldn’t even get on cell phones, we couldn’t get on radar, and then Jason (Lichty) finally got on and it showed rain for an hour, and we’re already drenched,” Hebig recalls. “Here it’s 1 o’clock and we’re soaking wet. It rained until about 3, then it stopped, then it came back.”
More than 3 inches fell in less than two hours.
“It was dark, but we thought it was going to stay south of us,” Hebig said. “We were watching, watching … then all of a sudden, ‘Nope, we’re done.’ It was a tough call though.”
See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article and Box Car Days.