Preparations for the annual Wasco Rose Festival are underway, with the selection of this year's "You've Got a Friend in Wasco" theme. A long-standing tradition, the event promises to be an-other exciting lineup of activities for the community to enjoy the weekend after Labor Day, Sept. 7-9, 2023.
The Rose Festival begins with the Miss Wasco Rose Queen Pageant at the Wasco High School auditorium Thursday, Sept. 7.
The Wasco Elk Ladies will bring an Evening of Wine and Roses on Friday, Sept. 8. This night honors the grand marshals, the honorary grand marshal organization and community leaders.
The next day, festivities will include a color-blast fun run hosted by Wasco Recreation and Parks District, the Rose Parade, a vendor fair and Block and Tackle Deep Pit Dinner.
Added to the roster this year is a pancake breakfast, a fundraiser for the Wasco High Traveling Tigers and Wasco Lady Tiger/Tiger Golf.
"Bringing back popular components we all remember and adding new ones is a goal for us each year," Orange Heart Foundation President Traci Mills-Clendenen said,
A core group of five Wasco Rose Festival committee and Orange Heart Foundation members have been working to ensure the event will be memorable for all.
They are community advocates Mills-Clendenen, Juan Gallardo, Sharon Sharp, Orquidea Ocam-po and Camilo Vasquez.
Additional team members include Stephanie Mixco, Christi Johnson, and Kishna and Stephen Nored.
This year's partners include the Wasco Elk Ladies, the WHS football booster club, the Rose Queen Pageant, Traveling Tigers and WHS boys and girls golf teams.
"Our partners are essential to the growth of the festival, and giving back to the community through supporting local nonprofits is a wonderful way to honor our history and build toward the future," Mills-Clendenen said.
"Last year, we were grateful the Wasco Woman's Club helped us bring back the art show, but now the WUHSD has stepped in to oversee it through the leadership of WHS teacher Julie Pineo," Sharp said.
This year's focus will be highlighting student art available for purchase.
"The art show has traditionally featured an artist. This is a change to shift focus on student art and fostering our young talent," Sharp said.
Other partners are returning this year, such as Eddie Velasquez, who organizes the 2nd to None basketball tournament, and DJ David Armendariz.
For the first time, the Wasco Community Revival will host a free children's art station and booth at Barker Park with free fun activities for kids.
"The Wasco Rose Festival is the legacy event in our community," Sharp said. "For 54 years, it has been something special, and we strive to continue that and to grow it so that it lasts to infinity and beyond."
This year's theme, from the Disney movie Toy Story, was selected by the Miss Wasco Rose Queen Pageant.
"We are thrilled to have a theme that encompasses the community of Wasco. The goal is that no matter where you look, you will have a friend in Wasco," Sharp said.
She does what she does to keep the gift of the event alive.
"I was that little girl growing up that went to the festival, wanted to run for Rose Queen and be a part of the festival, so for me, this is just a blessing to be able to give back to my community in this way."
Volunteers are needed to pull off such a grand occasion, and Sharp encourages those to lend a hand.
"Anything we volunteer for is wonderful. This is an opportunity where in one day, you can give back to our entire community because all of Wasco attend the festival. It's a way to support all of Wasco in one day."
Other exciting announcements will be forthcoming, she said, Ticket information for Wine and Roses, the pancake breakfast and Block and Tackle Deep Pit dinner will be announced soon.
Parade and vendor applications are to be ready shortly. For any questions or to volunteer or sponsor, email [email protected].