By Drew Esnard

Crowds gathered on Sunday under warm, sunny skies to eat, shop local vendor stalls, and watch the “Greatest Little Small Town Parade” at the 70th annual Los Alamos Old Days. The three day event, which kicked-off with a chili dinner and dance on Friday evening, is a held each year to honor, preserve and celebrate the town’s authentic Western heritage.

The parade’s theme was “Celebrating Our Community” and featured more than 400 participants in 41 entries from around the region. Mia Vazquez, a 26-year old native of Los Alamos began the parade with a heartfelt performance of the national anthem. Jim Gravitt, 20-year Los Alamos resident and active member of the community, honorably sported the title of 2016 Los Alamos Old Days Parade Grand Marshal

A group of seven unbiased, non-local judges declared the following Los Alamos Old Days Parade Winners: Best Theme Oriented Central Coast Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 982; Best Float Righetti High School FFA; Best Equestrian Entry Lienzo Charro’s Juan Chavez of Santa Ynez; Best Vehicle Entry 1949 FarmaLl Tractor owned by Charles Linquitl; Best Musical Entry Righetti High School Warrior Marching Band; Best Performance Group Olga Reed School Students & Faculty “Once a Bronco, Always a Bronco”; Best Overall Entry Small Farmer Andrew Wightman with his 1/3 size hay baler.

Los Alamos Old Days is sponsored, coordinated and hosted by all-volunteer members of the Los Alamos Valley Men’s Club—a philanthropic 501(C)3 not-for-profit group of men, women and families—dedicated to preserving the town’s unique Western character and hospitality.  LAVMC provides scholarships and funding to local students and other non-profit organizations, as well as offering its facilities for rent for private events.  The Club is supported by tax-deductible donations from individuals, families and businesses.