MARYSVILLE (CBS13) — The oldest continuously-held parade in California may come to a crashing halt after being impacted by some hefty city fees.
“It’s hard to have found out that information just four weeks leading up to that event,” said Candace Young Fresquez, Marysville resident and parade chair.
The Bok Kai Chinese parade draws in thousands of visitors and worshipers some who believe the end of the parade could be disastrous for the city.
“It’s almost as old as the city,” she said
It’s a Chinese-American tradition that Candace has celebrated her whole life.
“And for those who are older than me it’s always been a part of their life because it’s here, it’s ingrained in us,” she said.
The Bok Kai parade winds through the streets of Marysville with a 175-foot dragon every March to the Taoist temple and has for more than a century.
“There isn’t another temple like Bok Kai anywhere else outside of the United States,” she said.
But for the first time in more than a century, the city asked for a last-minute permitting fee of more than $16,000.
“It’s absolutely left me speechless to know that there is a price tag attached to it,” she said.
It’s a price the parade committee can’t afford.
“If we were charged those fees there would be no parade,” said Debbie Hopking, Treasurer for Bok Kai Parade.
The mayor says the fees are for costs associated with managing public events.
“Where there’s overtime for our police department or public works,” Mayor Ricky Samayoa of Marysville.
But he does understand the importance of the city’s oldest tradition.
“Bok Kai is Marysville so we are looking forward to another 138 years,” Samayoa said.
After all, worshipers come from all over the world to honor the Bok Eye, the water god believed to protect the city from flooding.
”We will try to find a way to help out the city,” said John Young, Candace’s father.
He fears what would happen to the city without the ceremonial tradition.
“We’re going to try everything possible and make the parade happen,” he said.
Hoping these last-minute financial difficulties don’t rain on their parade.
Marysville city council will vote next week whether to wave the fees this year and discuss with the parade committee how to workout fees in the future.