Sunny day sparks extra-big 'Monster March' crowd in Westmoreland
Trying to describe the "Moreland Monster March" to someone who has never experienced it is difficult.
It's not quite a parade – but more than a thousand people were parading in the streets of Westmoreland, mostly in Hallowe'en costume, during the Monster March again this year, on Sunday afternoon, October 27. The turnout was even better than usual, since unlike many years, the sun was shining down on the marchers.
No one 'marches"; families leisurely mosey along the 14-block loop – led by Portland Police Traffic Division officers and the Sellwood Middle School Marching Band – starting and ending at Llewellyn Elementary School at S.E. 14th and Tolman, with kids collecting candy and goodies from merchants and neighbors along the way.
"Well, I'd call it a … I mean, it's more like a …" neighbor George King reached for words, as he and his family prepared to step off, heading east on Tolman Street, the first leg of the march. "It's really not like anything else; the 'Monster March' is a unique community event."
The Monster March was started by a couple of families of Llewellyn students in the fall of 2001, who wanted to have a joyful event to counterbalance the sadness of the New York City and Washington D.C. terrorist attacks on September 11 of that year, and has continued ever since.
"The Sellwood Moreland Business Alliance [SMBA] has been involved with it for about 15 years, helping," remarked business association member Tom Brown, as he and his daughter unloaded cases of apple cider, and more than 1,000 cookies, at the school playground for an after-march snack, provided by Westmoreland QFC Market.
From cute to kooky, simple to elaborate, the mass of costumed "marchers" wandered south on Milwaukie Avenue, then west on Bybee, and north again on 14th, collecting candy along the way, on the way back to the starting point – where again, as is usually the case, the start of the parade caught up with its departing end.
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