Rio Linda celebrates its centennial

10/07/2012 12:00 AM

10/07/2012 7:57 AM

A boisterous crowd of 400 marched through the streets of Rio Linda on Saturday to celebrate the community's centennial.

"I'm here to show spirit for my school and community," said Alexis Johnson, catching her breath.

Decked out in her yellow band uniform, the Rio Linda High senior paraded through downtown playing the clarinet with other members of the school marching band.

True to the community's farming roots, several horses trotted alongside the clubs, schools and businesses that joined the milelong parade.

"One hundred years as a community is a milestone," said Mike Grandinetti, chairman of the centennial organizing committee. "Though we're not a city, we still pull together."

Following the parade, residents converged on Depot Park for a short ceremony, complete with speeches by local officials. Miss Rio Linda, Samantha Moore, sang the national anthem loudly before a cheering group of 150 people. The ceremony concluded with a three-cannon salute, courtesy of a half-dozen residents dressed as pirates.

An estimated 2,000 people joined in the festivities, which organizers said was a remarkable turnout.

Fifty booths packed the park, with vendors hawking ice cream and cutlery. Young entrepreneurs also abounded, hoping to make a quick buck.

"We're trying to make money for our business competitions," said Jeffrey Lor, a Rio Linda High senior who was selling drinks.

Firefighters showed off their big red trucks, while auto enthusiasts polished their retro cars in front of dozens of curious children.

Residents came out in droves for the celebrations, including Teddie South, who brought grandson Gabriel.

"He's having a ball," said South, 59, while 5-year-old Gabriel laughed at a singing robot show.

The tight-knit community, where almost everyone knows each other, is what Moore likes about Rio Linda.

"I like that you can walk downtown and talk to people," said Moore, 17, who was selected to be Miss Rio Linda in March. "Rio Linda is like one big family."

For others, the quaint countryside feel is what keeps them here.

"It's a new thing to grow your own vegetables or raise chickens in the city, but here, it's a way of life," said Grandinetti, 53. "We've been doing it for years."

The centennial also gave residents an excuse to spruce up the community, Grandinetti said. The Rio Linda Arch on M Street was fixed up, new bus benches were installed, and a fresh mural was painted on Nuway Market downtown.

Come nighttime, organizers planned to light up the community's lone water tower, symbolizing a candle on a birthday cake.

The centennial celebrations will wrap up today, with a time capsule that will be buried in Depot Park.


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