Gridley – Butte County local officials were honored in Virginia Street on Saturday as Gridley celebrated his red suspension day. Volunteers who spent hours organizing the dedication welcomed nearly 400 people with a parade, firefighter games, 25 food stands and 90 vendors.
Beginning in 1961, Recognition Day began to honor Gridley’s volunteer firefighters, said Emmy Brian Bassett. Since its creation, the day has grown into a larger event, with events including Enlo Medical Center, Butte County Search and Rescue, local paramedics, and more.
At the parade, Zach Downing from Gridley Fire Department Station 74 was honored with the Fireman of the Year award by Chamber of Commerce President Lynn Spencer. Nominations came from his supervisors and peers.
“Zach is responsible for commercial fire safety oversight and fire prevention within the City of Gridley and surrounding county areas,” Spencer said. “He is constantly challenging himself and playing a role in both the firehouse and fire line. We are proud to represent Zach’s Cal Fire-Butte County and the City of Gridley Fire Department.”
During the parade, Bobby Fontes sells T-shirts sporting a helicopter in memory of Gridley’s armed forces. Earlier, the sale of red suspenders had to be ended after the table was sold.
“We don’t really get a lot of this money.” Bobby Fontes said. “It all leads to events and activities. I mean, it’s gridly. We love our community – it’s our family.”
Dave Pearson holding up his pants with the red suspenders he bought last year. Pearson and his wife Pamela Pearson have been attending the event for the past 15 years.
“It’s nice to know that people appreciate you,” Pearson said. “But this community has always been like that, always the great support of the military and law enforcement.”
In all, 22 groups took part in the parade, ending the day with engine 637 from Conco. Across the street from the Gridley Area Chamber of Commerce, sit Biggs Mayor James “Bo” Shepard, campfire survivor and now Gridley resident Jessica Flatt, and longtime Gridley resident Mike McMillan, who judged the floats for overall look and creativity.
The Gridley High School Marching Band took first place for the parade, with Sycamore Middle School in second place and Zebra Preschool from Seb in third place.