Lake Oswego is planning an all-American Fourth of July
Lake Oswego will pay tribute to the nation's birthday next week with an all-American celebration of freedom and a recognition of the right to life, liberty — and especially the pursuit of happiness — that makes the United States of America unique.
That pursuit will take the form of patriotic music, a pancake breakfast, a Star Spangled Parade and, for the first time, two fireworks shows that will fill the night sky with colorful displays.
"Lake Oswego is a special place to be with your family and celebrate all things that make America a great place to live," says Jamie Inglis, the City's recreation supervisor. "This celebration is all-American, and it reminds us of all the great things about our country."
As always, Lake Oswego's Fourth of July festivities will actually kick off on July 3, when the Millennium Concert Band honors veterans with a free evening of patriotic music in Millennium Plaza Park (200 First St.). The concert is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, when the Lake Oswego Police Department Honor Guard will present the colors.
Pancakes and sausages will await diners from 7 a.m.-noon on Wednesday, July 4, at the Lake Oswego Lions Club's 69th-annual pancake breakfast in George Rogers Park (611 S. State St.). The cost is $9 for adults and $6 for kids younger than 12; proceeds benefit Lions Club programs throughout the year.
At 10 a.m. on the Fourth, hundreds of people will meander through downtown Lake Oswego in the always-popular Star Spangled Parade, which starts at the intersection of Iron Mountain Boulevard and Chandler Road, heads down 10th Street and along A Avenue, and finishes in Millennium Plaza Park.
The parade will feature all of the traditional fanfare — including lots of candy tossed to youngsters along the route. But this year, parade watchers will be treated to a few new additions, including a contingent of active-duty soldiers from the Oregon National Guard and their families, who will lead the parade.
"Lake Oswego has always had an old-school Fourth of July celebration, but this year we thought it was important to acknowledge those who are currently serving and making that sacrifice for our freedom," Inglis says.
The parade will also feature appearances by Portland's marching drum corps, the Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers; local veterans in vintage military vehicles, joined by representatives of the Lake Oswego Veterans Memorial; the Portland Youth Pipe Band; Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts; classic cars; and a patriotic plethora of decorated bicycles, tricycles, strollers and shopping carts.
Registration for the parade ended June 11, but individuals and families who would like to participate are encouraged to join the festivities at the parade staging area on Lake Garden Court (off Iron Mountain Boulevard) at 9 a.m.
After the parade ends, the celebration will continue until 1:30 p.m. in Millennium Plaza Park with live music, a pie-eating contest, face painting, balloon animals and more.
At noon, the Lake Oswego Corporation will host its annual Fourth of July boat parade on Lakewood Bay, featuring all types of water vessels outfitted for America's birthday. Later in the week, the Lake Corp will host its annual Ski and Wakeboard Extravaganza at the Briede Docks on Lakewood Bay; it's scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 7.
In a first for Lake Oswego, this year's Fourth of July festivities will feature not one but two fireworks shows.
In previous years, the City contributed partial funding to a show hosted by the private Lake Corp at the west end of Oswego Lake, with a public viewing area at the Lake Grove Swim Park. That show will still happen this year, but without any financial involvement from the City.
Instead, Lake Oswego will put on its own public show at George Rogers Park, with fireworks launched from a barge on the Willamette River. The inaugural Star Spangled Fireworks Spectacular is scheduled to begin at 9:30 p.m., although the start time could be delayed by up to 30 minutes, depending on the weather and amount of remaining daylight.
The main viewing area for the 20-minute show will be the baseball fields at George Rogers Park, but the show is also intended to be viewed from Millennium Plaza Park downtown, giving residents a choice of venues.
All three of the George Rogers parking lots will be available for viewers, along with street parking on the north side. Viewers can also park at the public parking lot next to the Willamette Shore Trolley station and walk to George Rogers, and attendees at Millennium Plaza will have access to the Lake View Village and Windward public parking garages.
Police officials said the show could cause traffic backups in the downtown area, but not on a greater scale than what residents usually see during downtown events such as the Festival of the Arts.
"There always is (traffic congestion) with these events," says LOPD Lt. Darryl Wrisley. "We're just hoping that people will carpool in, maybe catch Uber or Lyft or something like that, and coordinate that ahead of time."
Police also expect the usual traffic and parking issues on streets around the Lake Grove Swim Park as residents arrive for the Lake Corp show. Indeed, every LOPD officer will be on duty Wednesday to make sure people have fun and stay safe, the department says.
For more information about all of the Fourth of July events, go to tinyurl.com/StarSpangledLO.