Merced County Times Newspaper
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Planada to honor town bakers


Life is finally returning to normal in Planada after floods swept through the small town earlier this year.

This Saturday the town will be holding its annual Community Day, complete with parade, live music and a deep-pit barbeque.

Every year the community chooses someone from the town to act as Grand Marshal for the occasion. This year the title is going to the Villa Gomez family, owners of the El Gallito Bakery. Husband and wife team Luis and Estella have been serving up fresh pan dulce to Planada for 22 years.

The bakery is located just across the street from the park, sporting a long menu of Mexican sweet breads that are baked fresh every day: empanadas with apple and strawberry filling, churros, sugary conchas, crispy campechanas and fluffy bolillos.

The flooding in January left the bakery under a foot and a half of water, knocking out all their freezers and putting a refrigerator out of commission, according to their son Leonardo. But the business is back after months of being closed.

“The Villa Gomez family has never turned down the community,” said Rita Rodriguez, Planada resident and member of the community advisory board. “They’ve always been very gracious.”

Luis arrives at the bakery at 9236 Stanford Avenue every day at 4 a.m., where he and his sons help prepare the dough for donuts. They go through 25 pounds of flour every day just for donuts alone, and another 75 pounds for conchas.

Luis was raised with baking in his blood. He was pulled out of second grade to help in the family bakery in his hometown of Canada de Carachero in Guanajuato State, about four hours northwest of Mexico City. He and Estella traveled back and forth between Mexico and America to work in the fields and orchards before they finally came for good in 1978.

Estella mans the front counter, where she enjoys greeting regulars and talking to everyone that comes through. If you’re planning to visit, she said, come around 7 a.m., right when things are starting to roll out of the oven.

Community Day will also feature a basketball tournament and a vendor fair. The parade will start at 10 a.m. and the celebration will continue at the Planada park until 3 p.m.

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