By Raiza Giorgi

Los Alamos is the smallest town in the Santa Ynez Valley, but its Western culture and community pride can match any other community’s during the annual Los Alamos Old Days festival.

Santa Maria Elks Rodeo Queen Kate Compton rides in the Los Alamos parade.

The usually quiet little town was bustling again this year at the end of September for the 72nd annual celebration.

Highlights included Friday evening’s Chili Kick-off Party and Dance, a two-day Peddlers’ Mart and Artisan Faire, Saturday’s car show and Sunday morning’s “Greatest Little Small Town Parade.”

Many people in the crowd were unaware that one of the biggest names in pop music was riding on one of the community floats. The singer Pink (Alecia Moore) sat and danced to music on the Bump Box Rock float.

Pink recently launched her own label of wine from her vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley.

The other big celebrity in the parade was Grand Marshal Mary Frances Cesco, still vibrant at 106 years old. She and her float drew loud applause and cheers from the spectators.

The celebration was sponsored by the Los Alamos Valley Men’s Club, a nonprofit organization of men, women and families dedicated to preserving the town’s unique Western character and hospitality.

The club, supported by tax-deductible donations, provides scholarships for local students and funding for organizations, and offers its facilities to rent for events.