‘Avenue of Roses Parade’ returns; delights thousands

See why smiles abounded – as the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade again trekked up this storied outer East Portland thoroughfare after a year’s absence …

Checking in parade entrants are volunteers Patti Wiechmann and Mackenzie Wiechmann.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

As planned, the two-mile 11th annual 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade rolled from Eastport Plaza up into the Montavilla neighborhood on the morning of April 28, delighting thousands of spectators and hundreds who participated in the joyful procession.

Ready to announce the parade are Parade Committee organizer Dianne Gill, Patrick-Provant of the Holgate Branch Library and Eric Norberg, editor of THE BEE newspaper.

The early Portland Rose Festival event went off without a hitch, putting to rest the rumor that the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade had been killed off forever by groups of rowdies who’d promised menacing behavior the previous year.

After a decade of bringing the East Portland community together, and being the first major Rose Festival celebration of the year, last year’s parade was cancelled at the last minute due to escalating threats of violence and disruption.

[To read what happened in 2017, and see the mini-event that kept the spirit of the celebration alive, CLICK HERE.]

Here comes the parade, up along 82nd Avenue of Roses!

This year’s Color Guard is provided by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1442 from the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood.

“The 2018 parade theme was ‘Play Happy’, and this edition of the parade was truly a happy day, thanks to our volunteers, parade entrants, and all of the people who came out to enjoy the parade,” grinned Dianne Gill, Eastport Plaza Manager, and a member of the Parade Committee.

“Even though sprinkles were forecast, there wasn’t a hint of rain as our 54 parade entries – with about 950 walkers or marchers, and more than 100 vehicles and floats – enchanted people along the parade route!” commented Gill.

Boy Scout Troop 777, based at City Bible Church, carry the banner announcing the arrival of this year’s parade.

Members of the Portland Rose Society bring along their “Mobile Rose Garden”.

During the parade, folks waved to members of the elegantly-dressed contingent of the Royal Rosarians, waved at members of the Portland Rose Society and their “Mobile Rose Garden” as they passed, and smiled at the many pageant queens and princesses who rode in the parade.

And, when music provided by the Kells Irish Pipes and Drums Corps, Creston School Marching Band, and the Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers echoed through the streets, crowds of people from surrounding neighborhoods were drawn to 82nd to cheer on all of the participants.

This rider in the BlackPearl Friesian Dance Troupe from Longview, Washington, waves to the crowd.

The Portland Fire & Rescue fire safety mascot, Sparky the Fire Dog, entertains crowds watching the parade, from high atop an antique fire engine.

Working year ’round, a dozen dedicated volunteers on the Parade Committee, this year Chaired by Johnni Jones, work behind the scenes to put on this spectacle.

“We do it because it brings a fun activity to 82nd Avenue of Roses, and the east side of Portland,” said Nancy Chapin, the Board President of PDX Bridge Festival, the nonprofit organization that stepped up this year to serve as the parade’s fiscal sponsor.

The only elected official to appear in this year’s parade, Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, waves to the crowds.

Families with students in Creative Science School in Montavilla march in this year’s parade.

“Bringing together civic groups, businesses, and neighbors for a day of celebrating East Portland, is what makes this unique,” remarked Chapin, a founding member of the Parade Committee.

The effort to mount this parade is worth it, Chapin told East Portland News, “because, by coming together, we get to understand, learn from, and better appreciate one another – and in doing so, strengthen our community.”

“Save the date!” organizers say – for the 12th edition of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade: April 27, 2019.

2018 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade Photo Album

Musically entertaining while they walk are members of the Creston School Marching Band.

It’s International Junior Miss – 2018 Miss Pacific NW Junior Teen Queens Josephine Lyness and Miella Welch waving to spectators.

A ceremonial Chinese dragon follows the “Pearl of Wisdom”, as members of the Portland Lee Association Dragon & Lion Dance Team again entertain in the parade.

No one can resist tapping their toes to the beat of the Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers.

Proudly showing their heritage are the Orgullo Morelense Cemiac dancers.

This colorful entry from Milwaukie’s Fear Asylum gives many spectators chills.

At the end of the parade, owners of custom, antique, and specialty vehicles show off their rides.

Before heading back to the car show at Eastport Plaza, Jesus Gonzalez, owner of this fully-customized1992 blue Lincoln Town Car “low rider”, entertains the crowd with his car’s hydraulic suspension system.

Next week: The after-parade Multicultural Celebration and Community Carnival again caps a day of fun.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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