Scott, David and Ian McKenzie named 2019 Fiesta Days Grand Marshals
Vacaville’s Fiesta Days has always been an event enjoyed by families, so the identity of the grand marshal position should come as no surprise.
This year, three people will be leading the parade, all from one family: Scott, David and Ian McKenzie, the owners of Pacific Ace Hardware.
“It’s an honor,” Scott said of the designation. “It’s a great community.”
Fiesta Days, now in its 62nd year, will be held May 23 to 26 in Andrews Park. The four-day extravaganza will feature a carnival, live music, food, the much-anticipated Diaper Derby and, of course, the parade down Merchant Street. Fiesta Days has remained a Vacaville institution celebrating the city’s western and Spanish heritage since its inception in 1957.
In selecting a grand marshal, it is only fitting the designation would go to the managers of another Vacaville institution that has been in the city since 1957: Pacific Ace Hardware. The store carries on a long tradition of family ownership. In 1893, Albert McKenzie began operating a general store in Monticello with his son, Albert. The store was closed in 1957, not long after the construction of the Monticello Dam, leading William to retire and Albert to purchase a hardware store on Merchant Street and continue the family business with his son, Sandy. As the store attracted more customers, Sandy brought in his cousin Jim to help run the store. Now the shop is run by Sandy’s son, David, and Jim’s son, Scott. David’s son, Ian, also runs the store, representing the fifth generation of leadership at Pacific Ace Hardware. The business has been such a success that Pacific Ace Hardware also operates additional stores in Winters and Esparto.
Despite competition from major retailers and the internet, David attributes Pacific Ace Hardware’s ability to thrive to its customer service.
“The big boxes aren’t able to think on their feet like we can,” he said. “We can react quickly to what the community wants.”
Additionally, David said Ace Hardware, being a private retail cooperative, allows its individual stores to be flexible in how they operate.
“We’re not a franchise like McDonald’s where the hamburger has to taste the same everywhere you go,” he said. “You go to Ace stores, there’s a variety at them.”
With Pacific Ace Hardware and Fiesta Days having been established almost simultaneously, the McKenzies have more than their share of memories of witnessing the tradition. Scott remembers when the parade was on Buck Avenue. In some instances, he was in the parade — whether on a bike or playing in a marching band.
Eventually, the parade moved to Merchant Street, running in close proximity to Pacific Ace Hardware. David said the store would be open for half a day on Fiesta Days, and staff would close the door to watch the parade. Scott said he has had three children in the parade. David, who now lives in Dixon, makes it a priority to bring his family.
“I’ve taken my children to Fiesta Day’s parades and events since Day One,” he said. “Even when we’ve lived in Dixon, we’ve never missed a parade.”
David sees the grand marshal position as good for his son, Ian. Now married with three kids, and a fourth due to arrive in May, Ian has been with the store since he graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
“He’s the next generation,” David said. “I think it will be great for the community to know its fifth generation.”
As grand marshals, the McKenzies will attend school and civic functions to talk about their experience with Fiesta Days, their families and their business. Scott said his father Jim, who still resides in town, deserves special recognition.
“He had a big part in this business thriving throughout the years,” he said.
Overall, Scott sees Fiesta Days as a strong representation of the community.
“People that come here from out of town, end up spending time here and living here realize there’s something different,” he said. “It’s really community-centered and oriented. It’s a pretty big town, but it still has a small-town feel.”
The first Fiesta Days event of 2019 is a crab boil with cocktails starting at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2 at McBride Senior Center, 91 Town Square Place. Guests will enjoy music, appetizers and a dinner of boiled crab, shrimp, corn and potatoes as well as salad, bread and gumbo. The McKenzies will be introduced as grand marshals at this event. For tickets and additional information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 448-4613.