The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Hundreds attend Old Timers' Day

The celebration featured a parade and turtle race.


August 13, 2017

MELROSE — Traditions die hard and not even a threat of rain could keep Melrose from celebrating on Saturday.

The community’s annual Old Timers’ Day brought hundreds together at the city park, as it has since it began in 1954, said Vicky Smith, president of the Melrose Chamber of Commerce.

Longtime resident James Townsend said the celebration is rooted in agriculture.

“Right after the harvest was over and everyone’s crops were in, they had dinner on the grounds together,” Townsend said.

They played games and renewed friendships in those early days.

“They’ve just been branching out” ever since, he said.

Saturday’s festival began with a parade down Main Street that featured floats from local businesses, non-profit groups and high school classes.

Parade winners included the Melrose Class of 1967 wearing tie-dyed shirts; Austin Ranch, which celebrated chickens on its float; and the High Plains Horse Club, whose riders wore Western-themed outfits.

Rain stayed away during festivities, but the turtle races kept many of the children intrigued on Saturday.

James Ridling of the Melrose Rotary Club said the event has always been a big draw.

“We’ve had as many as 130 (turtles) entered over the years,” he said.

About 30 participated on Saturday, with winners receiving silver dollars.


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