KVMR hosts ’Caravan of Love’ | TheUnion.com

KVMR hosts ’Caravan of Love’

By Rebecca O'Neil | Staff Writer
Staff Writer

Over 45 cars gathered outside the Helling Branch of the Nevada County Library in a public display of appreciation for the community on Valentine’s Day Sunday.

The motorcade, organized by local public radio station KVMR, proceeded down Broad Street, through Nevada City and into Grass Valley, with participants honking and waving at pedestrians.

William Wallace of downtown Nevada City decorated his white utility truck with pink and red heart balloons. Wallace has been chief of security for KVMR’s Celtic Music Festival since the festival began 13 years ago.

William Wallace of downtown Nevada City, who participated in the event driving his white pickup truck, has been chief of security for KVMR’s Celtic Music Festival.

Wallace said this past year would have marked the festival’s 13th iteration.

Wallace said he worked with other event attendees to decorate his white pickup with pink balloons.

“People need to know that they’re loved, they’re supported, that even though things are as tough as they are, that there are people who care about them,” Wallace said.

Wallace said the Nevada County community has supported him through challenges in his life, so it felt appropriate to attend this event.

“During these challenging times it becomes crucial to do what we can to communicate a message of love, peace, hope and solidarity to communities and individuals,” Board Member Paula Galindo said in a press release issued by KVMR.

“I love to give back and return that support to them,” Wallace said.

Cris Kelly and Michael Christophel attended the event in a utility truck with a spray painted sheet that read “love.”

“This community is awesome,” Kelly said.

Kelly and Christophel said they were impressed and moved by the event’s turnout.

“Everybody needs this,” Christophel said, adding that the motorcade felt like a “group hug.”

Charles Maroon showed up in a ’91 white Westfalia and said the desire to promote peace and express appreciation for what the radio station has done brought him to the event.

“It’s important to have public expressions of love and appreciation,” Maroon said, explaining that the motorcade is more about the people than the cars. “This is a sense of unity and common purpose that has been bereft for some time.”

KVMR Board member Lew Sitzer (right) talks with ’91 Westfalia owner Charles Maroon (left) at the masked event, which convened Valentine’s Day at noon.

According to Lew Sitzer, who sits on the board of the 40-year-old radio station, the motorcade was accompanied by a two-hour radio special commemorating the parade and its expression of community, unity and love.

“It’s a testament to people’s commitment to recognize value of music and how we’re all connected in this community,“ Sitzer said. “We can overcome. We have a lot of issues facing us, and the radio is just one form of communication to address those issues.”

The two-hour special lasted from noon to 2 p.m. Attendees tuned in on 89.5 FM or online at KVMR.org to listen to uplifting songs with broadcasters and the board’s Brian Terhost, Paula Galindo and Elisa Parker.

Pedestrians waved at the caravan, which passed through Broad Street in downtown Nevada City and continued on into Grass Valley.

Barbara Brenner was a volunteer at the event and is the vice president of KVMR’s board of directors.

Brenner said her fellow board member Paula Galindo came up with the event, which promoted a message of peace amid a divisive and isolating year.

According to KVMR’s press release, the station coordinated with Nevada City and Grass Valley officials so the caravan could take the place of the Joe Cain Parade, which was suspended this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

John Voorhes came to the event with a “designated horn honker” — his son Robert.

Voorhes said the last year was rough on everyone, and interpreted the event as an expression of hope.

“Nice to lighten the mood a little bit and hopefully love will carry the day,” Voorhes said.

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at roneil@theunion.com.


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