People take a chance when they write about the old days. Chances are we will make a mistake, or two or three.
Last week I wrote about the first Carrot Carnival in 1948. My friend Barbara Harrison called to remind me we entered Holtville High School as freshmen in 1948, but we didn’t participate in the parade as part of the freshman class until 1949. I was off by a year. Still, we did win first place for Class Floats in 1949.
My other phone call was from my longtime buddy Wanda. She said her husband, Ralph Allegranza, won the 1949 silver Studebaker convertible the Holtville Chamber raffled off to raise money for the first Carrot Carnival. Five thousand $1 tickets were sold.
Ralph drove the convertible in the first Carrot Carnival parade. They kept the car until they had their first child. Ralph said they needed to get a “family car,” and they did, a green Studebaker.
It was fun going through more old Carrot Carnival programs. The 1968 carnival featured a fiddlers’ contest, pie-eating contest, puppet shows, magic show, talent quest and karate exhibition. At the American Legion Hall a square dance followed the fiddlers’ contest. The Royals of Calipatria played for the Carnival Ball held at the Swiss Club. There was a Coin-O-Rama at the old bank building for two days, and a horse show, treasure hunt and golf tournament among other activities.
Stan Pendley was Carrot Carnival general chairman. That year the California Angels played the San Francisco Giants at the Angels’ four-diamond baseball training complex in Holtville. Up to 5,000 people were expected to watch the Carrot Carnival Drag Races, and the Porsche Car Club was having six to eight rallies at the Holtville Airfield that year.
Ricky Santistevan, was Holtville’s mayor in 1978. The carnival theme was “The Farmer in the Vale.” All the floats and school groups focused on the theme to salute farmers in the community. Santistevan quoted Daniel Webster who said: “Let us never forget that the cultivation of the earth is the most important labor of man.”
John Hinshaw was president of the Holtville Chamber in 1978. In a brief story he wrote that Holtville was a one-bank town, but one with more than $40 million in deposits. We had only one dentist (but a good one) and a dependable, experienced doctor, and many willing volunteers. We had 12 churches, “most of which are doing well in meeting the spiritual needs of our people.” The city also had 12 vegetable growers and shippers.
Margaret Fusi, president of the Holtville Chamber, welcomed folks to the 1988 Carrot Festival. A native of Holtville, and a life-long resident, Margaret was proud to tell people she comes “from a city where we have warm days, cool nights, bright blue skies and marvelous sunrises and sunsets.”
Lagina Buscaglia, Margaret’s granddaughter, was the 1988 Carrot Festival queen. In November of that year she was chosen Holtville High School homecoming queen.
Faye Rawles was named citizen of the year 1987–1988. Mrs. Rawles involved herself in youth horse shows, gymkhanas, parade entries and helped to build the summer horse camp for 4-H horse project members. She rode as a member of both the Barbara Worth Brigadettes and the Galloping Gossips, and performed in many parades and rodeos.
Over the years I have had the pleasure of writing about and tasting many of the carrot recipes. Some of my favorite dishes were “Carrot Chutney,” entered by Pauline McConnell; “Carrot Pecan Pie,” entered by Bea Storey in the Senior/Snowbird Division; “Carrot Marmalade” entered by Mrs. William Rubidoux; “Carrot Flan,” entered by Mrs. J.T. Poore; and anything baked or cooked by my dear friend, the late Jean Rubin, who loved these contests as judge and participant and always shared her dishes with me.
Huge thanks go to former Holtville Tribune publishers Quentin and Ellen Burke, who researched, wrote and took most of the photos for these wonderful souvenir booklets.
Concerned about a current issue? Want to share your point of view? We want to hear from you. Send a letter to the Editor. Click here!