Edgewater resident is leading a citywide event that may become city's signature festival

BARBARA SHERMAN - Jaimie Fender is putting her event-planning and legal skills to good use by leading the effort to create a Fourth of July festival that will hopefully draw both sides of the city together for fun and food.Parades move slowly, but thank goodness Jaimie Fender doesn't.

She has taken on Edgewater's annual Fourth of July activities and wants to include the entire city; in a few short weeks, Fender not only has a parade organized but also food carts, vendors and kids' activities. And she has given the event a name and is setting up a non-profit foundation to receive donations and contributions.

Fender, who has two very young children and works as an attorney, has become a recent fixture at King City City Council meetings. When she first attended a meeting in April, she said that after many years of successful parades followed by food and children's activities in King City Community Park, last year's event fell flat.

"I said I can't criticize it because I didn't help," she said. "I was an event planner before I went to law school, and I'm on a lot of committees."

Last year there was no Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue fire engine, Washington County Sheriff's Office deputy in a patrol car or other vehicles as usual, and there were no activities in the park.

Fender said that instead of being critical of why someone didn't organize it, she decided to do something about it, and she gave the City Council an update at its May 17 meeting.

She is now the chair of the Fourth of July Committee and is setting up the 501(3)(c) King City Community Foundation "to get funding going forward to create a sustainable event," Fender said.

According to Fender, the city's Fourth of July event is being called the Walk, Rock 'n' Roll Festival, with the KCCA golf cart parade going on as usual, including a turn-around at King City Senior Village (formerly Pacific Pointe Retirement Inn).

The Edgewater parade, which features families with kids in decorated strollers, wagons, bikes and trikes, will follow the city's 50th anniversary parade route used last August.

It will conclude at Community Park, "where there will be food trucks, vendors' booths, a band and activities around the quarter-mile track," Fender said. "We are focused on getting local vendors, and we are reaching out to the local businesses."

Fender also said she had opened a bank account for the foundation.

"What we want from the city is to either waive permit fees or assist us and also waive vendor fees this first year," Fender said. "We are asking these vendors to set up their booths and bring their products, and we don't know how many people will come, so they are doing it at their own risk.

"We hope to cover the marketing expenses through sponsors, and we will be coming back (to the council) to ask for funding and maybe to donate food such as ice cream or Popsicles. I will come back in two weeks with more details."

Fender said she would work with City Manager Mike Weston about getting power to the park and also setting up a stage. "We need to measure and stake the vendors' spots on the track so we can start doing the contracts," she said. "And we are asking the city to provide insurance."

Fender said she had contacted TVF&R and WCSO about providing vehicles and expected that the activities in the park would run between 10 a.m. and p.m.

"We would break it down between 2 and 3, and then people could get home to barbecue or whatever they want to do," said Fender. "This has grown into quite an event."

She also talked to the Regal Courier on May 11, explaining that since planning started, "this event has really grown. This has the potential to be a huge celebration, and we are laying the foundation for something to last into the future. We also need to bridge the two sides of the city."

On tap are the ever-popular face painter, balloon man and a petting zoo, according to Fender. "I hope we have a farm stand, and I've reached out to the Bull Mountain Farmers' Market to see if some of their vendors want to participate," she said. "I want to support local businesses, and there will be only one vendor for each product like skin care and a clothing line.

"We don't know how many people will show up but I would think at least 200," she said. "People need to know to bring their wallets, but I hope we can give away some food too. This is a grass-roots festival and provides great opportunities for groups to have a booth to promote their cause or sell something. The Girl Scouts are interested in a booth and maybe the KCCA pool fundraiser committee.

"The other thing I think would be fun is that we should do a dunk tank. Maybe pay to dunk the mayor? I don't want to line the entire track with fundraisers."

Fender said that during her meeting with Mayor Ken Gibson, "I told him that contractually the city should take this over. At this point we want to say the event is supported and sanctioned by the city but not funded by it yet. We are looking for sponsors!"

She has put together a committee to work on the event that includes representatives from the King City Lions Club, the Edgewater Homeowners Association, the City Council and other organizations.

"No matter what happens, it will be an adventure," Fender said.

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