Follow Us

La Tapatia restaurant owner Auro Davalos and his family have been participating in the 4th of July parade in Racine for 10 years, but he said he won’t be back. (Photo by Patrick Flynn)

**Updated 8 p.m. July 8

The organizers of Fourth Fest and La Tapatia have come to an agreement, assuring that the restaurant’s beloved dancing horses will appear in the 2015 4th of July parade.

Jake Lovdahl, incoming president of Fourth Fest issued a statement Tuesday confirming that he sat down with the Davalos family and they managed to come to an agreement that keeps the family in the parade.

“I am very happy to report that a positive resolution came of this meeting. I can also report that both the Davalos family and Fourth Fest of Greater Racine are looking forward to working with each other next year,” the statement reads.

He told Racine County Eye Tuesday that he is still in the process of talking with festival staffers and volunteers to their side of what happened at the parade that hurt the Davalos family, but processes are being put in place regardless to be sure the alleged mistreatment never happens again.

“(The Davalos’) main concern was they felt unfairly treated, and as an organization we don’t ever want anyone to feel that way especially given what we’re celebrating that day,” Lovdahl said. “I explained that I am talking to everyone involved, and I explained that to the family and they seemed happy that we sat down with them.”

Lauro Davalos Sr. and his wife, Linda told The Journal Times they are satisfied with the outcome.

“What happened, happened,” he told the newspaper, and Linda said, “”Everything is OK now.”

He did mention that feedback from parade goers the last few years has indicated there are too many gaps between groups and that the parade “isn’t what it used to be.”

“We take those comments to heart so maybe there was too much pressure on volunteers,” Lovdahl added. “We will definitely work on communication both internally and with parade participants so this never happens again.”

Members of the Davalos family were angry with how they were treated during the annual 4th of July parade in downtown Racine. The owners of La Tapatia restaurant — who were riding horses during the parade — had vowed not to return.

Davalos, who owns La Tapatia, has been riding Arabian horses in the parade with his family for at least 10 years, said Auro’s daughter Carina. The family was surprised to learn when they arrived that the horses were not on the list to be in the parade, an issue that eventually got resolved.

But during the parade, the parade marshals told her that there was too much of a gap in the line-up and that the horses needed to go faster.

“We attempted to have an amazing time but seem to be harassed by the director of the parade . Who seemed to be following us through the whole parade yelling at our children. Wanting our horses to run in which made our horse fall during our walk in this parade,” according to their Facebook page.

Carina also said the parade marshal — who she didn’t know by name — yelled and screamed at her. And at one point, the woman put her hand in her face. And another woman affiliated with the parade told her they would not be invited back.

“The energy was just so wrong,” Carina said. “My father didn’t need this pressure. This is his passion. He loves the people cheering them on and he loves sharing his culture with the community. Having someone on our back almost the entire time through the parade was frustrating.”

Jake Lovdahl, incoming president of Fourth Fest of Greater Racine, vowed to look into the matter by speaking to both sides about the incident and issued a statement to that effect. Tuesday he confirmed that the Davalos family and their horses would remain a part of the parade.

He also said the final meeting for the 2014 event where staffers, volunteers and the board of directors go over what worked, what hasn’t worked and how the parade can be improved hasn’t yet been scheduled. Lovdahl said the situation with the Davalos family will definitely be part of the discussion.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.