Cherry Festival

Photo by Carl Booth

Kids Cures in Beaumont won the Sweepstakes Float honor during the 101st Cherry Festival Parade.

It takes more than one day to experience all of the sights and sounds of the Cherry Festival in Beaumont each year.

From Thursday May 31 to Sunday June 2, there was so much good music, from rock and pop and country performers, to the aroma of pizza, Chinese and Mexican food, delicious desserts, and then fun and games for kids and adults to try their hand at winning a stuffed animal or ride the ferris wheel in the carnival area.

And the parade on Saturday featured community members, local dignitaries, celebrity grand marshals, horses and classic cars traveling down Beaumont Avenue from 12th Street to in front of Beaumont City Hall on a nice pre-summer morning, with the streets lined with parade-goers.

Janiece Woodson and Jamarr Stokes brought their five children to the parade. Woodson, 28, a Beaumont High School graduate, said she has been attending the parade for 12 years. She has been introducing her children — Elaisia Woodson, 12, Kevin Muhammad, 10, Saniya Muhammad, 9, Jamarr Stokes Jr. 4 and Ayanna Stokes, 2 – to the parade since they were babies.

Stokes, 35, a Banning High School graduate, mentioned what he loves about the parade. “My favorite part is to see all of the cars – the muscle cars,” Stokes said.

Woodson likes the cheerleaders because she was one at Beaumont High School. Her daughter, Saniya, wants to follow in her footsteps.

“The fun part of the parade is the cheerleaders because I am going to be one,” she said.

Cherry Festival

Photo by Joie Rush

Rick Springfield performs at Stewart Park.

The parade began with a flyover of T-34’s, Eagle Flight, March Air Force Base Reserve, that emcee Bruce Murrill said cost $1,000 for the fuel.

The owner, Randy Ball, lives in Beaumont.

The fuel for the Vintage Air Force Navy Trailers, from the Korean War era, was paid for by the Cherry Festival Association.

“I think it’s worth the $1,000,” Murrill told the parade-goers.

There were 87 entries in this year’s parade.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 233 lead off the parade and the Beaumont Police Department and California Highway Patrol were represented as well.

Grand marshals Dan and Laura Dotson, hosts of the popular TV show “Storage Wars,’’ expressed their excitement about being in the parade.

“We couldn’t be happier to be in Beaumont,” Dan Dotson said.

Beaumont Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Vicki Grunewald and Heritage Award Winner Sue Burcham Christensen were driven down Beaumont Avenue in separate classic cars.

Also in the parade were the Beaumont Unified School District board members and the Beaumont City Council, new Beaumont Queen Elizabeth Averette and princesses Alivia Slaughter, Yvette Garibay and Kayla Rhodes.

Cherry Festival

VIP Vickie Grunewald, Beaumont's 2019 Citizen of the Year.

Kayla, accompanied by her mother Samantha Rhodes, later joined the parade route on the sidewalk to take photos of two of her horses, as they walked behind the Yucaipa Rodeo 4H Club.

Kayla pointed out to the Record Gazette that she was in the parade last year as the Yucaipa Rodeo Queen.

Murrill complimented the Boy Scouts Troop No. 322 for their hard work at the festival. They pick up all of the trash an hour before it opens and an hour after it closes.

“When you come to the festival, you have a clean, nice atmosphere,” Murrill said.

Jeff Hewitt made his first parade appearance as Riverside County’s new supervisor. There also was Beaumont philanthropist Laura May Stewart’s former buggy that is on display at the Gilman Historic Ranch and Wagon Museum in Banning.

The Anna Hause Elementary Drama Club had a float, as did Carol’s Kitchen and the Beaumont Library District, among many schools and non-profit organizations.

Saturday afternoon and evening was standing room only and every seat filled for two concerts — Dennis Quaid and the Sharks, and Rick Springfield and his band.

Quaid and the Sharks, who have performed together for the past 19 years, went on stage at 3 p.m.

Quaid, best known for roles in movies such as “Innerspace,” “The Big Easy, “Right Stuff,” and “Parent Trap,’’ was personable and charismatic on stage.

He went out in the audience twice and ran past the concert-goers into the tent, swiping hands as he went along.

Quaid sang songs by Carl Perkins, and The Doors, and the audience loved it when he sang Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line.”

Cherry Festival

Photo by Laurie McLaughlin

The San Gorgonio Pass Historical Society's float received a Sweepstakes Award.

Cell phone videos were recording practically every second of the 90-minute concert as people stood around the perimeter of the stage and tent area.

Sometimes, Quaid would get right up close on the stage and perform for individuals holding their cell phones.

Quaid sang some original songs and switched between guitar and keyboard. Before he sang Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On,” he mentioned that the iconic singer had suffered a stroke seven weeks earlier and suggested that people pray for Lewis’ recovery.

Quaid played Lewis in the 1989 movie about the singer’s life called “Great Balls of Fire.’’

Quaid had so much energy on stage that a fan gave him a towel to wipe off his sweat. He also drank a whole bottled water, which delighted the audience.

Doris Fleming, 45, of Beaumont, was enjoying every minute of the concert. Her reason for attending? “Just because I know his movies. He’s funny.”

From the moment Rick Springfield stepped on stage, it looked like “The Bachelor’’ had followed the singer to Beaumont.

Springfield would throw bouquets of roses into the audiences and the petals would fly back onto the stage, covering it.

That did not matter to Springfield, whose energy bounced all over the stage during his 90-minute concert.

Springfield, who took the stage at 6 p.m., told the audience that he had just gotten over the flu, but no one could tell from the way he sang some of his classic hits including “Jessie’s Girl.”

Cherry Festival

Photo by Carl Booth

Young Scholars Preschool float.

He also stepped out of the gate on the stage and into the crowd, which loved the personal interaction with the singer.

Once he was back on stage, he asked the audience, “Anyone been in a relationship longer than three months? It’s not smooth sailing.”

He went on to say that the song was autobiographical about him and his wife, Barbara, of 34 years. He said “She wanted me to leave because I was a jerk and I didn’t want to.”

The song he wrote is called “Our Ship’s Sinking.”

Springfield enjoyed talking to the audience in between songs, saying he loves the “Star Wars’’ movies and he asked if anyone was going to the carnival area, specifically some of the scarier rides.

He also signed autographs while he sang songs like “Jailhouse Rock.”

One of the crowd favorites was “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” which Springfield asked the audience to sing some of the lyrics.

Springfield passed around a microphone to the audience, who tried singing just the part “Don’t Talk to Strangers.’’ Pretty soon, Springfield took the microphone back and joked, “You guys are terrible.”

After the concert, Callista Benavente, 11, was waiting with her parents for the crowd to thin out.

The family drove from Thousand Oaks so Callista could see one of her favorite singers again. She has been a fan of Springfield’s since she was 6 years-old.

Callista was wearing a shirt that said “Jessie’s Girl.”

She had a simple answer for wanting to see him in person. “His performances.”

According to the Cherry Festival Association, nearly 38,000 people attended the Cherry Festival this year, noting that attendance was down from previous years.

Staff Writer Julie Farren may be reached at


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