Frequently Asked Questions
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What is ‘Buckboard Days’?
Buckboard Days is a community celebration including a parade and festival for all the residents of Rowland Heights, surrounding communities, and schools. Parade Day begins at 7AM with a pancake breakfast on the Bell Memorial Church lot near the parade lineup, put on by the Kiwanis Club. Parade participants line up along Nogales and turn onto Colima Road, then eventually end at Rowland Heights Park on Banida Ave., where the Family Festival is held.
How and when did the annual tradition start?
Buckboard Days Parade began in 1971 as a three-day festival which was sponsored by the Rowland Heights Women’s Club to raise money for the Clubs’ charitable projects in Rowland Heights. The money was used for Scholarships for needy youth, a reading lab & books for the school district (which had been formed as Rowland Unified) as well as a push for a “real” library in Rowland Heights. Money collected from the festival was also used to provide holiday food baskets and Meals on Wheels for senior citizens, parks in Rowland Heights, annual rabies clinics, aid to Special Education students & Special Olympics.
Keep in mind, in 1971, Rowland Heights was a bedroom community, somewhat isolated, the freeway had just been completed, and there was nothing to really pull the community together. To instill a sense of pride and community spirit, it was decided to have a parade and family festival. This was the only annual community-wide event involving children and adults of all ages as well as dogs and horses.
How did Buckboard Days get its name?
As we understand it, in the very first Buckboard Days Parade, John A. Rowland IV, the great-grandson of the original founder of this area and his wife, rode at the head of the parade in their horse-drawn buckboard. He was the first grand marshal of this event.
What exactly is a Buckboard?
Back in the 1800’s when John Rowland first settled in this area, there was no such thing as cars or paved roads. People traveled over dirt roads on horseback or by wagon. Those wagons didn’t have springs or shock absorbers, so riding in them was quite bumpy. The buckboard was invented and it had springs holding the seat. Originally, the seat was just a hard board but the springs made travel more comfortable. One complaint was that the springs made the seat “buck” like a horse when it hit a bump in the road.
Yes, our history is rich in western heritage and customs. That’s why people need to be reminded about how we started as a community. From these traditions the Buckboard Parade continues as a means to teach about our Rowland Heights roots. We share with our diverse community about western tradition including buckboards, horses, western dance, and anything related to that theme. Our newer residents share with us their history as well, but we must always remember how we started and why people want to live in Rowland Heights.
What is the parade like today?
Today, the parade is a day of fun and festivities for the entire community of Rowland Heights. People line the streets to watch bands, antique cars, floats and children’s groups. After the Parade, the Buckboard Days Festival is held. The results of parade judging is announced and trophies are awarded for several categories of entries.
Who participates in the parade?
The parade is for all ages but mainly for children of Rowland Heights. The bands are from the local high schools, intermediate schools, and there is even an elementary school band. There are many local sports groups, such as soccer, little league, school and church groups that participate. One of the more popular entries in past years has been the Rowland Heights Chinese Association Dragon Dance Team. The STC Foundation started float entry in about 2013. For the adults, there are antique cars, floats, public and elected officials, and, of course, the opportunity to see their children participate in the parade. Some adults have commented that they remember being in a Buckboard Days parade when they were children in school. We have approximately 60-70 entries in the parade each year.
Is there a different Grand Marshal each year?
Yes. We have a Grand Marshal for every parade. Over the years we’ve had various TV & radio celebrities, VIP’s and politicians. Some past Grand Marshalls have been Supervisor Don Knabe in 1998, Sheriff Capt. Alex Lim in 2000 and Capt. Lynn Jones of CHP in 2001. In 2006, our theme for the parade was “Our Western Heritage”, reflecting back on the spirit of the Old West and the settlers who founded our community. Our Grand Marshals that year were the entire Rowland Family, including John A. Rowland V, VI and VII and their families. They are descendants of the original John Rowland who, along with William Workman, settled this area.
When is the parade held?
Buckboard Days is held annually the third Saturday in October. The parade begins at 9:00 in the morning on Nogales Street, where it travels north to Colima and then east onto Colima. On Banida Street, it turns northward and ends at Rowland Heights Park. The Family Festival commences at approximately 11AM, where there is food, entertainment, informational and craft booths. The Festival usually lasts until about 2 – 3 p.m.
How much does it cost to be in the parade?
There is no cost to the participants except for non-sponsor business/commercial entries. An entry fee of $50.00 must accompany each commercial or business application in order for it to be processed. The fee is waived for community organizations, individuals participating in the parade, and sponsors. However, it does cost money to put on the parade.
How is money raised to put on the parade?
Since this is a non-profit event, we raise money through sponsorships and donations. We have several levels of sponsorship:
Bronze sponsor level is $50. Silver sponsor level is $100, Gold sponsor level is $250. Diamond level is $500. Event level is $1,000, and our Corporate Sponsor level is $5,000.
We accept donations of any amount from those who wish to help out. It typically costs about $12,000-$17,000 yearly to put on the parade and festival.
How does someone contact you if they wish to donate? The BuckboardDaysParade.org website explains all details of the parade, including sponsorships. The e-mail address is RHbuckboardparade@gmail.com.
Who organizes and hosts the parade and family festival?
The Buckboard Days Parade committee puts on the parade annually, and assist the LA County Parks and Recreation with the Festival.
The Buckboard Days Parade Committee is made up of volunteers from the community. The RH Buckboard Parade is a 501c3 non-profit. We also have representatives from the PTA, the School District, businesses in the area, and high school students who volunteer time. The Parade does not pay any salaries…all are volunteers.
Can you tell me more about the festival after the parade?
The Festival starts immediately after the parade and is held at Rowland Heights Park on Banida. During the festival we award trophies for a variety of categories entered in the parade. There are also about 50 booths with plenty of food, information, crafts and musical entertainment. Attendees have a great time.
Can anyone volunteer their time to help with the parade? Who should they contact?
Of course!!! We always need volunteers to help make the parade and festival a success. If would like to volunteer, e-mail RHbuckboardparade@gmail.com.