'Avenue of Roses Parade' returns; delights thousands
As planned, the two-mile 11th annual 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade rolled from Eastport Plaza up into the Montavilla neighborhood – from Holgate Boulevard north to S.E. Stark Street – on the morning of April 28, delighting thousands of spectators, and the hundreds who participated in the joyful procession.
The early Rose Festival event went off without a hitch, putting to rest a rumor that the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade had been killed off forever by the groups of rowdies who'd promised menacing behavior the previous year.
After a decade of bringing the East Portland community together, and being the first major Portland Rose Festival celebration of the year, last year's parade was cancelled at the last minute due to escalating threats of violence and disruption. But it was only a one-year break, as it turned out.
"The 2018 parade theme was 'Play Happy', and this year the parade was truly a happy day, thanks to our volunteers, parade entrants, and all of the people who came out to enjoy the parade," grinned Dianne Gill, Eastport Plaza Manager, and a member of the Parade Committee. "Even though sprinkles were forecast, there wasn't a hint of rain as our 54 parade entries – with about 950 walkers or marchers, and more than 100 vehicles and floats – enchanted people along the parade route!"
During the parade, folks waved to members of the elegantly-dressed contingent of the Royal Rosarians, waved at members of the Portland Rose Society and their "Mobile Rose Garden" as they passed, and smiled at the many pageant queens and princesses who rode in the parade.
And, when music provided by Kells Irish Pipes and Drums Corps, the Creston School Marching Band, and the Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers echoed far and wide, crowds of people from surrounding neighborhoods were drawn to 82nd to cheer on all of the participants.
Working year 'round, a dozen dedicated volunteers on the Parade Committee, this year Chaired by Johnni Jones, labored behind the scenes to put on this spectacle.
"We do it because it brings a fun activity to 82nd Avenue of Roses, and the east side of Portland," said Nancy Chapin, the Board President of "PDX Bridge Festival", the nonprofit organization that stepped up this year to serve as the parade's fiscal sponsor.
"Bringing together civic groups, businesses, and neighbors for a day of celebrating East Portland, is what makes this unique," remarked Chapin, a founding member of the Parade Committee.
The parade public address announcers this year, stationed at the starting point at Eastport Plaza, were Patrick Provant of the nearby Holgate Branch Library, and Eric Norberg, Editor of THE BEE.
"Save the date!" organizers say – for the 12th edition of the "82nd Avenue of Roses Parade": Saturday morning, April 27, 2019.