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By Kate Daly
Special to the Almanac
Woodside rocked on Saturday, May 7, starting with an early morning May Day Fun Run and pancake breakfast, followed by more traditions: a parade, Maypole dance, barbecue and carnival, all centered near and around the school.
The theme of the 89th annual May Day Parade was Rockstar, but in reality it embraced music of all kinds as hundreds of people lined Woodside Road to watch participants walk, ride and roll by in everything from baby strollers to a two-story-tall float filled with Brownies.
The parade started at 10 a.m. in front of Woodside School with sheriff's deputies and then the grand marshals -- Woodside music teachers Kara D'Ambrosio and Beth Dameron -- waving to the crowd from an electric blue convertible on a sunny but temperate day.
Dozens of groups participated in the parade, most of them throwing candy along the route, which led to Roberts Market and back. Woodside School alum and former parent Anne Schoebel emceed the parade again this year.
Several Woodside-based groups involving horses added a hometown touch. Mounted Patrol members wore uniforms and carried flags, Woodside Vaulters showcased a handsome gray horse used in competition, and the National Center of Equine Facilitated Therapy led a miniature horse wearing a hot pink punk rocker wig.
The Royal Court, made up of kindergarteners dressed in crowns and robes, rode in an antique fire truck with an entourage of students walking behind.
The shiny red Engine 7 driven by the Woodside Fire Protection District firefighters looked brand new by comparison, whereas the Menlo Park Firemen's Association red engine carrying the Woodside High School Alumni Association members looked to be somewhere in between.
The Woodside High Marching Band played a number of tunes, with the school's top award-winning dance team performing right behind them.
More music followed when Woodside School's eighth-graders showed up in costume to sing two songs from the operetta, "Annie," that they will be putting on June 2, 3 and 4.
Eleven young girls twirled batons to taped music. Laura and Yolanda Russell, the mother/daughter team that runs the Redwood City Twirlers, say they have participated in this parade at least 19 times. Their nephew/grandson, Jeffrey Russell, played saxophone in the Woodside High Marching Band, just like his uncles did in past May Day parades.
The Los Trancos Woods Community Marching Band made its annual appearance with its usual cast of raggle-taggle colorful characters. Leader and trombone player Jim Harvey of Menlo Park said the group has paraded down Woodside Road probably 40 to 45 times.
Farther back in the lineup, the Peninsula Volunteers featured The 515 Band playing rock-and-roll music on the back of a truck.
Newcomers this year included a Rockstar energy drink truck accompanied by loud music and student dancers to help advertise the upcoming Woodside School Foundation's Grand Auction on May 21, "Rockstar." The Rockstar company is a community partner that has donated to the foundation. The same holds for Ferrari Maserati Silicon Valley, which had cars in the parade.
Jeannette Heidrich came to watch with her husband and dog. "We're local residents and we love coming to the parade, and have been for over 20 years since our children were younger."
Three generations of the Martin family of Woodside stood in one spot for the hour-long procession, clearly enjoying the other main source of entertainment -- running into a stream of old friends. Standing with her parents, husband, and 8-month-old daughter, Woodside School alum Lisa Martin Murray beamed, "We're just out to have fun outside."
Afterward, many people walked over to the school to see the third-graders perform a Maypole dance, and then stayed for food and games.