Bear-ly contained joy
You never know what you will see during the Teddy Bear Parade — bears riding horses, dogs driving cars, clowns, bands, karate masters and even Santa Claus. But the one guaranteed thing during the annual celebration is that the thousands who flock to downtown Gresham will all have huge smiles on their faces.
The 36th annual Teddy Bear Parade, organized by Soroptimist International of Gresham, continued its tradition of bringing what seems like the whole city out to celebrate while supporting good causes Saturday morning, Sept. 29. The school districts, law enforcement and fire department, elected officials and hopeful candidates, nonprofit organizations, businesses and many others comprise the bulk of parade participants. This year's parade had more than 100 entries and almost 2,000 participants winding through the streets of downtown.
Of course, the teddy bears theme was embraced as always. Most of the floats and people walking had their favorite stuffed friends along for the ride, while the hundreds of kids watching brought their own.
While the parade is focused on fun, everything supports the good causes the Soroptimists champion. The group is able to use the support from more than 35 sponsors, including important partners Weston Kia and Mt. Hood Community College, to fund scholarships, mentorship programs and career training for young women and girls.
The Soroptimists is a global volunteer network of women in 130 countries and territories that works to improve the lives of women and girls. The local chapter spearheads events throughout the year, including the Teddy Bear Parade, to support the community.
And if you can't bear the thought that you missed the festivities this year, have no fear. The Soroptimists are already thinking of ways to make the parade bigger and better for next year.
Check out all the photos from the event: