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DAVID F. ASHTON - Here comes the Sellwood Middle School Band, up S.E. 13th Avenue northward in Sellwood. Clearly, few who participated in the parade or carnival were Irish. Many of the participants and observers weren’t even associated with St. Agatha Catholic School. Nonetheless, a delighted throng was caught up in the “spirit of St. Patrick’s Day” throughout the Sellwood area on Saturday, March 14.


“Welcome to our 17th Annual Sellwood-Moreland St. Patrick’s Day festivities,” grinned this year’s organizer, Heidi LaValley.

Having been on the committee for several years, LaValley said she was selected to lead the 150 or more volunteers who put on the events of the day.

“We all work together on the parade and festival,” LaValley told THE BEE, “because it’s a great celebration for both adults and kids. By being involved, we show our children the importance of contributing to our community.”

Months of planning pays off for her on the day of the event itself, LaValley remarked. “It’s a time when we celebrate with friends, greet neighbors, and have a fun time.

“To see the smiles on kids’ faces when they march in the parade, and play the carnival games, makes it a wonderful day for me,” LaValley added.

The day’s steady rain this year might have discouraged some participants from joining the parade, which travels through a good part of the neighborhood. But many intrepid marchers showed up in rain gear – and even broke out umbrellas – to take part in the procession.

St. Agatha Catholic School Principal Chris Harris told us he was enjoying this local tradition for the first time. “In fact, this is the event to which I've been most looking forward. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into preparing for the festival and the parade, and I’m seeing that effort pay off.”

Impressive to him, Harris reflected, is that it is truly a community event. “We’re delighted that the Sellwood Middle School Marching Band turns out in force, and it’s wonderful to see all the different organizations and groups that come together to be part of this celebration.”

In the main festival tent, the Clackamas Fire Fighters’ Pipes & Drum Corps kicked off the day. The main stage offered revelers plenty of live music and Irish dance demonstrations.

Highlights of the carnival, held in the school’s gym, were once again the “Cake Walk”, and green cotton candy floss – in addition to the many carnival games of chance and skill.

After participating in these activities, many families availed themselves of the food, which was themed for the occasion.

The day is also a fundraiser, LaValley pointed out. “This helps us provide special events for our students, and fund our arts programs and other departments. So, it’s having fun, and raising funds – a good combination.”

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