“Best ever” 2013 Avenue of Roses Parade enjoyed by thousands

Find out how the parade’s creator reacted to seeing it for the first time – as a participant …

While the 2013 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade is organizing, Grand Marshall Ken Turner spends a moment with Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, who also participated in the parade.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Up until eight years ago, the last thing most people would have expected to see happening along SE 82nd Avenue would be a big, colorful parade – complete with floats and marching bands.

But on April 27, the 7th Annual 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade stepped off from Eastport Plaza – bigger and better than ever.

Volunteers Nancy Chapin and Kathryn Notson look up, during a lull in the checking-in of parade entrants.

Andy Hilger of George Morlan Plumbing starts up the power generator on their float.

Here comes the parade!

The merry throng – complete with music, floats and fun – headed north on SE 82nd Avenue up to SE Yamhill Street, and into the Montavilla Neighborhood.

According to parade organizer Dianne Gill, this year’s Avenue of Roses Parade – an officially sanctioned Portland Rose Festival Event – featured:

  • 84 entries;
  • 1,200 walkers/marchers;
  • 125 motorized or mobile entries; and,
  • 6 marching bands.


Escorting his last parade before he retires is Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Michael Lee.

Volunteers carry the banner that signals the beginning of the 7th Annual 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade.

This float, built and entered by the David Douglas Historical Society wins the award for best entry – it included depictions of landscaping, Mt. Hood and Multnomah Falls, complete with flowing water.

The Beat Goes On Marching Band” entertains with energetic music and dance.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales greets outer East Portlanders.

As Portland Mayor Charlie Hales walked the route, he commented that this was his first experience with the parade. “This is excellent. And, it just shows how outer East Portland is on the rise,” Hales said. “It’s clear that you get people working together. I love it!”

Portland City Commissioners Steve Novick and Nick Fish, accompanied by Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abatté and Commissioner Amanda Fritz, take part in the parade.

Another first-time participant, Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick, also walked the route.

As Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish strode along, he commented, “This is one of my favorite parades. We welcome this opportunity for members of the Portland City Council to come out and celebrate with neighbors on the east side.”

Joining him in greeting folks along the route was Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “This is a wonderful parade, the best one yet! It shows 82nd Avenue is important, that people care about it, and that they care about the people who live in the area.”

Kells Irish Pipe and Drum Band provides their unique music along the parade route.

The parade’s originator, and this year’s Grand Marshal, Ken Turner gets to see the parade as a participant for the first time.

Riding near the front of the parade, Ken Turner – the man who started it all – rode as Grand Marshal.

According to parade organizers, it took some persuasion to get Turner – a private man, who prefers to work behind the scenes – to accept the honor.

After the parade, Turner talked with East Portland News.

“I feel incredible satisfied, and very happy about what the parade has become,” Turner grinned.

Reigning Portland Rose Festival Queen of Rosaria Kate Sinnott of Southeast Portland rides in the parade.

Wisdom Arts Dragon Lion Association dancers bring their dragon to life, chasing the “Pearl of Wisdom” along the route.

“When it was conceived, we were all wondering about participation, turnout, and acceptance. What I saw, riding in the parade, was that everything we’d hoped for was there. Lots of enthusiasm, smiles of people along the Avenue and kids looking all excited and happy.”

Observing that he’s been called the “Father of the Avenue of Roses Parade”, Turner said, “I’m uncomfortable with the accolade. Admittedly, I first threw the idea out of the table. I can still see the faces around the table when I broached the idea!

“But, this wasn’t a one-person deal. Not to sound corny, it was a collective effort. The 82nd Avenue of Roses Board of Directors, neighborhood association leaders, and business volunteers along the Avenue, as well as City and ODOT officials, all joined in to make it a reality.”

In the beginning, at almost every turn, the group met with naysayers. “But, every time we heard ‘You’ve got to be kidding’ only strengthened our resolve,” Turner recalled.

Now, coming back after retirement and riding in the parade, Turner commented, “This has become a very successful event, and it came off phenomenally well.”

Charter participant Richard Kiely of Home Run Graphics looks to be enjoying the parade.

Specialty vehicles of all kinds let spectators know that a huge cruise-in at Eastport Plaza will follow the parade.

Based on estimates of those participating in the parade, this year’s edition also brought out the most spectators ever – as many as 8,000 people turned out to view the parade.

> To read about the Community Fair that followed at Eastport Plaza: CLICK HERE.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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