"PlaquaPalooza!" was our name for Peter Lebeck's two plaque erection celebration, Saturday, February 28, 2015. Like many chapters, PXL isn't often able to Clamp close to the time and place we'd like to mount an erection. Two recent examples were our 2013's Rankin Ranch monument, where the Rankin family wanted a springtime dedication to coincide with their ranch's 150th anniversary, but the ranch Clampsite would have been too wet for RVs in the spring. And our 2014 rededication of St. Joseph's Cemetery in Havilah, which occurred in the dead of summer to coincide with Havilah's annual street faire, but would have been an awfully warm time to Clamp. The result of complications such as these is that few of our members end up driving the long distances to attend these short dedications, but as the saying goes, 'If we're not plaquing, could we truly be Clamping?' Well our 2015 Humbug, Jim Bailey, saw the problem and decided to turn this confusion into a plus by creating a special, all day, family friendly event, that he called, "PlaquaPalooza."
Despite the threat of intermittent showers, PlaquaPalooza started at 1:00 p.m., with the dedication of a new monument celebrating the West Kern Oil Museum in Taft, California. Following short speeches by Jim and the volunteer director of the museum, redshirts and their families toured the multi-acre site which includes the towering Jamison wooden oil derrick, vintage oil field equipment, and several buildings housing exhibits which explain the history of both human migration to Western Kern County and the development of its massive oil fields. Museum volunteers guided our group through the various exhibits, telling stories about their times in the fields and giving voice to the artifacts preserved at the museum.
Then it was off to Ethel's Old Corral Café about an hour east, on the north side of Bakersfield. Instead of a traditional monument, Jim had mounted a plaque directly on the wall of Ethel's, and we formally dedicated it as an ECV Watering Hole - or at least as formally as one can do such things.
Ethel's has been there about as long as anyone can remember, and many say it is the most famous and oldest roadhouse in Bakersfield. It has hitching posts out back, and space for motorcycles and cars in the front. It has neighborhood ambiance without the exclusivity of a neighborhood bar, and the place is family friendly. In fact by the time our event was wrapping up, another group, which had reserved the dining room, was setting up for a birthday party. So sometime around 6:30, it was finally time to go. It was dark and starting to rain when we left, but a great time was had by all. Satisfactory!