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National News / Entertainment

Saturday, 9 June, 2012 8:29 AM

PREVIEW: Ronnie Milsap to headline 94th Annual Beaumont Cherry Festival

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The Beaumont Cherry Festival has tapped Ronnie Milsap as its headliner on Sunday, June 10.


by Jason Rzucidlo



BEAUMONT, Calif. -- The small city of Beaumont, Calif. was only six years old when an annual tradition was born. The Beaumont Cherry Festival is marking its 94th year in 2012 and it is set to be bigger and better than ever. It will feature live entertainment, a parade, a pancake breakfast, food booths, vendor booths and lots of canival rides. It all kicks off on Thursday with discounted admission of $3 (that's $2 off the regular rate) and discount ride wristbands of $20 (that's $5 off the regular rate).

Hours are 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, 5 p.m. to midnight Friday, Noon to midnight Saturday and Noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Admission for the last three days are $5 for adults and kids ages six through 11. Kids five and under are free. Ride wristbands will be $25 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

"We want everybody to come out and have a good time," said Beaumont Cherry Festival President Walter "Buzz" Dopf. "This is the 96th year so it's been going for a long time. Some of the carnival rides will be changed from last year, some of the street vendors are new, arts and crafts and the entertainment has changed from year to year."

Country music singer Ronnie Milsap is headlining the entertainment on Sunday night. Meanwhile, cover bands will be providing the music for the remainder of the festival.

"Ronnie is here Sunday, he is the closing act," he added. "We have The Superfreaks coming in on Saturday night. We have Brent Wood coming. I can't think of the other ones off hand. We have good entertainment. We hope to have a good cherry festival. We have good beergarden. We keep our beer down, $5 for a glass of beer compared to Dodger Stadium or Angel Stadium where it's $7 or $8. You can sit around, have a beer and watch the entertainment and enjoy."

What's planned for this year's pancake breakfast?

"It is put on by the chamber of commerce," Dopf explained. "It's down at the civic center Saturday morning before the parade. That money there goes toward the chamber of commerce. They put that on."

This year's parade kicks off on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Melinda Martinez was announced as this year's Miss Beaumont. Her runner-ups include Tanya Rakestraw (first), Shelby Waldron (second) and Johanna Maldonado (third).

"The parade starts at 12th and Beaumont Ave. on Saturday and it goes down Beaumont Ave. to 6th St., makes a left at 6th St. and goes over to Orange and that's the end of it," the festival president said. "Again, that's put on by the rotary club. The cherry festival pays for all of the expenses, but the rotary club does the work on it."

With our tough economy, what can people do for free while they're at the festival?

"It's $5 entry fee for the festival, then they can sit and watch entertainment all day long," he added. "Some of the entertainment we have if they had it out at the Morongo or some of the other places, they'd be paying $35-$40 for a seat. Here, it doesn't cost more than the $5 entry. There are a lot of street vendors they can see. We try to keep the food vendor prices down to affordable rates. Thursday night is a cheaper night to come in $3. They can buy wristbands for kids on Thursday night for $20. So a family of four can come in for $16. If you go to Disneyland, you can't even get in for that amount of money."

Can you tell me more about the Cherries Jubilee event?

"It was last week and that's where the rotary club gets together and puts baskets out throughout the community," Dopf explained."People buy tickets for that raffle. All of the money they receive towards that goes toward scholarships. They gave out about $3,500 of scholarships that night."

Each year, a classic car and motorcycle show kicks off the excitement weekend before the festival

The auto show took place on Saturday, June 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. And the best part was...admission was completely free for all spectators.

"We have probably about 10 more cars than last year," the festival president said. "This is put on by the local Kiwanis Club, the Beaumont Kiwanis Club. The proceeds from this goes toward youth services and scholarships. It's a fundraiser for us and all of the money we raise goes back into the community."

Ed Parker from Beaumont, Calif. showed off his 1950 Ford F-1 that will be parked in front of his new brewery that is set to open in the next few months.

"My grandson Gregory drew me a picture of how this truck was to look," Parker explained. "All I got was a picture and no description. I went and worked off of that drawing. He showed up from San Diego today. It was one of the most produced trucks they ever made. One of the things that we like about it is it's old and beat up much like it's owner, me. We own a microbrewery that we're starting up and this is going to be our truck. We're going to use this for our Oktoberfest and for our parties and things like that. As you notice, we have former beer drinkers on the hood. It's just a good, fun thing to have. I built it and a friend of mine named Andy and he was a mechanic and I was the visionary. It took us three and a half years.

He added: "We got it literally in pieces. We went ahead and built it from the ground up. We took all of these different pieces, cut them up and put them together. The engine I bought off of Craigslist, believe it or not. The fella had an engine that he had in a truck. He put a video on YouTube so I could see the engine running. I bought it for $300 and hauled it home and put it in here. It's unusual because most people were taking old Ford trucks and putting Chevy engines in them. We have all beer and whiskey labels on the inside. The steering wheel is out of a 1913 tractor. The running boards on the side of it are made out of a recycled surfboard. The windows I made myself. It's meant to be a practical truck that didn't cost a lot to do."

"I said I loved it," his grandson replied. "It's really cool."

Gilberto Juarez from Banning, Calif., brought his 1966 Chevelle Malibu and displayed it at the classic car show.

"It has original quarter panels, original rear end and engine," Juarez explained. "Just the car has been repainted and the interior as been redone. It's very stock--everything has stayed the way it came out. I bought it about nine months ago. I've been saving a long, long time and looking a long, long time online. I actually came across a real good deal to my benefit with the economy the way that it was. The guy needed money and I happened to have it at the time. All I am doing is upgrades--emblems and chroming. I've never been real mechanically enclined.

He added: "The goal is to meet people and try to work on it a little bit more myself. I do drive it around, but just on the weekends. It was a childhood car. My brother used to own one. My parents would never let me in it because he was too busy racing it. Being a younger brother, he didn't want nothing to do with me. I've always had that want. I finally had the opportunity to purchase something that I wanted and this was what I chose."

Milt Beauchamp from Yucaipa, Calif. displayed his 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T at the auto show.

"I've had it since 1993," Beauchamp said. "I've got a 340 Plus engine here. We're looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of 245 horses. It has original exhaust manifolds, an unsilenced air cleaner. It has got 202 160 valving and a street rod cam. It has double roller timing chain and various other custom parts that shall remain nameless. The body was in good shape. The interior needed some work and I had a vision for the car how I wanted it to look like and how I wanted it to perform. So that's what I set in earnest to do. I actually started in 2000 on the restoration process.

He added: "I've been priviledged to go to a number of shows and show the car and be distinguished a number of times. It's a wonderful hobby. It something great that can take your mind off other things. It's been good for myself and my family. This one will normally nested inside the garage. It's like having a time capsule. You can show the younger generation and they seem to really enjoy the color. At most of these shows, we Dodge people are heavily outnumbered by Chevys and Fords. We enjoy being able to show the Dodges. We appreciate having the opportunity."

For more information about the Beaumont Cherry Festival, visit

Related Story: Ford OKs construction of Science & Technology Center on its land in Banning, Calif.




An overview of the Beaumont Cherry Festival Car and Motorcycle Show, which took place on Saturday, June 2.



Gilberto Juarez from Banning, Calif., poses for a photo in front of his 1966 Chevelle Malibu.



"The goal is to meet people and try to work on it a little bit more myself," he said.



Ed Parker from Beaumont, Calif. and his grandson, Gregory Harms from San Diego, posed for a photo in front of his 1950 Ford F-1.



"We have all beer and whiskey labels on the inside," he said.


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Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Photos, Videos, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer.