By Raiza Giorgi

After 26 years of serving as the emcee for the Los Olivos Day in the Country parade and festivities, Jim Farnum is hanging up his microphone but not his love for the event.

“I have always enjoyed entertaining the crowds, and this is a truly Americana event. There aren’t many small town parades, and as far as celebrations, this is as good as it gets,” Farnum said after this year’s parade ended.

Lucky Clover 4-H was represented by horseback riders in the annual Los Olivos Day in the Country parade.

The event is a fundraiser for the Los Olivos Chamber of Commerce, formerly the Los Olivos Business Organization (LOBO). Proceeds will help underwrite beautification projects, public restrooms, community flagpole maintenance, and street maintenance.

The enjoyment on Oct. 20 began with an early-morning fun run and then the parade at 10 a.m., which the crowd enjoyed before the day’s high temperatures soared above 90 degrees.

This year’s grand marshals were Mike and Maggie Mesikep, owners of Los Olivos Dance Gallery.

A Lompoc native, Maggie Mesikep, 49, began dancing as a small child. She recalls always having a lot of energy, always tapping her feet and moving a lot. It was something her mother channeled into dance classes, starting at 5 years old.

She eventually attended UC Irvine, where she graduated with a degree in dance and an emphasis in teaching and management, knowing she wanted to own a dance school.

Mike Mesikep, who also grew up in Lompoc, laughed that his wife groomed him for the job over the years. The pair met in kindergarten but didn’t start dating until their senior year of high school. They were married shortly after college and have been together for 26 years. He is a professional photographer with a background in printing.

They have been operating Los Olivos Dance Gallery at 2948 Nojoqui Ave., Suite 6, for the last 24 years. The couple do pretty much everything at the studio, where students can take classes in ballet, jazz, tap and hip hop. Classes are offered for kids as young as 4 years old and for all ages up to adult.

The celebration also featured plenty of music, wine tasting, food booths, and a multitude of vendor booths selling everything from fresh popcorn to plants, jewelry and art.

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