Parade chases away storm clouds; delights thousands

See the fun people had watching, and participating in, the 2015 Annual 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade

Getting their truck ready for the parade are Craig McMillen and Debra McMillen from Kern Park Christian Church.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

For the ninth year in a row, weather forecasters incorrectly promised rain, thunderstorms, hail, and high winds, for the last Saturday morning of April – when the 2015 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade takes to the street.

The morning’s ominous weather forecast slowed early arrivals along the 44-block parade route from Eastport Plaza to Montavilla the morning of April 25. But, when the sun poked through, and band music filled the thoroughfare, the avenue quickly lined with on-lookers.

82nd Avenue of Roses Parade organizer Dianne Gill helps entrants find their places.

“We’re always grateful for good weather,” smiled parade organizer Dianne Gill, Manager of Eastport Plaza.

“Since our first parade, when we started out with 25 entries,” Gill told East Portland News, “this year’s edition featured 84 entries, and 70 decorated vehicles and floats. And, we reached our maximum of 1,000 people marching – actually, usually walking – in our community’s parade.”

Just before the parade begins, Volunteer Coordinator Johnni Jones checks to see that the 100+ volunteers are ready for the big event.

Division Midway Alliance District Manager Lori Boisen distributes Advertise in the Bag “candy catching” bags, that each include an American Flag.

Here comes the parade!

A dozen or so volunteers work, year around, to produce the parade, which is officially the first major happening of the Portland Rose Festival – and the Festival’s only such event in outer East Portland. “We do it because it brings a fun activity to 82nd Avenue of Roses, and the east side of Portland,” Gill said. “This event is unique, in that it brings together neighbors, businesses, and civic groups who collaborate with us.”

Along with returning entries, Gill said several new organizations joined the procession this year, including more school groups, as well as Portland Winterhawks Boosters, and representatives of the forthcoming new Lents-based baseball team – the Portland Pickles – who marched with the Lents Neighborhood Association.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #1442 Honor Guard leads off the parade, followed by the US Marines Color Guard Unit.

Getting a hand from Southeast Portland Boy Scout Troop 777, which meets at City Bible Church, is Parade Committee member Katheryn Notson.

Here’s 2014 Portland Rose Festival Queen of Rosaria Emma Waibel, riding with Portland Rose Festival Foundation President Frank Chinn.

Providing a lively soundtrack for the parade this year, was Kells Irish Pipes and Drums, the Beat Goes On Marching Band, and Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers. Other entries used recorded music to highlight their floats and vehicles.

The 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association President Richard Kiely, of Home Run Graphics, waves to parade watchers.

Along the parade route, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and his wife Nancy Hales greet East Portland folks.

After walking in the parade, Mayor Charlie Hales commented, “This was another great parade. It was good to see so many people out celebrating their community. It was amazing!”

“We really appreciate that the Oregon Department of Transportation (the owners of the highway) and the Portland Police Bureau have streamlined the permitting process,” Gill said. “They both provide great help to us, both before and during our parade.”

The Beat Goes On Marching Band musically entertains as they strut up the avenue.

In their colorful costumes, the Orgullo Morelense Cemiac heritage group Chinelos dancers enliven the parade with their entry.

An estimated 6,000 spectators came out to see this year’s 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade.

“We look forward to presenting an even bigger and better parade on Saturday, April 30, 2016,” Gill said. “So mark your calendar!”

2015 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade Photo Album

Now living in the Lents neighborhood, the “Belmont Goats” ride in the parade.

Ghoulish cast members of the Parkrose Haunted Ghost Town march to scare up support for their annual October event, held at Rossi Farms.

This large group from Whitman Elementary School struts along briskly.

Members of PDX Yar and King’s Navy are a colorful new entry to the parade.

Still chasing the “Pearl of Wisdom” is the colorful dragon, brought to life by Portland Lee’s Dragon & Lion Dance Association.

The Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers keeps the parade stepping briskly along.

These two officers, and their steeds, from the Portland Police Bureau Mounted Patrol are a crowed favorite.

“Scoobie” walks with classic cars, inviting everyone to the Classic Cars Cruise-in at Eastport Plaza, right after the parade.

This year’s parade produced increased community spirit, and thousands of smiles. The 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade committee thanks its sponsors:

Eastport Plaza Shopping Center ~ 82nd Avenue Business Association
Portland Community College ~ Warner Pacific College ~ Walmart
Portland Rose Festival ~ Bank of the West ~ Home Run Graphics
Portland Nursery ~ East Portland News ~ Portland Chinese Times
Fast Signs ~ The Support Group ~ Kilong Ung State Farm Agent
Portland Rose Society ~ Madison South Neighborhood
Human Solutions ~ Cartlandia ~ Eastport Beverages
Portland Winterhawks Booster Club ~ Jade District
Montavilla Neighborhood Association ~ Washman
Sargents Motor Sports ~ Todds Tire Factory
Cinemark ~ Starbucks ~ Allstate

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

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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