Ranchers turn out for parade
By John Bowler
Despite threatening gray skies and temperatures in the 40s, the annual Crooked River Ranch Olde-Fashioned Christmas celebration drew a long parade of floats, animals, old cars and Ranchers all decked out for the coming holidays.
As usual, it was a matter of debate among the event promoters and veteran parade observers how well the latest version compared with previous editions.
The consensus of the former is it was bigger and better than ever, with more parade entries and bigger crowds, more of the younger set to jostle for the privilege of sitting on Santa's knee to tell him what they wanted for gifts, and more displays and customers at the Artists and Crafters Show.
Naysayers contend the floats were less dramatic, with gaps between the various parade elements, and the crowds were not as large or as enthusiastic as in the past. Take your pick of who you believe, because it is a familiar twin refrain.
Without a doubt, Ranchers spent a lot of time and effort preparing for their role in the event, and it went off like clockwork from 11 a.m. until dark Saturday, Dec. 1.
What's more, the motives that spurred all the activity and effort were in the traditional Christmas spirit of good will between neighbors and a determination by those involved to make it all enjoyable and to have fun.
It was rewarding to watch the parade lining up again under the direction of veteran parade impresario Julia Randall, who has done it before over a dozen times despite vowing last year that the 2011 edition was her swan song in that role. The crowd loved the product she produced for their entertainment.
Another important repeater was Crooked River Realty's Nancy Popp, who again took instant pictures of kids sitting on Santa's knees which she handed to them or their grateful parents gratis for keepsakes. Years of practice have made her very proficient at the task and she carries it off like she's having a ball.
Popp's husband Gary tends the company float, which is always one of the parade's most elaborate, and he was on the job again this year making sure it was ready to haul Santa in grand style for all to see.
The Ranch Olde-Fashioned Christmas of 2012 repeated as an annual hit, according to Hope Johnson, executive director of the CRR/Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce, and Cheryl McCawley of the Artists and Crafters Guild -- the two organizations which sponsor the event.