Merced County California

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Grand Marshal
Marion G. Santos III

Longtime Los Banos fair supporter and businessman Marion G. Santos III will lead the 2015 May Day parade on May 2 as grand marshal.

While the honor of leading this traditional community event is well deserved, Santos humbly said there were many other deserving Los Banos area residents who could have been named. Santos’ nomination letter spells out his generosity toward the Merced County Spring Fair and his community service over many years.

Santos has been described as the “spirit of May Day” in Los Banos. The Spring Fair and May Day Parade have been an important part of his and his family’s’ lives for many years.  Santos has been an active participant in the May Day Parade for years, driving his black 1941 Lincoln down the parade route, touring the fair and participating in activities.

Santos, who owns Santos Ford and Toscano RV Center in Los Banos, served on the MCSF board from 1990-2007, supporting many of the programs that continue to enhance the Spring Fair experience for generations of Los Banos residents. He was one of the leading proponents of the Miss May Day pageant and a strong supporter of youth competition at the Spring Fair.

Santos holds the #1 bidder card for the junior livestock auction each year at the fair, evidence of his unwavering generosity toward community youth over the years. He typically purchases several animals each year. Santos support runs to several other Spring Fair activities including the Tiny Princess pageant.  He also donates the use of golf carts, automobiles and RVs for fair use each year, including the fifth wheel RVs that house fair employees during fair week and the junior livestock auction office and band dressing room.

A generous community member, Santos is active in the NRA and the local Sportsmen’s Club donating resources to help with the Tomato Festival and Los Banos Christmas Parade.

“He just loves helping out wherever he can,” said his daughter LeAne Santos-Sousa. The family, including four grandchildren and one great-grandchild, is very honored and excited to see Santos lead the parade, she added.

Like many past May Day Parade grand marshals, Santos began his association with the Spring Fair in the livestock barns, showing animals in both 4-H and FFA. His projects included dairy replacement heifers and market lambs- often purchased as bummer lambs from local sheepmen. His children, LeAne Santos-Sousa, Shawn Santos, Michael Santos and Marion G. Santos IV, carried on the livestock showing tradition at the fair.

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