They do things a little differently in Herald, and they're proud of it.
Herald is a small agricultural community about four miles northeast of Galt, with its only amenities consisting of a general store, K-8 school, post office, fire station, community park and Baptist church. There may be more critters there than people.
But the whole town turned out for its annual festival on Friday night and Saturday. And yes, Herald does it a little bit differently - starting with a wacky parade with seemingly equal numbers of twoand four-legged residents.
Among the 56 entries were antique cars and tractors, horses, cows - you name it. One group carried corn stalks on horses while wearing artificial buck teeth to provide that authentic hick town look.
The theme for 2007 was "What happens in Herald stays in Herald." You could find it on parade entries along with Herald Day T-shirts and caps. Conrad and Patty Weisker, who moved to Herald in 1977, were named Herald Day's honored citizens.
The highlight of the day may have been the mud volleyball tournament, where nearly four-dozen teams did their best to show their athletic skills while getting, well, down and dirty.
Volunteers got the six courts ready for play on Friday, the day before the tournament. Dennis Johnson rototilled the dirt in an open field next to the post office and fire station, while Leo VanWarmerdam constructed the berms to retain ankle-deep water. Others used fire hoses to fill the courts with water.
Mud volleyball became a mainstay of Herald Day more than 20 years ago, starting with four teams across the street at Arcohe School. This year, 46 teams competed in the double-elimination tournament.
Two participants said they know of no other community to host mud volleyball, so they mark their calendar for the first Saturday of August each year - so they can be in Herald.
"I've been in 46 states, and I've never seen anything like this before," said Lodi resident Ryan Proctor, a 10-year mudder who postponed his vacation to Peru last year so he could play in the mud volleyball tourney. More than just a two-day sacrifice of vacation time, it also cost Proctor and his sister $200 extra to fly to South America.
"But it was worth it," he said.
Mud volleyball teams consist of nine players. At least three players must be women.
At least one participant was an elected official. Elk Grove City Councilman Patrick Hume played for the Mud Slingers, a group consisting of Emerald Park Co. employees and friends.
"It's good fun - I wouldn't say good, clean fun - but fun," Hume said. "It's a chance to play in the mud - be a kid again," Hume said.
Marty Williams, who works at Emerald Park but didn't play Saturday, said, "It helps us wind down from work."
Best vehicle: 1912 Oriole 33 Roadster built by Oakland Motor Car Co., Ron and Judy Jacobson of Galt.
Best float: The Kline Family as the Colony Road Wranglers. Featured four people performing "Folsom Prison Blues." Two girls with ponies were in back.
Best novelty: The McCreery Family on quads and dirt bikes.
Judges: Carol Jorgensen and Judi Moreno of Modesto.
Announcer: George Maxwell of Herald.
Source: George Maxwell
Second: Los Ponchos.
Third: Mudder Udders.
Spirit Award: Mud Slingers, first; Digglers, second; Mud Hawgs, third.
Coordinator: Rhonda Heil
Source: Rhonda Heil.
Some of the more colorful team names were the Pitt Makers, Dirt Clouds, Stuck in the Mud, Muddy Ducks, Dirty Minds, Dirty But Dangerous and Tequila Shots. The Herald Store and the Herald Fire Protection District had teams as well.
"I've been doing this for 20 years," said Galt resident Tim Willman of the Muddy Ducks, a crew of Kaiser-Permanente employees from south Sacramento. "It's just plain fun playing competitively and just getting dirty."
Teammate Ray Sanchez from south Sacramento played this year for the first time after watching last year.
"I thought it would be easy, but your feet get stuck in the mud," Sanchez said. "You can't jump … The ball's slippery, too."
Herald Day has been a success since its inception in 1980.
Forty-year Herald resident Tony Mello, a mainstay with the Porch Club, a close-knit group of residents who drink coffee in front of the Herald Store and talk about issues of the day, credits the town's attitude for the festival's success.
"Hometown people - they're not high society," Mello said. "We help everybody, like brothers and sisters here."
The festival also featured a chicken-and-ribs dinner-dance on Friday night, a pancake breakfast on Saturday, a craft faire, horseshoe tournament, an auction, and live entertainment.