WASCO -- For Olga Ore Sanchez, the Wasco Festival of Roses means a day to celebrate her hometown.
The 35-year-old remembers when she used to sit on the curb of the sidewalk, waiting anxiously for the parade to start. Now the mom of three sees the same excitement in the eyes of her children.
"I feel very proud to be a part of this community because you don't get this type of bond that we have in other communities," Sanchez said.
The city of Wasco boasts that some 55 percent of all roses grown in the United States come from in and around Wasco, and so the event is also a celebration of one of the region's major industries.
The parade started promptly at 10:01 a.m. Saturday and the community cheered as law enforcement cars and trucks turned on their sirens to kick off the procession.
This year marked the 45th anniversary of the festival, with a theme of "The Rosiest Place on Earth."
Yvonne Butler, 66, has attended the festival since its beginning and woke up eager to spend the day with her grandchildren.
"It's an opportunity for the kids to see the community come together and just have a fun time celebrating Wasco," Butler said.
There were a variety of classic cars with yellow, red and orange roses decorating the sides, school marching bands and horses. Kids waved and jumped up and down frantically as they saw new floats, and ran to catch candy tossed toward them.
But Saturday was not just a day for the Wasco community to watch a parade. The tradition continued at Barker Park where people enjoyed a variety of barbecue food, Mexican food and bounce houses for the kids while adults caught up with friends they had not seen in a while.
"We never had anything like this in Los Angeles. The closest we ever got to a festival was watching the Rose Parade on TV," said 85-year-old Martin Macharro.
Macharro has lived in Wasco for 13 years with his wife, Mariaelena, and he still remembers his reaction the first time he saw the parade in Wasco.
"To see the entire community come together and just have a great time supporting their kids or friends made me happy," Macharro said. "And I haven't stopped coming since."