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July 4 events bring out Gorge gusto

Red Cross volunteers honored as marshals in Thursday's parade

Fourth of July events begin by the dawn’s early light and continue until the fireworks’ red glare Thursday night.

An energetic event starts the July 4 festivities: the 30th annual Joe Kollas Memorial run. Sign-ups will be at 7 a.m. at Mid Valley Elementary School in Odell. The run is held in memory of Kollas, who was an avid valley runner in the early 1970s.

Walkers start the course around 8 a.m., and runners begin at 9 a.m. The 7.4-mile course starts at the Odell Fire Station and ends at Jackson Park, with four water stations en route.

The event wraps up when the last runner crosses the finish line. Cost is $14 for the run or walk, which includes a t-shirt. Cost without the shirt is $5, with proceeds supporting the run.

Last year’s Joe Kollas event drew 155 runners and 44 walkers. The winner of the run was Dusty Lopez, with a time of 38:38, his third consecutive victory. The course record is 38:08, set in 1984 by Dan Nelson.

Volunteers are needed for the run, and should call 352-3520 for information.

Here is a rundown of the rest of the day’s celebrations:

* The local chapter of the American Red Cross and its dozens of volunteers will lead this year’s Fourth of July parade in Hood River.

The parade begins at 10 a.m. at the intersection of 12th and Pacific Streets and finishes at Jackson Park where more Independence Day festivities will be held. An Air National Guard flyover is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.

Parade participants should begin lining up at 8:30 a.m. on Pacific and 8th streets, and enter the parade route from Eliot Street with a left on 8th Street. The lineup area on Pacific is a one-way route west.

“The American Red Cross is this year’s grand marshal because of what the agency and its volunteers accomplish each year in our county and across the nation,” said Tom Yates, parade chairperson. “Whether it’s first aid classes and blood drives in Hood River or disaster recovery assistance in New York related to Sept. 11, local Red Cross volunteers have been and will go wherever they can to help people.

“We are fortunate to have a very dedicated and active chapter here in our county,” Yates added.

* At noon, flag and National Anthem ceremonies begin at Jackson Park, performed by the American Legion and the Red Cross. At 12:15 p.m., music and food will be available in Jackson Park, the Hood River Fire Department will serve its annual barbecue, and winners of the Joe Kollas Run will be announced. Musical entertainment, paid for by the City of Hood River, will run until 4 p.m., and includes the Gorge Winds Big Band, the White Salmon Jazz Band and the rock and roll of Dennis Williams and Friends.

* From noon to 3 p.m. The Heights Business Association will host a Home Run Derby at Collins Field. A pitching machine will be set up and participants can buy three balls for a dollar. Farthest hits in each age group earn cash prizes and merchandise or gift certificates from Heights merchants. “Draft cards” will be given out during the parade good for one free swing. Kids under 10 who try batting will earn snow-cones or other concession goodies. Proceeds of the Derby go to the Heights Business Association, and prize donations are being sought. To donate, drop the items off at Paddocks, 1120 12th Street, by Wednesday.

* More baseball will take place during the Fourth of July Championship Game following the parade, around noon. Parkdale McIsaac’s will face Hood River Maritime Services at the Hood River Little League Field on Nix Drive.

* At 10 p.m. a fireworks show begins at Port Marina Park, visible from various locations around town including the port property. The Eyeopeners Lions Club is gratefully receiving donations to help defray the $10,000 cost of the show.

The Fourth of July Committee is seeking ideas and assistance to make this year’s celebration successful. To help with the Joe Kollas run contact 352-3520; with the parade, Tom Yates at 386-7212; with Jackson Park activities, Kim Stolte at 386-3999; and to donate money for fireworks, send a check payable to “Lions Fireworks,” 3950 Hays Drive, Hood River, OR 97031.

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Cascade Locks has its own celebration lineup on the Fourth at Marine Park, with vendor booths and fireworks, and a salmon bake dinner from 7-8:30 p.m. Sternwheeler cruises will be held throughout the day, including sightseeing excursions at 12:30 and 3 p.m., a dinner cruise from 6-8 p.m. and a fireworks cruise from 9-11 p.m.

The celebration and fireworks were sponsored by the Port of Cascade Locks, the Cascade Locks Business Association and Cascade Locks Tourism. For sternwheeler information call 541-374-8427 or 800-643-1354 or visit:

www.sternwheeler.com

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The long-awaited dedication of the Mid-Columbia Veterans’ Memorial will take place July 4 at 10 a.m. in Sorosis Park in The Dalles. Veterans and patriots from around the state and nation will be on hand to dedicate the Memorial. Immediately following the dedication ceremonies, an old-fashioned community barbecue will be held at Sorosis Park. Proceeds will go to the Veterans Memorial fund.

The Memorial will help secure the memory of the over 5,000 Mid-Columbia region citizens who took up arms in defense of the United States.

Veterans and patriots from Oregon and Southwest Washington are cordially invited to attend the event.

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Fourth of July activities actually begin a day early when the Born Free Barbershop Quartet swings through town today.

The Tampa, Fla. foursome will perform a free 15-20 minute show of patriotic songs sometime between noon and 1 p.m. at Overlook Memorial Park on State Street.

Hood River is the quartet’s last pit stop on their way to an international barbershop competition in Portland this Friday.

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