Remember the 100th
By Dennis McCall
There was no consensus that the 2010 Oildorado Days celebration marking Taft’s 100th birthday was the best one ever. No, it was unanimous. The celebration was led by Oildorado President, Eric Cooper. Five years later people are still buzzing about the Oildorado that drew record crowds attending a dizzying array of events and activities. It’s not easy to pinpoint just one single thing that captured the essence of the 2010. There were so many. Consider:
- The dedication of the million-dollar bronze Oil Worker Monument created by renowned sculptor Benjamin Victor, a Taft native. It’s the largest bronze monument in the western U.S.
- The Oildorado store and headquarters that resurrected the historic Pioneer Mercantile building and attracted a steady flow of visitors who bought lots of merchandise, watched the monument artist demonstrate his skill and gathered to visit over mugs of homemade root beer.
- The huge tent, known as the Oildorado Pavilion, that was home to the civic luncheon, queen pageant, Whiskerino, entertainment and more.
- The 5,000 people who shoehorned into two downtown blocks for the Eddie Money concert – an event that went off without a hitch.
- The hot air balloons that joined vintage aircraft to provide record crowds with sites above as well as on the ground.
- The Oildorado Midway that converted Rails to Trails into an open air art gallery, car show, craft and food center, carnival, and general gathering spot.
In addition to all that there was other entertainment, including the highly popular concert that teamed the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra with the “Riders of the Purple Sage,” the traditional melodrama, a dinner theater, and the launch of Taft band “Good Question” that, after a successful foray to Nashville, became “Truxton Mile” and a major player in the country-pop music scene. In keeping with the 100-year theme, one of the grand marshals of the grand parade was 100-year-old Opal Smith. Yes, Oildorado 2010 was definitely one for the ages.