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Last year it was cancelled due to threats - this year the first Rose Fest parade of the year returns

DAVID F. ASHTON - This was the 2016 Avenue of Roses Parade in progress; BEE photographer David Ashton, who took the picture, will be on hand with his camera to cover the parade again this year.The "82nd Avenue of Roses Parade" is officially the first parade of each year's Rose Festival, and it has been drawing crowds for over a decade -- with a recess last year, when threats of disruption exchanged between two political groups led organizers to cancel it, fearing danger for attendees. This year it's back, and bigger than ever. A key parade organizer is Nancy Chapin, herself a Brentwood-Darlington resident and a major supporter of the city's business districts. Nancy sees the parade as a way to highlight the ongoing revitalization of Southeast Portland near and beyond S.E. 82nd, and to celebrate the many cultures that have moved and settled there. There are 54 entries in the parade this year, and five marching bands. The parade assembles in the Eastport Plaza parking lot a short distance north of Holgate Boulevard, and will be stepping out at 9:30 a.m. a.m., proceeding northward for a mile or so to the disbanding area.

It lasts about an hour, and it would not be amiss to have a raincoat or umbrella with you, and to be dressed warmly, because the summerline weather of the previous week is forecast to turn cold and sprinkly over the weekend, including at parade time. If you observe the parade near its starting point at Eastport Plaza, you will hear a public address system announcing the participants as they reach the street and turn north. The two announcers will be Patrick Provant, who is on the staff of the nearby Holgate Branch Library, and Eric Norberg, Editor of THE BEE. The pair also were in an announcing stand near the end of the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade route, announcing that parade for bystanders, just last June.

The Grand Marshall of this year's parade is the "Portland Winterhawks Booster Club" -- which is a nonprofit organization which raises funds for many local charities, including the Children's Cancer Association, Backpack Buddies, and other programs assisting youth and youth at risk. Also in the parade will be the Portland Winterhawks' mascot, Tomahawk. Following the parade, a family carnival will take place on the Eastport Plaza parking lot from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., also on Saturday (April 28th).

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