82nd Avenue of Roses Parade marches on April 19

Discover why you should pull up a chair for this fun, free event that celebrates one of Portland’s most well-known highways …

Again this year, Dragon and Lion Dancers will entertain and enchant people along the parade route.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The first annual 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade was a success, by every measure. Since then, the volunteers who put on this event have been working diligently to prepare for this year’s street pageant – next week, on April 19.

Seeing a parade marching along this storied highway took many by surprise last year. With more publicity, and greater participation from neighborhood and business groups, this parade this year should be a fun event for everyone.

A year in the making
Plans are underway for an even more colorful and exciting event for 2008, according to its organizer, and long-time East Portland booster, Ken Turner.

“We’re looking forward to a great event,” Turner predicted when we caught up with him at a meeting of the organizing volunteers. “It looks like we’ll have 40 entries, including floats, and walking entries from neighborhood and business associations, service organizations, car clubs, and farmers markets.”

Unlike a neighborhood parade, Turner said this event required a great deal of advance planning. “One reason is that we’re shutting down a State Highway for two hours. But, Oregon Department of Transportation, the Portland Office of Transportation, Portland Police Bureau, and other agencies have helped and supported our efforts.”

The Madison South, Brentwood Darlington, and Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood Associations, along with the 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association, are providing the volunteers to produce this neighborhood spectacle.

Members of the Madison High School Drum Corps will keep the parade stepping along at a lively pace.

More music, more fun
This year, the parade will feature the antics of the “Get-a-Life Marching Band”. This group of marching musicians is an offshoot of the “One More Time Around Again Marching Band”, famous for their annual Portland Rose Festival appearances. After the parade, about 11 a.m., the band will proceed to Eastport Plaza for a free concert.

You’ll see the USS Enterprise cruise down 82nd Avenue of Roses, courtesy of the US Navy . . . Be delighted by the color and pageantry of the Chinese Dragon and Lion Dancers . . . Tap your toes to the syncopated rhythms of Madison High School Drum Corps . . . Be greeted by the Royal Rosarians . . . And, see honor paid to our flag and servicemen and women by the color guard from Veterans of Foreign Wars #1.

“And there’s a good chance you’ll see some of Portland’s and Multnomah County’s leading politicians and candidates in the parade,” Turner hinted.

Starts at 9 am
The April 19 parade steps out onto SE 82nd Avenue of Roses from Eastport Plaza at 9:00 a.m. sharp. The parade will proceed north to SE Yamhill Street, and into the Montavilla Neighborhood.

Volunteers are needed
Many volunteers are needed on the day of the parade. “There isn’t heavy lifting involved,” said volunteer coordinator, Johnni Beth Jones. “And, the time commitment is small. We need adults willing to be ‘street closure guards’ on the morning of the parade.”

Contact Jones at johnni.jones@gmail.com; she asks that you list “Parade Volunteer” in the subject line of your e-mail, so she’ll spot it right away.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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