Parade will be held on Dec. 9 and theme is "Oil Patch Christmas"

At a recent Fall Festival celebration at the West Hills Church of the Nazarene, Taft Chamber Executive Director Orrin seized the opportunity to announce the newly-chosen (and very surprised) Grand Marshals for the 2019 Taft Christmas parade, long-time residents and contributors to the West Side, Fred and Barbara Holmes.

Fred and Barbara, owners and operators of Holmes Western Oil Corporation in Taft, currently employ fifty employees.

Fred is a native of California, and Barbara came to the area from Arkansas. Both graduated from Maricopa High School. Fred attended Los Angeles Trade Technical School for Diesel Repair and Barbara graduated from Taft College. Fred is a third generation oil man, raised on an oil lease east of Maricopa with his two brothers, Bruce and Mike. The lease was owned and operated by his namesake grandfather, Fred Smith Holmes I and father, Gordon Holmes.

Fred and Barbara have been married fifty-five years, which Fred will tell you seems like only five minutes . . . under water. They have two daughters Kelly Lopez (Jerry) and Hayley Tobin (Craig) and are grandparents to six children—all born in Memorial Hospital in Bakersfield: Caleb, Jake, Jordan, and Sarah Lopez, all of whom have graduated from Taft Union High School. Bronson and Addison Tobin attend school in Bakersfield. Each of the grandchildren is an athlete, and the lion’s share of Fred and Barbara’s time for the past forty years has been spent attending games and meets, both at home and away.

Chamber Executive Director Orrin commented, “Fred and Barbara have contributed to the betterment of the West Side through many endeavors—like their contributions to the gem of our City, The Oilworker Monument and their unwavering support of the Taft Union High School’s Oil Tech Academy. And I bet there are more contributions we do not know about.” Fred and Barbara and members of the West Hills Church of the Nazarene, where all are welcome.

This year’s parade, traditionally held on the first Monday evening in December, instead will be held on the second Monday, December 9, beginning at 6 p.m. Due to the late Thanksgiving this year, the Chamber allowed an extra week of preparation time for people who wanted to participate in the Christmas Parade. All are invited to the parade which will be held on Center Street and announced again this year by Billy Long and Kathy Orrin.