‘Barn Bash’ revival delights Parkrose promoters and patrons

Find out why the ‘Parkrose Posse’ was rounded up to again to resurrect this once-renowned community event. Of course, you’ll see more than twenty fun photos that illustrate why all who attended say this was probably the best Barn Bash ever …

Vickie Carl (front row in red) gathers 17 of her 18 member volunteer crew St. Rita Catholic Church who will serve the 2011 Barn Bash BBQ chicken dinner.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
After a three-year absence, the Parkrose Barn Bash returned to Rossi Farms on the evening of July 9 – to the delight of as many as 2,000 revelers.

For the uninitiated, this is a simple event that includes dinner, a wild-west action show, and a barn dance.

But the dinner isn’t typical catering fare.

Parkrose Lions Club chefs marinated half-chickens, cooked them on open pit grills, then carefully packed them into insulated containers in which they slow-cooked to tender, juicy perfection. Add to this the beans, the salads, the rolls and the strawberry shortcake – and this open-air meal tastes better, folks say, than what you’d enjoy in the finest restaurant.

Ready to portray early Parkrose townsfolk: Joe and Michelle Cross, and Pete and Alana Vrooman, are in their period costumes.

The show isn’t a vaudevillian parody of Parkrose’s olden days.

The Rossi Farms old time Parkrose storefronts came to life with townsfolk dressed in period garb, and there was plenty of action – thanks to the players of Turkey Creek Productions. Rough-and-tumble cowboys held shooting contests; crooks shot it out with the Sheriff and Parkrose Posse – and there were thunderous booms from a Civil War era cannon. “Honestly, we used a small fraction of the load we use out in the field,” said Craig Flynn – but the concussion was palpable.

People patiently wait for the gates at this year’s Barn Bash to open.

The barn dance isn’t a DJ playing music off a computer, either.

The Backstage Pass Band kept toes tapping and folks dancing as they performed their mix of modern country music and some popular oldies, throughout the evening.

“Our last Barn Bash was in 2007,” smiled the event’s host, Joe Rossi, after the evening was well underway.

Amelia Salvadore and Joe Rossi greet the guests arriving at this year’s Barn Bash with a big smile.

“After three years of missing the event, we decided to have another one,” Rossi told us. “This is the 2011 Parkrose Community Foundation Barn Bash, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Parkrose.”

The event was brought back by popular demand, acknowledged Rossi. “I’ve had so many people tell me how much they enjoyed the event over the years – after we stopped holding it. With Parkrose’s 100th birthday this year, I wanted to celebrate, so I decided to take some time off and do it again. A bunch of my friends offered to volunteer. Then, an amazing number of people also volunteered – we must have a hundred volunteers, many of them working tonight.”

Dave Luce, a/k/a the Parkrose Can Man, checks into the Barn Bash front gate.

The core group included Mark Baldwin, Mike Treadway, and their sons, Rossi said. “They helped me nightly for two weeks; we’d work till 10 or 11 o’clock at night. I’m glad for all the help I had; we were working until the gates opened.”

Rossi credited this year’s event to the work of Amelia Salvador of Trinity Event Productions in Gresham. “I couldn’t have done it without her. Secondly, the community showed up and supported us in so many ways. You know, that’s what makes the Parkrose community so great. We had more people offer to help than we could put to work this year.”

Looking over the happy throng, Rossi commented, “I’m really happy that everyone came out. I was expecting a smaller crowd than in previous years. Being that we missed the event for three years, I thought people would forget. I’m overwhelmed, because it seems like this is our biggest Barn Bash yet; I can’t imagine there be less than 2,000 people tonight.”

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz greets Barn Bash guests and prepares to ring the dinner bell.

Is this the “last round-up” for the Barn Bash?

“We’re still tallying up the funds and the expenses,” Rossi replied. “We have really good attendance, and I definitely have the help. We’ll see how this year ends up, before we make a decision about next year.”

Just in case the Barn Bash returns in 2012, you might want to circle July 14 on next year’s calendar, so you wouldn’t miss it.

2011 Barn Bash photo album

Guests step up to the buffet line to get their barbecue dinner with all the trimmings.

Volunteers Tina Kuss and Celeste Jewell serve up Parkrose Lions Club chicken.

Bob Alen, Mona Kelly, and Peri Bogh-Bauers, PHS Class 77, tuck into their dinners.

All is peaceful on the streets of old Parkrose …

… Quiet, that is, until Craig Flynn, John Beard and crew touch off another cannon charge …

… And, the cowboys get restless and have some high-spirited fun in town.

Rich Riegel and Ron Shaffer are on hand to tell guests about the Portland Immigrant Statue.

The big Parkrose party grows, as guests continue to arrive at the Barn Bash.

Marchelle Carl, Crystal Sochia, and Tina Albers are three of the many volunteers scooping up ice cream for the strawberry shortcake desserts.

Between Wild West shows, The Crazed Weasels band entertains with Bluegrass and Americana musical tunes.

Oregon Representative Jefferson Smith arrives at the event.

No one goes thirsty at the Barn Bash, thanks to beer supplied by Widmer Brothers Brewing.

How many folks came out to this year’s event? Too many for us to count!

The Backstage Pass Band plays music in the barn that gets folks up dancin’.

Well into the night, well-behaved revelers enjoy a beautiful summer evening at the 2011 Parkrose Barn Bash.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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