Sep 22, 2018
The Pink Fire Truck named Alex in memory of 16-year-old Alexandra Lee Rodriguez who lost her battle to Leukemia in 2005. (Megan Trindad/The Collegian)

Big Hat Days brings big fun to Clovis

The Table Mountain Casino Big Hat Days filled the streets of downtown Clovis with rides, crafts, food and music during the weekend.

The sunny weather brought pleasant warmth to visitors at the festival as they indulged in unique foods and strolled by endless craft booths.

“I’ve been coming here since 2007,” Shirley Cathey said. “It’s fun to meet the people.”

Cathey and her partner sold handmade custom-fitted toe rings, anklets and ear cuffs. She said she has a lot of customers come back each year during the festival.

The two-day event did not just appeal to local residents. It also brought out-of-town visitors.

Although Jose Cabezas is from San Pablo, he said he comes to the festival every year.   

Crowds stopped to listen to him play delicate hymns from his flute. Cabezas sells CDs and handmade flutes at his Native American booth.

Henna was a popular item at Big Hat Days this year. Creative Henna from Orange County came to the festival offering 100 percent natural herbal henna to their customers.

“We’ve been getting quite a good amount of people,” employee Audrey Amador said.

She said there is a more-diverse number of people interested in henna this year.

Creative Henna travels to different festivals and events throughout California offering henna services.

Amador said although henna is not part of her personal culture, she works with Creative Henna to help improve her art skills.

“Henna is just something I really use as influence in my regular art,” Amador said. “It’s good to develop your skills as an artist. If you paint basic things every day, you get better at painting the real objects.”

Next to all the rides, food and craft booths, a pink fire truck, police car and motorcycles were parked outside a Clovis fire station. The local nonprofit organization, Fresno County Pink Heals, used this area to bring awareness about diseases like breast cancer and leukemia.

“The truck doesn’t fight fires anymore, but she fights diseases,” Pink Heals president Lisa Benham said. “The thing about our organization is we want to honor people who have battled [a disease].”

Fresno County Pink Heals supports people in the local area who are battling any sort of disease. The pink firetruck, police car and motorcycle each sported handwritten notes from individuals who lost someone due to an illness or who are a survivor. Each vehicle was donated and is named after a different individual who is battling, or has battled, a disease.

“I’ve been in education for 28 years, and I feel like I’ve given a lot to the community and through my job. But this, there is just something different.” Benham said.  “When you can make someone that’s dying smile. I’m a complete stranger, and they know that we love them and we support them and we want to be there for them.”  

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