Borrego Days' 50th Anniversary Week


Last updated 8/27/2015 at 10:31am

Plan to stay in Borrego Springs for a week this year to celebrate the biggest and best festival ever, and end that week on a high note with a parade, music festival and crafts booths. Book a room for Oct. 17-24 now; as space is limited.

In the July 27 session, which came to order at 4:00 p.m. that afternoon, the Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce continued to hammer out the form of the 50th Annual Borrego Days Desert Festival to be held October 23-25, in downtown Borrego Springs.

Executive Director, Linda Haddock, called the meeting to order and introduced Laurel McFarlane of McFarlane Productions, on speaker phone. Persons physically in attendance were Dr. Sy Conrad, volunteer, of Ranchita, Fred Jee, volunteer, Debbie Woollet, volunteer coordinator for Borrego Days, Sylvana Meeks of Coldwell Banker and Honorary Mayor of Borrego Springs, Dan Wright of the chamber, Mike Himmerick of BAR, JoAnn Maiter of the chamber, Joan Leopold of the chamber, Rick and Eddi Fordem, both representing the Borrego Air Ranch, Karen Hadley representing Palm Canyon Resort, and Jim Swartz representing Ramona Disposal Service.

2015 Honorees of the Festival are: The Borrego Sun, founded in 1949, as the Business of the Semicentenniel; Mike Neil a USMC (Ret.) Brig. Gen., awarded the Navy Cross and the Purple Heart in World War II, as the Grand Marshal; Sylvana Meeks, Miss Borrego Springs of 1989, pageant director since 1992, Rotarian, as the Honorary Mayor; Fred Jee, with 40 years of service, Chair of the Borrego Film Festival, with a Lifetime Achievement Award; and Chuck Dashevsky, World War II Veteran, always ready to help, as the Volunteer of the Year.

The Festival is right on track and moving forward like a speeding locomotive. Most of the pending confirmations from last month’s meeting have been finalized. Sponsorships are still needed and are available in packages ranging from $50.00 to $5,000.00. Information and materials packages are available, with 2,500 set to be mailed out.

Musical entertainment has been scheduled and confirmed by Dan Wright. The artists include Whitney Shay with Robin Henkel; followed by the Alice Walker Band, both on Friday night; Ericka Devereaux, Nancarrow, The U.S. Marine Corp Jazz Band, Izon Eden, starring Patty Holley and Dayton Borders, and Lucky Tongue on Saturday; and BS Hip Hop Dance Team, Angel Miguel de Milan and Family, Proyecto Grupo Norteno, and Mariachi Estrella on Sunday.

The event will showcase artists and speakers on two stages: a west facing stage draped with a United States flag; and a northwest facing stage draped with a California flag.

Nine marching bands will compete in the Festival before two sets of judges, leaving one remaining set of judges for all other acts.

The Miss Borrego Springs pageant is tentatively scheduled to take place between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. on Friday night. Sylvana Meeks has posted query on FaceBook hoping to locate and persuade any former holders of the Miss Borrego Springs title to attend the affair and be recognized. The winners of the pageant will grace the parade on Saturday morning, with the new Miss Borrego riding in a car provided by the Rotary Club.

A spectacular air show is in the offing, orchestrated and flown by Rick and Eddi Fordem, with others, from the Air Ranch, as this is the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Festival, and the 70th Anniversary of World War II. A State Park airplane will lead off on Saturday morning at 9:45 am, followed by six World War II training planes.

A tentative total of twenty planes in all will fly down Palm Canyon Drive in formations of four, within a time frame of fifteen minutes. An announcer on the ground will describe each plane as it passes.

After the parade flights are complete, the pilots have suggested that they will be available to give airplane rides until 3:00 p.m.

The Ramona Disposal Service will hold a free e-waste recycling event on Saturday at Avenida Nordeste. So bring your e-waste and help keep America Beautiful!

Vendors are still being accepted, and new application forms are available now on the Borrego Days website.

Volunteers to help set up and take down, as well as handle the trash, are still needed. School Superintendent Martha Diechler has promised students to help pick up trash, but other help must be eighteen years or older.

Lodging is badly needed for festival participants, and planners are seeking commitments of complementary rooms from local hotels and resorts. Special Recognition will be given to establishments who provide the needed lodging. As of this writing, Palm Canyon Resort is participating, members of multiple bands will lodge at the RoadRunner Club; and La Casa del Zorro will accommodate our Grand Marshal; but more rooms are still needed.

Anyone interested in volunteer opportunities, vendor opportunities, sponsorships, or in providing lodging please contact the Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce at 760-767-5555, or check out the Borrego Days website at


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