Almanac

Cover Story - May 5, 2010

Hundreds march in May Day parade

by Kate Daly

The town of Woodside continued its 88-year-old tradition of parading through the streets on May Day in a colorful display of homegrown pageantry on Saturday, May 1.

Hundreds of people participated in the May Day Parade on that sunny morning, and hundreds more watched, representing several generations of locals, many of them tied to the event's host, Woodside School.

The parade started at the school, and more than 40 entries rolled, rode and walked down Woodside Road toward Roberts Market, then turned around to retrace the route.

Anne Schoebel, the announcer for 12 years, as well as a Woodside School graduate and former parent at the school, observed, "This is the most people I've ever seen."

Woodside resident Betty Flood went to see her great-grandchild in the parade. Ms. Flood has been involved, either as a participant or spectator, for close to 70 years, and commented that in the past, "there were more horses," fewer vehicles, and everything was "more homemade."

This year, two motorcyclists from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office led the parade, stopping frequently to throw candy to the crowd. A convertible carried the grand marshal, Cherie van der Molen, a Woodside preschool teacher for 18 years who was wearing a crown that could have come from her students' dress-up collection.

The Royal Court of kindergartners rode in style in a 1946 fire truck restored by Woodside Fire Protection District firefighters. Several groups on horseback trailed behind, including the Mounted Patrol and San Mateo County Horsemen's Association.

Woodside riders Becky and Kip Witter decked themselves out in red, white and blue, and showed off a vintage Western saddle they said was designed by Roy Rogers.

A large draft horse pulled a carriage for NCEFT, the National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy, based in Woodside. A pony pulled another carriage to help publicize an open house on Sept. 19 at the newly restored Folger Stables on the other side of town.

The Canada 4-H clubbers added to the collection of animals, displaying a rooster, rabbits, guinea pigs and goats.

Representatives from the Woodside Town Council, Woodside School board, Woodside School PTA (the parade's sponsor), and the Woodside School Foundation rode in various vehicles.

The parade's theme, "Queen of Hearts," was related to the foundation's fundraiser, the grand auction "Wonderland" coming up at the school on May 15.

Wearing costumes, a group of eighth-graders sang and danced around a 1956 Chevy convertible owned by Woodsider E.J. Polati to help promote the class' operetta. The students will be performing "Grease" at school June 2-5.

The Woodside High School Wildcats Band played some tunes and was accompanied by baton twirlers.

In keeping with tradition, the fun-festooned Los Trancos Woods Marching Band livened things up, but with one noticeable addition — Charlie Schmidt on stilts. He went to Woodside School, is a parent there now, and hopped around in a king of hearts costume his mother and wife made, handing out fliers for getjumpingstilts.com.

Mr. Schmidt showed up again later in the school's amphitheatre, where the third-grade class did a sword and May Pole dance, and the Citizen of the Year was announced. A barbecue and carnival capped off the day.

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