Thousands flock to various venues for four days of fun in towns annual rite

Aiming to embody the theme “The American Dream,” the much-anticipated annual Old Fashioned Festival celebration brought Newberg to life last week for its 33rd consecutive year.

The festival continues to add new elements and evolve over the years, such as its incorporation of the high-tech sport of geocaching (which was added in 2012) and this year’s addition of Brews & BBQ, organized by the Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce. by: GARY ALLEN - Good music and fine fireworks -- The annual fireworks show at Renne Field proved to be perfect capper to the festival and was attended by thousands on a cool evening.

And yet, some of its most beloved traditional elements remain as popular as ever. Those mainstays included Thursday’s kids parade, where children dressed up in the accoutrements of Superman, Barbie and other colorful characters and plied Sixth Street; the canine costume contest at Renne Field and the annual coronation of festival queen, held at Memorial Park.

Like any festival worth its salt, the celebration included a midway with food, art and a plethora of other attractions, and a carnival area, packed with games of skill and rides designed to shake your fillings and test your stomachs. The carnival closed up shop Saturday night, after the annual fireworks show lit up the night sky over Renne Field.

But despite the Old Fashioned Festival’s many diversions, for many fans the heart of the celebration is its Saturday morning grand parade. And it was at this lively and colorful attraction that this newspaper sought out a representative sample of the day’s festival-goers to answer an important question: What does the Old Fashioned Festival mean to you? by: GARY ALLEN - Ready for his close-up -- Maybe, an English bulldog, endures the heat July 25 as he awaits his chance to dazzle the crowd at the dog costume contest.

“I’d sum it up in one word, and that’s ‘community,’” said Karl Hughes, a member of the Newberg Noon Rotary Club who was volunteering at the Rotary’s pancake breakfast for the fifth time this year. “Newberg is unique among a lot of other towns in that we seem to have a tendency to support events and attend them. There is just a tremendous amount of volunteerism here, and that’s something I haven’t seen anywhere else.”

Hughes, who owns Allegra Print & Imaging in Newberg, said he’s also impressed by the number of businesses (more than 100 this year) who joined forces to sponsor the festival and make its wide variety of free activities possible.

by: GARY ALLEN - Members of The Beat Goes On Marching Band of Portland entertained parade-goers Saturday morning.“I’m just blown away by that,” he said. “It’s like the whole town comes together.”

Nearby, Donna and Gary Roberts were watching the parade stroll by for the 22nd time. They said they’ve attended the festival every year since they first moved to town.

Donna Roberts explained what the festival means to her.

“This is what we do. I feel like I see the whole town come out. You can go the whole year without seeing someone, but you see them here,” she said. “This festival reminds me of my small hometown. It’s not that small anymore, but it is still my hometown.”

Sitting together near them were representatives of two opposite ends of the spectrum. John Nyberg grew up and lived most of his life in Newberg, and has attended virtually every festival over the past four decades, going back to the year he was born.

Next to him was Shari Shaw, of Dundee, who was watching the Old Fashioned Festival parade for the first time.

by: GARY ALLEN - Andrew Parlette enjoys some noodles in the midway of the festival in Memorial Park.“I’m stoked about this,” she said. “I love this kind of small-town stuff. This is the reason I love living in a small town.”

Nyberg echoed her sentiments in explaining what the festival means to him. This year had special meaning to him, as the children’s stage in Memorial Park was dedicated to the memory of his mother, the late Nancy Nyberg, a longtime supporter and leader for Newberg’s Bacon Bits N Friends 4-H club.

“I was born in a Newberg hospital, and this is still a small home town,” he said. Growing up here, he explained, he got to know many of the businesses, civic leaders and volunteers that make events like the festival possible, though they rarely get the recognition they deserve. “This is kind of a showcase of the people who make this community tick.”

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