Party for Planada: Residents unite to celebrate on Community Day

rgiwargis@mercedsunstar.comMay 19, 2013 

The Planada community came together Saturday to enjoy a day of delicious barbecue, live music and family-friendly activities.

Planada Community Day, a tradition for more than 50 years, had something for everyone.

The day started with a parade, featuring Flora Martinez, 89, as the grand marshal. Martinez is a community activist who co-founded Golden Valley Health Centers and the community's first Baptist church.

Martinez also was part of the first Planada Community Day more than five decades ago.

Other activities included a horseshoe tournament, volleyball and fitness courts for children. There was a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and more than 60 arts, crafts and information booths.

Ben Esquivel, 54, chairman of the event, said it gives people an opportunity to see the positive things happening in Planada.

"Planada gets put in the paper for all the wrong reasons," Esquivel said. "And there's a lot of community events and youth groups that are making some headway, and it's important for people to see that."

Money raised from Planada Community Day benefits the community committee, Esquivel said, which helps pay for the event each year and funds improvements to the park.

Reporter Ramona Giwargis can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or

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