Patti Fink looked around in pre-parade desperation Wednesday as she tried to hang the American flag on the Pink Trolley.
“Does anyone have duct tape?” asked Fink, director of Columbia Area Transit, getting ready for the parade at the Pacific Avenue formation area.
As if scripted, a young man standing five feet away turned and handed Fink a roll of American flag duct tape.
“Thank you very much!” Fink said, and without being asked, Ray Rockefeller of Hood River held up one end of the flag while Fink taped it on the front of the vehicle, which had a special role before the Independence Day Parade, passing out candy in advance of the parade, an effort started last year with Lions and the Veterans Service office, in light of the “no-candy” rule.
Thousands of people lined the parade route on 12th and May streets, and were not disappointed with the hour-long array of cars, horses, marching bands, bicycles, more cars and horses, and plenty of people walking and carrying signs, flags and a plethora of balloons.
July 4 events organizer Tom Yates of Hood River Lions said, “The parade and Jackson Park events went well,” with more than 74 entries with applications.
“About a dozen entries utilized the theme ‘Heroes in My Heart’ and it was good to have POW and former city administrator Lynn Guenther as our grand marshal,” Yates said. (Article, page A5.)
Grand Prize in entry judging went to Columbia Gorge Beekeepers, with their “Bee Kind” float and bee and flower-attired participants. Judging was done by Stu and Kathy Watson, who looked for originality, creativity, and how well they employed the “Heroes in Our Hearts” theme.
Pollinators as heroes were one example, with others including military veterans, mentors, firefighters, the late Judge Will Carey, and Welles Crowther, who gave his life for others in the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy.
“Most of the entries had looks of July 4/Independence Day. Many people put a lot of work into their float. I liked Robert Godard’s homemade 23-foot ‘Beaver Believer’ Simons Sea Skiff,” Yates said (photo, page A8).
Godard won Best Individual for his orange boat, one of three in the parade (and all on trailers) along with the Hood River Outriggers Club and the Hood River County Sheriff’s Department marine patrol.
Best Non-Profit entry was Columbia Gorge Climate Action Network.
Best Commercial was a tie between Windermere Realty and Little Sprouts Preschool.
Best Kids entry went to Immanuel Lutheran Church.
The Best Music Award went to the local band The Wasco Bros., who dished up rock and alternate country from a flatbed truck.
See page A8 for more photos of award winners
“It was the first time, in my directing the parade, that we had more than one marching band,” Yates said, referring to the U.S. Army band based in Vancouver, and the Portland-based “Let the Good Times Roll” band and baton squad.
“Both played well going down 12th and May Streets and then had programs in Jackson Park,” which filled with picnickers, many enjoying barbecue sold by Hood River Fire Department.
Yates acknowledged a number of groups and businesses:
“Thanks to the Columbia Gorge Family Medicine who opens its facilities when we have out of town bands.
“We had the Girls Scout Troop 11415 raise the flag and a good patriotic speech titled ‘America’s History: Our hope for the future’ by Philip J. Dunagan of Mosier who gave it at the Hood River Memorial Day ceremony after winning first place in the Oregon VFW and second place in the United States.
“The firework show put on by the Early Morning Lions Club was fantastic as usual.
“We received very good assistance from the City of Hood River and the city and county law enforcement with traffic control. The Hood River Chamber of Commerce had the 300 posters printed that were put up all around the county.