Parading in place
METRO — Pink flamingos symbolize more than just amusing, plastic outdoor decor for Lake Oswego resident Angela Daniels — they represent neighborhood connection.
That's why Daniels and her two children, Parker and Tabitha, along with husband, Scott, chose to decorate their First Addition house with a flamingo theme as part of Portland Rose Festival's Parading in Place.
With large gatherings banned through September, the Rose Festival will look a bit different this year.
Community members around the Portland metro area have decorated their porches and registered for free to be part of the Porch Parade. Registered homes will be added to the virtual Porch Parade Map at www.paradinginplace.com/the-porch-parade-map, and porches will be documented by a VIP procession May 23 and 30.
Decorations on porches — or sidewalks, lawns or windows — will stay up until midnight May 30. Each entry receives a lawn sign commemorating involvement.
It's mostly individuals (and not businesses) creating displays for the Porch Parade, said Mariel Bunnage, Rose Festival events specialist. The festival is working with the Royal Rosarians to ensure all rose garden participants receive a lawn sign as well.
"Currently we have over 300 entries comprised of porch decorations and rose gardens," she said. "We have had an incredibly positive response from the community, which has made this virtual event a success already."
Examples of decorations/gardens can be found on the Rose Festival Instagram page — @pdxrosefesival, #paradinginplace and #rfporchparade. There have been a lot of homemade flowers, an undersea theme and illuminated displays among the entries. "Even cats are involved," Bunnage said.
The festival has worked with esteemed float builder Gene Dent and his company for many years. This year, it's more about the individuals and their creations.
"The purpose of decorating is to unleash creativity and bring a smile to your friends and neighbors, and we have been seeing some incredible results," Bunnage said.
And, like with floats and Rose Festival celebrations, Parading in Place has attracted strong involvement from suburban folks.
Lake Oswego's Daniels was one of the first 100 to register, so she received a parade lawn sign in her yard last week.
She decided to commit.
The flamingo theme was a no-brainer. Before Daniels moved to Lake Oswego in 2013, she was living in Reno, Nevada.
In her neighborhood, she said everyone knew one another and they organized an outdoor party every Friday in summer called "Flamingo Friday." They would have flamingo lawn ornaments to signify who was hosting the party and people would flock to their driveway or yard for a "super informal hangout."
"Every time I see flamingos it reminds me of that neighborhood feel," Daniels said. "I've been kind of thinking about it as we've been in self-isolation, just thinking of ways to do something fun for the neighbors."
After deciding to decorate their porch, Daniels was on a walk when she noticed a neighbor's yard had been "flocked." They had ordered the service from a company called Think Pink Flamingo Flocking, which had placed plastic flamingos all over the yard.
Daniels said she had gotten rid of her flamingos during the move to Oregon so she had to order more if she wanted to fulfill her decoration idea.
But shipping times were extended due to the health crisis, so she reached out to the company, which usually loans the flamingos for a couple days. Daniels asked whether she could rent them for a couple weeks and was grateful the company was on board.
The flamingos in her yard also are wearing masks.
"We have to do something that's really visually impactful," said Daniels, adding that she plans to decorate her light pole as a rose and display more flamingo-related items for the Porch Parade. "As we all know, we have limited options. ... This is all me crossing my fingers. It's a very DIY (do-it-yourself) adventure."
Daniels' high school-age daughter, Tabitha, was involved in the Junior Rose Festival Parade when she was in elementary school, and Daniels said they are looking forward to being involved again.
"It gives us something to look forward to," she said. "I would love for all of Lake Oswego to get involved. We're a super walkable community, and I just think this adds a lot of fun to it."
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