Independence Day Parade continues to build community spirit, in outer East Portland

You might be surprised to learn just how many years this pre-July 4th parade has been inspiring both young and old to come out and celebrate Independence Day weekend …

The lawn in front of the East Portland Community Center is filled with families having fun as they await the start of the annual Independence Day Parade.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Blue skies and balmy weather greeted folks coming out to the East Portland Community Center’s (EPCC) Independence Day Parade and Celebration, on the morning of July 1.

“This is our 14th annual parade,” remarked Abbe MacFarlane, EPCC’s director, as a sea of happy kids swirled around her – engaged in face painting, crafts, getting temporary tattoos, and mounting the Portland Parks & Recreation rock climbing wall.

Gabe Barbee, recreation leader, and Abbe MacFarlane, director of the East Portland Community Center, are all smiles about the great turnout for this year’s celebration.

Volunteer Heather Sprague serves up another hot dog lunch at the event.

Portland Police Bureau Mounted Patrol Unit Officer Janette Brown, riding “Jaeger”, and Officer Ryan Albertson atop “Monte”, greet neighbors before the parade.

“It looks like they’re enjoying the pre-parade,” MacFarlane remarked. “And, everyone is welcome to our parade and celebration. Seeing all the people come out – lots of families, day care groups, and senior citizens who are all here to participate in this parade – is wonderful.”

This year, having the parade led by two officers from the Portland Police Bureau’s Mounted Patrol Division was a special treat, MacFarlane said. “It’s been some time since they’ve been able to join us. I’m glad they’re here.”

Connor Schoene has a bike decked out for the Independence Day Parade, and is ready to accompany his mom, Amy Bagwell.

Haldeman’s OO-pah Boys warm up the crowd before the parade.

The colorful processional is led by the Portland Police Bureau Honor Guard, as it winds through the community before returning to the community center for more fun.

With that, the colorful procession started off from the community center, and took its traditional route: South from 740 SE 106th Avenue, and then southeast on SE Cherry Blossom Drive a block to Cherrywood Village, after which it turned around and returned.

According to the official count, 372 folks marched, walked, and rolled in this year’s parade.

Off they go; there’s lots of participation in this parade.

Cherrywood Village resident Dorothy Parker, selected the “2011 East Portland Community Center Independence Day Parade Queen” rides her scooter in the parade.

“One of the best parts is having a gorgeous day for the parade,” mused MacFarlane. “It is great to get so many people from our community together; a lot of people plan to meet here every year. It’s a good way to celebrate Independence Day weekend; it reinforces our sense of community spirit.”

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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