Pre-Independence Day parade casts neighbors as trouping stars

Here’s a great traditional outer East Portland holiday event which offers much more fun than simply marching down the street …

Lynn Haldeman’s “The Oom-pah Boys” warm up the crowd outside the East Portland Community Center before the parade, and also serve as its “marching band”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It must be true that “everyone loves a parade”, because even dark clouds and a couple of raindrops couldn’t keep families from coming to the 15th Annual Independence Day celebration at the East Portland Community Center (EPCC) on July 3.

But, as folks who’ve been there know, this event is far more than just a parade.

Sarah Haarberg, one of many volunteers who do face-painting for kids and adults, creates another masterpiece.

The fun starts with activities ranging from crafts, to face painting, and climbing the Portland Parks & Recreation “wall”. And, Cherry Blossom Loaves & Fishes volunteers provide a low-cost hot dog lunch that also serves the nonprofit mid-County organization as a fundraiser.

Why the EPCC puts on the event is simple, said its director, Abbe MacFarlane. “Because we are a Community Center – bringing together community is what we do. And today, we get together and celebrate the birth of our nation.”

The event has activities for everyone, young and old, MacFarlane pointed out.

Loaves & Fishes Hot dog chef Michael Riggs passes a sizzling red-hot to Sandy Cosola – ready to be served.

East Portland Community Center Director Abbe MacFarlane lines up participants for the parade.

Seeing the Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division motorcycle officers ride up, MacFarlane started “organizing” the parade. “Not everyone gets to march in a parade, and many people want to,” she pointed out. “We give everyone who wants to march the opportunity to march in our parade.”

It’s not just little kids who seem to enjoy it, she added. “It’s people of all ages, including some of our senior citizens from CherryWood who ride, march – or simply enjoy watching the parade.”

The Portland Police Bureau Honor Guard lead off the parade; followed by two mounted officers.

Many who participate in the parade are colorfully dressed and their bicycles decorated.

These CherryWood Village residents say they’re enjoying their ride in the EPCC Parade.

Some wave flags, others hold the big “game blanket”, as they march in the EPCC Parade.

As the parade stepped out, the clouds parted and warm summer sun greeted the revelers. Those who didn’t want to be in the parade smiled as the colorful, cheerful procession passed by.

There’s more fun than simply the parade, Lalli Carrisonza discovers – taking a turn on the Parks Bureau’s climbing wall.

After the joyous throng returned from the six-block parade, fun activities continued – with participating kids being rewarded with swimming pool passes.

From all of here at East Portland News, we hope you had a safe and enjoyable July 4th celebration.

> On the front page … With flag in hand, Isadora Vasquez is ready to march in the parade.

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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