Kids of all ages participate in Independence Day Celebration at East Portland Community Center

If you couldn’t come by, take a look at the fun we all had as outer East Portland neighbors gathered for the tradition of celebrating the 4th of July on July 3rd …

The parade is the big feature of the day – but many festivities lead up to the event.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Perhaps only in outer East Portland does the community turn out to celebrate Independence Day on July 3rd!

Nevertheless, nearly 300 kids and adults showed up this year at the East Portland Community Center for the day-early star-spangled event.

East Portland Community Center recreation coordinator and parade director Molly King, working with Asst. Building Director Ali Rice, plan their parade strategy – with the help of Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division Sgt. Robert Voepel.

“It’s a great community event that is fun for everyone,” East Portland Community Center recreation coordinator, and parade director, Molly King, said of the event. “And, we do have a beautiful day to celebrate!”

King said this week’s event marked the 11th year of holding the parade. “Both the event, and the number of people who come, have grown over the years,” Kin said. “It started out being just being a parade that marches down to CherryWood Village and back. Now, we have all kinds of pre-parade activities.”

Mia Pinzelik is focusing all of her attention on climbing the rock wall.

Brian Baker helps his daughter Mari make crafts.

The community center staff was busy at a table providing craft fun that kids love. From face painting, to flag making and tattoos, kids and their parents all looked as if they truly enjoyed the sunny outdoor event.

Brian Baker and his daughter Mari said they were there for the first time. “It’s fun and really festive,” Baker told us. “It seems like there a lot of people here having fun.”

The community center’s hot dog chef (and recreation leader) is Bob Calhoun.

Giant, plump $1 hot dogs rolled on the grill – and were snapped up by the hungry crowd. Those wanting a lighter snack made their way to the popcorn tent.

“We’ve expanded our community information booth this year,” commented King. “But it looks like bringing in the rock-climbing wall was a great addition.”

About 11:30 a.m., the parade formed behind the Portland Police Bureau Color Guard and moved out along SE 106th Avenue – and the tradition was again underway.

On the parade route …

Leading off the parade are member of the Portland Police Bureau’s Color Guard Officer Jerry Higginbotham, who works in the Chief’s office; SE Precinct  Officer Tom Rhodes and East Precinct Officers Jennifer Hertzler and Rob Brown. Following them is Portland Police Highland Guard Piper Erin Anderson says he doubles as an East Precinct officer on his “days off”.

First President of Cherrywood Village, Elaine Burns, rides in the Yellow Corvette. I’m in my 10th year at Cherrywood.

Some come in costume – other kids just like walking in the parade.

This event appeals both to the young – and the young at heart! Outer East Portland residents Red DeMars, Solveig Johdahl and Lynn Simmons have come out to enjoy the parade.

Portland Parks & Recreation spokesperson Beth Sorenson, hands out cool treats after the march.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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