SWEEPSTAKES It’s hard to beat a marching band in a Memorial Day Parade, and the Elsie Allen High School and Cesar Chavez Language Academy unit proved a repeat winner in the Sweepstakes category. (Photo by Rick Tang)

The 75th annual Twilight Parade went off without a hitch—a blaze of color and familiar faces flowing through town like a river of lights. Despite a pre-parade episode where an argumentative driver scared the horses while attempting to join the parade at Tucker and Fitch streets, “This is the biggest event of the year, and it went off without incident,” the Healdsburg Police Department said on Facebook.

Don’t forget the music—including a Dixieland band, pop from various decades and nations, and a one-man band on a bicycle. But there was only one marching band. Once the standard in any parade, the marching band was altogether absent until toward the end, when the Elsie Allen High School and Cesar Chavez Language Academy bands showed up, marching smartly down Center Street and up Piper behind a green-plumed drum major.

Colorful Mexican dancers
MASKED DANCERS Some of the colorful participants in Comité Pochtlán’s novelty costume entry; once again they were a winner at the 2024 Twilight Parade. (Rick Tang photo)

As it happens they not only won the Bands category, where there was little competition, but they were the overall Sweepstakes award winner as well. It was a repeat win for the big band; they took Sweepstakes last year, too.

Another strongly musical and even more visual marching unit was Comité Pochtlán, also known as Carnaval Putleco, a wildly inventive troupe of dancers from the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Wearing shaggy masks of animal fur or fabric dreads, more than 40 members danced and marched to their own beat like a procession of spirits from between dimensions.

As KQED noted in a post-parade report, “Each dancer is wearing a tiliche—an incredibly colorful and elaborate full-body suit made out of hundreds of ribbons that move in all directions as the dancer deftly skips and jumps to the rhythm of the music.”

Family on parade float
FAMILY FLOAT Eric Ziedrich and his extended family wave from the Healdsburg Lumber Co. float, winner in the Commercial category.(Rick Tang photo)

Other parade award-winners included best Commercial Float from Healdsburg Lumber Co., with Eric Ziedrich and his extended clan chillaxin’ on a flatbed; Heartizens, for Kids Non-Profit; Sonoma County Farm Bureau, for Adult Non-Profit; cars and trucks entries from Live Oak Preschool, Sonoma Strong Hauling and Junk Removal; and the junior marching unit of Ballet Folkorico.


The competition at the Healdsburg Future Farmers Country Fair, at Rec Park, proved to be no less challenging. The Cake Auction raised more than $11,600, much of it from a $3,250 bid for Ellen Johnson’s chocolate-and-vanilla cake with strawberry filling, purchased by the Rigney Family.

Summer’s Market’s peanut butter-chocolate cake drew a $725 bid from All Access Pest Control, while Ivy Munsell’s yellow-cake-with-chocolate-frosting cake went for a bargain $700, to TJ and Diana Murphy. Apparently one can’t go wrong with chocolate.

The Barrel Auction drew $3,160, with top buyer Eddie Arreguin bidding $900 for the Alexander Valley 4H entry.

Final figures for the livestock auctions and Sir Rusty Raffle, and the scholarship total for all of the fair’s earnings, will be announced soon.

Parade float with people
COWBOY COUNCIL The male side of the City Council flatbed featured, from left, Ron Edwards, Mayor David Hagele and Chris Herrod. (Photo by Rick Tang)

Previous articleRiverkeeper Head Recalls Local Icon, Activist Marty Griffin
Next articleHealdsburg Oak Tree at Community Garden, 130 Years Old, Might Be Chopped Down
Christian Kallen has called Healdsburg home for over 30 years. A former travel writer and web producer, he has worked with Microsoft, Yahoo, MSNBC and other media companies, usually in an editorial capacity. He started reporting locally in 2008, moving from Patch to the Sonoma Index-Tribune to the Kenwood Press before joining the Healdsburg Tribune in 2022.


  1. Ahh, nice to see Mayor Dave Hagele on the truck full of hay bales. Dave is from Lincoln, Nebraska like me. He no doubt, felt right at home.

    • Please sign me up for the newsletter - Yes


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here