Summer shows successfully combined, in Lents

Here’s the result when volunteers merge the Ramona Street Fair with “Lents Founder’s Day” …

It’s “The Beat Goes On Marching Band”, leading off the Lents Street Fair and Parade.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Having been annexed into the City of Portland 102 years ago, Lents is the oldest outlying neighborhood – and Lents has commemorated its founder, Oliver P. Lent, every August – with a “Lents Founder’s Day” celebration.

> Read Body shop owner researches, writes Lents history and see why Randy Dagel took on the task of researching and writing up this fascinating story, along with a link to his article: CLICK HERE.

And, in 2010, Lents neighbors created the Ramona Street Fair, held in July each year.

On July 27 of this year, a combined celebration was launched: The Lents Street Fair and Parade.

The Unipiper, Brian Kidd, as seen on Good Morning America and Jimmy Kimmel Live national television shows, performs in the parade.

The Famous Belmont Goats – now the Famous Lents Goats – get a ride along the parade route.

The parade featured a marching band, a unicyclist playing a flaming bagpipe, and politicians US Senator Ron Wyden and Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman. It also had “walking units” and bicycle riders who waved to the people gathered along SE 92nd Avenue, where the parade formed just north of Lents Town Center.

The march circled Lents Park, and headed south on SE 88th Avenue, east on SE Steele Street, before marching through the Lents Street Fair, set up on SE 89th Avenue, next to the Lents International Farmers Market.

Driving his 1969 RSS Chevy Camaro, Cinema Classics Car Club’s Ted Finlay waves to the crowd.

As the Lents Street Fair opens, host Jesse Cornett says many volunteers have worked to produce the day’s fun.

“This is a new iteration of the festivals that have been going on for decades,” said the event’s chief host, and Lents Neighborhood Association President, Jesse Cornett.

“In different forms we celebrated Founders Day. This is the latest and greatest day of this neighborhood celebration,” Cornett told East Portland News. “Each event took a great deal of volunteer resources to produce. So today, we’re celebrating our founder, Oliver P. Lent, and at the same time combining that with our Street Fair.”

The parade snakes through the Lents Street Fair, and US Senator Ron Wyden takes his re-election campaign to the people.

The event is important because it is a way of “community building”, Cornett said. “Our aim is to get people out of their homes, and into the street to meet one another. Many of those here today are from Lents; others have come from far away.”

What happens when community building occurs, Cornett pointed out, “Is that people are more familiar with one another. They get to know their neighbors in a meaningful way.”

As the parade winds down, Sean Parks shepherds kids from both the Parks and Todd families through the Lents Street Fair.

The parade brings in a crowd to the first-ever Lents Street Fair.

Portland Fire & Rescue Lents Station 11 Firefighter Dion Solomon helps Nailani Solomon spray water from the engine.

But, the overall reason more than 100 volunteers worked on some portion of the event is “to have fun,” Cornett said. “Who doesn’t enjoy a parade, a street fair, entertainment – all of it right next to the Lents International Farmers Market?”

Neighbors interested in becoming involved in their area, or who have a unique need, are invited to the monthly Lents Neighborhood Association meeting. It starts at 7:00 PM at Lents Activity Center Auditorium, 8835 SE Woodstock Boulevard. For more information, see their website (CLICK HERE) – or contact their Chair, Jesse Cornett, at

© 2014 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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