Red, White and Blue on parade in outer East Portland

How many hundreds of folks came out to this fun community event? Take a look at our photos, and you’ll see why we agree with the official participant count – and, why we love bringing you this slice of Americana …

Getting their “parade float” ready for the East Portland Community Center’s 13th Annual Independence Day Parade is Dan Havran, as float riders Eloise and Gabriel look on.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The East Portland Community Center’s 13th annual Independence Day Parade took off, right on schedule, at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 1 – replete with festively-dressed and decorated entries and marchers.

Clear morning weather, with a cheery hint of sunshine, brought out a bumper-crop of parade participants – 336 kids and adults, was the official count – who ranged in age from less than a year, to 100 years old.

This group from the nonprofit Children & Family Center are getting excited, ready to participate in the parade.

Lynn Haldeman’s (far right) The Oom-pah Boys again entertain the crowd before the parade, warming up for their walk in the annual march.

A cheering section for the parade gathers in front of the Community Center’s, and cheers on the participants.

Before the parade, kids and their parents gathered around tables set up on the green lawn in front of the Community Center where staff members helped participants make holiday-themed crafts, including festive red, white and blue paper worn in the parade.

“It’s a great way to get the community together to celebrate Independence Day,” Abbe MacFarlane, Director, East Portland Community Center & Pool told us as she scurried around the area making sure all were having a good time before the parade began. “This is an important holiday for our nation, we enjoy celebrating it.”

Elizabeth Wadnizak piping the bagpipes as she leads off the parade.

Off they go! The 13th annual Independence Day Parade is on the march!

Saying she’s proud to be 100 years old, and participating in the parade, is Ms. Elsie Garland – riding in this fine-looking ragtop Corvette.

“The parade travels from here at the East Portland Community Center to Cherrywood Village,” explained MacFarlane. “It’s part of their Independence Day celebration as well. So, it brings East Portland people – and generations – together, in more ways than one.”

Both before and after the parade, the Cherry Blossom Loaves & Fishes Center operated an outdoor snack bar, featuring snacks, candy, and an inexpensive complete hot dog lunch.

Another favorite pre- and post-parade activity is the Portland Parks & Recreation climbing wall, where kids let off steam as they scramble up and down the craggy structure.

Then, while other outdoor Parks Bureau swimming pools were closing down early because of inclement weather, the East Portland Community Centers Aquatic Center stayed open, for a “Fun Day” in the their covered, temperature-controlled pool.

Even though the clouds rolled in, bringing light showers to outer East Portland, this event previewed a glimpse of summer fun to hundreds of families.

Lunch, anyone? Bennett Bailey, the director of the Cherry Blossom Loaves & Fishes Center delivers red-hots, grilled by hot dogger Felicia Heisser.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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