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A glimpse into the past by Jack Story

Jack Story

Special to the Village News

I see that the annual Fallbrook Avocado Days celebration is coming up soon and it causes me to think about the community celebrations that were held here in past years.

In my lifetime, I can recall the annual Future Farmers Day Parade which I have read began in 1934, the year I was born. I have, hanging on my wall at home, a picture of me sitting on a horse all dressed up in a cowboy outfit getting ready to ride in the Future Farmers Parade in 1938. I remember this event because it was very exiting to me. I also recollect the horse I was riding was named Queen and she was given to the Duffy Girls School not long afterward, as an addition to the stable there.

The site where the Emily Duffy Girls School was located is now Valley Oaks Mobile Home Park.

The Future Farmers from Fallbrook High School provided a pit barbecue and evening dance to add to the festivities.

From 1945 to the 1960's, the Fallbrook Riders Club, assisted by other organizations in town, changed the name of the parade day to Pioneer Days and continued the parade, dance, barbecue, and added a rodeo.

I remember one year before the Riders built their field, the rodeo was held on the property where the Albertsons grocery store is presently located. In those days the participants were mainly local amateur cowboys and cowgirls.

That particular year, Maie Ellis took "super 8" movies of the rodeo, which she afterwards showed to organizations around town. One humorous segment on the film was of my father, Clarence Story, roping a calf. When he jumped off his horse to tie up the calf's legs, he remembered that he had forgotten to untie the piggin string from his saddle, so he had to run back to his horse and retrieve it. What was supposed to be done in seconds turned out to be minutes. It looked like a Charlie Chaplin movie; very embarrassing to my father, but provided a lot of laughs to those who knew him.

When I was a senior at Fallbrook High School, I formed a six-piece dance band made up of three adults, two high school friends, and me. We had a steady Saturday night job in Oak Grove. One year we provided the music for the Pioneer Days street dance. It wasn't too successful, because the dancers kept asking for Bob Wills and Hank Williams music, which we couldn't play. We played Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller songs.

After the Riders built their arena, the rodeo part of the day became professional with RCA cowboys appearing to gain points for their yearly totals.

Different things were sponsored each year to add interest. The Whiskerino Contest was one that was fun. All the men in town were encouraged to grow beards beginning a couple of months prior to Pioneer Days and awards were given out to the best ones. The ones who refused to grow beards were fined if they were caught by the "beard Sheriffs."

For nine straight years, I played in the schools' marching bands, which always participated in the parades.

If my information is correct, it has been called the Avocado Festival since 1983 and grows bigger every year. The early emphasis was all about the town and surrounding communities having a fun day among themselves. Now it is a day where the citizens in town work hard to promote widespread exposure to who we are and what we do here in the Avocado Capital of the World. The festival has great commercial value. I have lived long enough right here to be able to look back and reflect on how things change over the years. On just this little matter of Fallbrook's big celebration one day each year, I remember at first we didn't seem to care about promoting the town. We liked it just like it was. Now it seems necessary to promote enterprise to keep interest and activities alive downtown. Empty storefronts aren't a good thing. One thing is for sure. The Friendly Village atmosphere is still here. I run into individuals all the time who are just settling in, and they say, "This is it; the place I'm going to be for good."

I urge everyone to visit the Fallbrook Historical Society museum on Rocky Crest at S. Hill and spent some time reading about the history of Fallbrook. There is lots of it.

hiSTORYcally yours,



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