Thousands enjoy 10th ‘Avenue of Roses Parade’

Read about, and see lots of photos of, the fun-filled 2016 edition of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade

The pirates band of PDX Yar stages in Lents, at a parking lot in Eastport Plaza, ready to charge onward during the parade.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Those who have been involved with it over the years say it’s hard for them to believe that they were already hosting the tenth annual 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade – as they rallied the entries on the morning of Saturday, April 30.

In the Eastport Plaza parking lots, entries for the parade began to gather. Some groups set about decorating vehicles while others were donning costumes. Drill teams stretched, and bands warmed up, preparing for the two-mile march through outer East Portland.

Volunteers Carolyn Perez and Kathryn Notson were checking in the parade entries, and directing them to their respective staging areas.

Raelynn Evans and Bridget Bayer prepare to dispatch the parade entries.

Avenue of Roses Parade Volunteer Coordinator Johnni Jones “rides the route” to make sure all the streets are closed and “block monitors” are in place.

A core group of about a dozen volunteers start working on the parade effort in September each year, remarked organizer Dianne Gill, Eastport Plaza’s manager.

“Today, we have more than 100 volunteers help in various ways to stage the parade, and assist along the route,” Gill said.

This decade-marking parade featured 78 entries, about a thousand walkers, and 120 floats or vehicles.

“It’s an amazing accomplishment for the business association, the neighbors, and all the volunteers, to have presented this parade for 10 years,” Gill said. “I believe that this area has embraced the idea, and now looks forward to and embraces our parade.”

The 10th annual 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade is underway!

Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1442 form the parade Color Guard, carrying “Old Glory” on the Avenue of Roses.

Helping charter volunteer Kathryn Notson carry the banner are members of Boy Scouts of America Troop 117.

Reigning Portland Rose Festival Queen Kahedja Burley rides with Portland Rose Festival Foundation Chair Frank Chinn. “As this is our first major official event of the year, it’s always fun to have our organizations represented here in this parade,” Chinn says.

Greeting citizens of outer East Portland is Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales was smiling merrily as he walked in the parade and greeted those along the parade route.

“What brings me out here is simply that this is a great community event,” Hales told East Portland News. “It’s clear that residents and business along 82nd Avenue of Roses care a lot about the area.

“What I like best is how this event brings us together as one community,” Hales said.  “We’re now so diverse a city; you walk along the street, and you see people from 25 different countries in just a few blocks. This is the ‘new Portland’; it’s about everyone coming together as one community.”

Portland Pickles baseball team mascot Dillon rides as this year’s Parade Grand Marshall.

Playing oldies and popular music with a lively rhythm is “The Beat Goes On” Marching Band.

Representing Whitman Elementary School, these kids “hoop” it up.

Always a colorful entry is Lee’s Association Dragon & Lion Dance Association.

National American Miss Junior Pre-Teen Portland participants greet parade-goers.

The Trinity Lutheran School Tigers Band comes marching up the hill.

Chinelos dancers, dressed in their colorful costumes, as well as the Orgullo Morelense Cemiac heritage group energetically dance along the parade route.

These are a handful of the thousands of spectators who come out to be part of this grand event.

After the parade, Gill said that volunteers embedded in the parade counted spectators along the route – and they estimated about 9,000 people came out to see and enjoy the colorful procession.

“What’s best for me is that this helps with the revitalization of Southeast Portland,” Gill said. “Everyone puts out a good effort to create this wonderful springtime event.”

The beat goes on as the Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers march along.

Next week: The Multicultural Fair and Spring Carnival returns

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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