WARDEN — Five-year-old Juan Vela Jr. sat on the curb with his head down after the Warden Community Days parade Monday morning. The young boy had arrived at the parade too late and missed out on a lot of free candy. As people were leaving the parade, much to Juan’s surprise, a passerby put a grocery bag full of candy in his lap and simply walked away without saying a word or glancing back to see the boy’s bewildered reaction.
“Mom! Did you see that? Look!” Juan excitedly told his mom. “I guess it didn’t matter that we got here late after all.”
Juan’s experience is what makes Warden Community Days a special event, as people from near and far come together and simply have a good time.
“We come here from the Tri-Cities each year. I actually grew up in Warden and remember coming to the parade each year as a kid. So it’s kind of just nostalgic for me,” Rosemary Barbarie said.
From football players, to FFA members, soccer players, lawmakers, a distinguished grand marshal and a whole lot of candy, Monday morning’s parade had a little bit of everything for everyone. The grand marshal for the parade was longtime Warden resident and current Warden city council member Darla Haworth. Haworth has lived in the city for 40 years and has been an active member in several clubs and civic organizations.
The parade itself is just a small facet of what makes Warden Community Days a special once a year event. Over in the park there was food, craft vendors, games, activities and entertainment for people to enjoy.
“First time coming here after we moved to Warden back in April. I grew up in a big city and moved here from a pretty big city, so this small town celebration sort of a thing is new to me. But I can already see that they’re a lot more of a friendly environment here. Really cool to see,” Jamie Smoot said.
Typically Warden Community Days draws about 2,500 people, which is nearly as much as the population of the little town itself. Organizers don’t have an exact headcount for this year’s event, but they said it looks like attendance is in tune with past years, thanks in part to proactive marketing and promotion of the event.