Banner year for 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade

Find out why more entries and more spectators added up to more fun at this annual event …

Checking the lineup are Nancy Chapin, Jennifer Olson, and Katheryn Notson – marking off entries staging for the 2014 Annual 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Early in the day, dark clouds loomed overhead, but Mother Nature again smiled on the festivities, as the 8th Annual 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade formed at the staging area in Eastport Plaza on April 26.

Just before the procession headed north on SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, the sun broke through the clouds, and brought out a record number of spectators for this, the first Portland Rose Festival-sanctioned community event of the season.

One of the originators of the parade, Paul Ellison of Bank of the West, “directs traffic” to help stage the floats and other entries.

Even though he now works at the Bank of the West downtown administrative offices, former 82nd Avenue branch manager Paul Ellison was again on duty early in the morning, helping to stage the parade entries before they stepped off promptly at 9:30 a.m.

“I come back, year after year, because it’s fun!” Ellison told East Portland News. “The first year, we had mixed rain and snow before it cleared, and we had about 30 entries. It’s terrific to see how it’s grown – both in the number of entries and in spectators.”

Officers with the Portland Police Bureau Mounted Patrol groomed their steeds, bands gathered, and organizations assembled their entries.

Along the parade route, Volunteer Coordinator Johnni Jones checks to see that all is in place, just before the parade begins.

Here comes the parade!

Victor Lewis and his dad, Gregory Lewis, say they’re enjoying the parade.

“It’s a wonderful parade, isn’t it?” remarked the spearhead for the parade, Eastport Plaza Manager Dianne Gill. “Even though we work to produce this event for a full year, when I see it, it’s an amazingly beautiful and fun spectacle. It’s been going for eight years now, and it is been growing every year.”

This year’s parade in outer East Portland featured 72 entries, including 900 walkers, and 200 vehicles and floats, Gill told East Portland News after the parade.

Again this year, the Parade Color Guard are members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1442.

Parade committee member Katheryn Notson gets help carrying the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade banner from members of southeast Portland Boy Scout Troop 777, which meets at City Bible Church on Rocky Butte.

“We were thrilled that ‘The Schonz’, Mr. Rip City himself, Bill Schonely, agreed to be our Grand Marshall, and we also honored members of the Portland Police Bureau.”

The Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers marching drum corps provided a lively beat, as did unique sound of the Kells Irish Pipe Band as it passed by. And The Beat Goes On marching band played a mobile concert, including a Lady Gaga tune!

Nancy Hales and Portland Mayor Charlie Hales greet citizens along the parade route.

Southeast Portland neighbor Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Nancy Hales walked the parade route, greeting spectators.

“This is another beautiful day at the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade,” Hales said. “This parade is always a good event. We’re walking with these wonderful kids from Ron Russell Middle School in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood.”

Presenting this parade year after year, Hales said, is important for the city, “Because it shows everyone that business and community members are working together, continuing to improve 82nd Avenue. It’s also a way for kids and families to get out and experience a unique part of their city.”

Three of four Portland City Council members – Amanda Fritz, Dan Saltzman, and Nick Fish – showed their support for the parade by walking the route and greeting the spectators.

Greeting the crowds is 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association President Richard Kiely.

82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association President Richard Kiely, of Home Run Graphics, looked elated after the parade. “It was really rewarding riding along, and seeing folks watching and having a good time, all along the avenue.

“Our dedicated group of volunteers work hard to put on this community event,” Kiely said. “We do this to bring vibrancy back to 82nd Avenue. In doing so, we bring together people in our local government, dignitaries, the police, ODOT, neighborhood and business associations, individual companies, neighbors, and communities.”

The Beat Goes On marching band plays a mobile concert, including a Lady Gaga tune!

The costumed dancers of Orgullo Morelense Cemiac heritage group entertains during the parade.

It’s all smiles, with this group from the Kern Park Christian Church.

Bringing back their colorful entry is Portland Lee’s Association Dragon & Lion Dance team.

It’s the Gateway Area Business Association “Keystone Kops” – clowning around, and inviting everyone to the Gateway Fun-O-Rama Parade on NE Halsey Street at 1:00 p.m. on May 17.

All kinds of cars, new and old, join the parade.

This antique Portland Fire & Rescue truck signals the end of this year’s parade.

As shown by all of the smiling faces, the efforts of the volunteers who work to put on this parade paid off handsomely in terms of community-building, and good old-fashioned family fun.

Next week: See our story on the Multicultural Celebration and Community Fair that took place after the parade.

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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