Beaverton Celebration parade honors city's 125th anniversary
Tom Owens was watching his first Beaverton Celebration parade, having moved from Tigard to Creekside Village just two months ago.
He marched for eight years in New York's St. Patrick's Day parade, one of the largest and oldest in the nation, dating to 1762.
But Saturday's 61st annual edition of Beaverton Celebration, which also observed the city's 125th anniversary, did not disappoint with its 87 entries.
"The small ones are fun, too," said Owens, who with his wife had lived in Tigard for 44 years. "There is more involvement by local people."
Like other parades of its kind, Beaverton Celebration boasted marching bands — and not just from the high schools — youth and civic groups, commercial and government entries, even an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.
This year's parade, sponsored by Beaverton Honda and others, featured 125 grand marshals instead of just one. But there weren't 125 convertibles for them to ride in on the 1.85-mile route.
"They'll be walking and we will pray for a cool day," Mayor Denny Doyle said jokingly in advance of the parade.
Doyle got his wish. The skies were overcast, but the rain held off.
The parade began near Fir Grove Elementary School, wound its way east on Allen Boulevard and north on Erickson Avenue before turning east on 5th Street — past the Beaverton City Library and Park — and ending in Griffith Park.
City Councilor Mark Fagin chose to walk part of the route twice — once with the other council members, and again with Metro Councilor Kathryn Harrington, also of Beaverton, who is running for Washington County board chair.
Harrington was a bit wistful about a convertible, because she is recovering from back surgery.
"I could use it," she said. "I am not supposed to twist, but I've been overdoing it. I was dancing with the band."
She has been a past participant, having been on the Metro Council for 12 years.
"It's a great community event," she said. "You have the Diversity Advisory Board, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts — and the bands are wonderful."
Four members of the city's Diversity Advisory Board did sandwich themselves into a small red convertible.
Two former state lawmakers who once represented Beaverton — and who still live in Beaverton — also took part.
Suzanne Bonamici, elected in 2012 as a U.S. representative, handed out candy to children and adults alike and chatted with some of them briefly.
"I do this whenever I can," she said. "It's a great parade — and I like parades where I can walk."
Tobias Read, elected in 2016 as state treasurer, also marched with some of the same people who have accompanied him for years.
"I like the fact that everybody comes out and you see such a mix of people that looks more like Oregon," he said. "You can see the people and groups doing the things that make Beaverton a special place."
Kate Kristiansen organized Beaverton's first Pride in the Park on June 24. Next year, on June 23, she has city permission to stage a separate parade in connection with that event. But there was a reason for her taking part in Beaverton Celebration.
"We are planning the 2019 Pride Parade in Beaverton and this is what we are doing to announce it. There's nothing like a 17-foot-tall unicorn to announce an event," she said as she geared up to tow the cardboard figure. "We have a parade route. Now we are looking for sponsors, participants and walkers."