25 years ago on June 24, 1996
For the first time in its 15 years of existence, the Monterey Bay Strawberry Festival has awarded its title of Strawberry Queen to two contestants: North Monterey County High junior Nikki Gillot and Watsonville High graduate Norma Fabian. The queens will each receive a $1,000 scholarship. The new co-queens defeated 15 other young women at the two-day fairgrounds festival that has attracted about 8,500 visitors to the event. Festival chairman Mark Scherer said “I’ve had nothing but positive comments. People can leave their children in the play area with pony rides, a petting zoo and Ferris wheel, and then come and listen to the music groups.” Not everything was fun and games at the Strawberry Festival. About 80 United Farm Workers protested at the fairground entrance over their poor working conditions in the fields while environmentalists picketed against the use of methyl bromide for strawberry pest control.
50 years ago on June 23, 1971
Local school district trustees interviewed candidates for the position of superintendent. There were 80 initial candidates, and half of them had their applications rejected for lack of qualifications. One appeared at the meeting, complaining of her rejection due to a lack of experience in education. That was Betsy Woolpert, a former member of the board of directors of Granite Rock Co., and wife of its president. She pointed out there was no legal requirement that superintendents have professional education experience, and also complained the trustees hadn’t bothered reading letters supporting her candidacy from J.J. Crosetti and other community members. Board members responded that the selection procedure they followed was standard among school districts in the state, and had an appointed screening committee following those standards who eliminated candidates not meeting them.
75 years ago on June 25, 1946
(An early version of this local history column titled “That Was Watsonville” ran many decades in the Pajaronian. Here’s a 1946 edition of it) 75 Years Ago: The finest celebration ever known in this town took place on St. John’s Day, June 24, under the auspices of Pajaro lodge, of Watsonville. 50 Years Ago: Most all the Watsonvillans who are out on camping trips or are rusticating at the numerous resorts expect to be home for the Fourth of July festivities. Immediately after the Fourth there will be another big exodus. 25 Years Ago: Fire Chief Sandberg is putting up danger signs over the city today warning the public of the dangers of fires which are liable to occur because of Fourth of July celebrations, and cautions everybody to be very cautious and watchful where fireworks are being used. 10 Years Ago: With the apricot crop of the Pajaro Valley ready for picking, harvesting should be in full swing by the first of July, according to Frank Kellogg, county agricultural commissioner.
100 years ago on June 25, 1921
Fire Chief Sandberg is putting up danger signs all over town today warning the public of the danger of fires which are liable to occur because of Fourth of July celebrations and cautions everybody to be very careful and watchful where fireworks are being used. The posters are gotten out by the Board of Fire Underwriters and call attention to the following points: “Great care should be taken to have: 1st) Pails of water at handy points. 2nd) Garden hose attached and ready for us. 3rd) Roofs and wood sidewalks wet down. 4th) All rubbish and dry grass cleaned up. 5th) Fire apparatus placed in order ready for instant use. 6th) Watchman service day and night for mercantile risks. 7th) Ascertain the location of the nearest fire alarm box and key.
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