Oregon City’s Clackamette Park will transform into one of Clackamas County’s largest events May 2-4 as local Optimist Club organizers promise fun for all ages in the 16th Annual Pioneer Family Festival.

by: FILE PHOTO - Go-carts and an air-soft shooting range are among the many events families have to look forward to at this weekends Pioneer Fest in Oregon City.This year, visitors will enjoy some of the festival favorites such as the 17th Annual Teddy Bear Parade Saturday, May 3, at 10:30 a.m., one of Oregon City’s signature events. During the huge carnival presented by Davis Shows Northwest, laser tag will come to the festival for the first time, an air-soft shooting range will replace a paintball range, and the National Guard is coming for the first time with a rock wall.

by: FILE PHOTO - Rebekah Burton, a festival organizer performing in Tribe of the Outcast, began partnering with the event in 2001, when she started the 'Unveil Your Life-Protection Fair.'The parade will begin at 10th and Main street and heads behind the Oregon City Shopping Center into Clackamette Park, a 1.10-mile route to gather new teddy bears and stuffed animals that are given to law enforcement agencies, fire departments, emergency rooms, children’s hospitals and women’s shelters in Clackamas County. These stuffed animals are then distributed throughout Clackamas County to children who need comfort in times of crisis. This year’s parade theme “Celebrate Service” encourages participants to honor the community’s emergency personnel who protect citizens.

Jerry Ryan, president of the Oregon Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Oregon City Rotary Club Foundation, has been chosen as the grand marshal for the parade. Junior Grand Marshall Maurie Harbick is a sophomore at Oregon City High School and was also elected Region 7 representative for the National Association of Student Councils for the next two years. He became the first Oregon student to be elected to represent nine western states at the national level.

After the parade

Lions Clubs International launched a 10-year commitment in 2013 toward increasing reading and literacy rates worldwide. Answering that call, the Beavercreek Lions Club will be bringing a “StoryWalk” concept to downtown Oregon City on May 3 immediately after the Teddy Bear Parade. The featured book is “The Teddy Bear” by David McPhail and is geared toward younger readers (5-7 years of age) and their parents/caregivers. Pages will be posted at a child’s eye level in the windows of the downtown area businesses, starting at Clackamas Auto Parts, winding through downtown and past the elevator, ending at Coffee Rush.

It just so happens that one of the participating businesses, Maizee Mae’s Antiques & Treasures, 714 Main St., will be celebrating its one-year anniversary on the day of the teddy bear parade. To thank the community, it will be offering free popcorn and balloons, along with a 30 percent discount on store items.

After watching or participating in the parade, organizers also encourage crowds to stroll the grounds of Clackamette Park and visit the many booths of commercial vendors, crafters and community information. Visitors will also be invited to enjoy great food from one of the many food vendors while listening to informative speakers, special guests and some great entertainment on the festival’s Main Stage all weekend long.

All money raised from the Pioneer Family Festival goes to the Oregon City Optimist Club. The Optimist Club is a nonprofit group of volunteers that gives thousands of dollars annually to help fund programs, including the O.C. Drug and Alcohol Free Grad Party and the Oregon City Library’s Summer Reading Program.

Festival history, current lineup

The Pioneer Family Festival was started in 1999 by Rocky Smith Jr., who is now a city commissioner and still helps coordinate the event, One of the biggest changes came when he met Rebekah Burton and began partnering with her for the event. In 2001, she started the “Unveil Your Life-Protection Fair” in Clackamas to bring out the awareness of domestic violence after she had become a victim herself.

This year’s food vendors include Royal Cuisine, serving Polish sausage, hot dogs, corn dogs, hamburgers and more; Tony’s Fresh Fruit and Mexican Food; an elephant-ear maker; and those serving cotton candy and ice cream among other favorite carnival treats.

Presented by The FP Lab, the May 3 Oregon City Skate Competition at the Oregon City Skate Park kicks off at noon following the Teddy Bear Parade. Skaters of all ages will compete and prizes will be awarded. Register onsite beginning at 11 a.m.

The Annual Oregon City BMX Competition will take place on May 4 at the Oregon City Skate Park, and skaters of all ages will compete in three events based on skill level:

The Main Stage will offer music all weekend long including Tribe of the Outcast, Mosby, Mark Elmer, St. Jack’s Parade and many more throughout the entire weekend. For the complete entertainment schedule, go to

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