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Celebrating the red, white, and blue

Prineville will have a city-wide party on July 4, complete with an early breakfast, activities for the entire family, and some new traditions

by: CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Family games, like this one from the 2011 Family Fourth of July, will once again be a part of the Independence Day festivities.

Prineville will celebrate the Fourth of July big this year, with some old traditions and some new ones. The festivities will be held in a different venue, and some old celebrations will be back for those who wish to join the fun.
   Whether young or old, the town will be humming with activities for the entire family. Bring a chair, round up the family, and let the festivities begin.
   Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast
   The first annual Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast will be offered to hungry patrons at 7 a.m., on the Crook County Courthouse lawn.
   According to Kiwanis member Karole Stockton, there used to be a breakfast offered by another group on the Fourth of July. Somewhere along the way, the tradition fell off, and the Kiwanis are picking it back up.
   “We have a (Kiwanis) team ready this year that wants to do it,” said Stockton. She noted that they are hoping it will be an annual event, and it only costs $5, with children under six years of age eating for free.
   The breakfast is a traditional pancake feast, with pancakes, sausage, orange juice, and coffee.
   “It’s a good way to kick off the Fourth of July,” said Stockton.
   She added that Kiwanis is involved in a lot of projects that impact children’s play equipment at the various parks around town.
   “These little fundraisers help us to do that,” said Stockton.
   Splash n’ Dash
   An annual event enjoyed by many locals is the Fourth of July Splash n’ Dash. The race begins at the Prineville swimming pool and ends at Pioneer Park.
   According to Ernie Brooks, who is the CCHS track coach and helps organize the event every year, the annual fundraiser has been active for more than 25 years. He said that there is a possibility they will exceed the amount of participants that were involved last year.
   “We have two races going on,” said Brooks, “we have a quadathlon, which is our Splash n’ Dash—a swim, bike, kayak, and run. At the same time, we have a triathlon, which is a swim, bike, and run.”
   He added that they have both races because some people don’t have kayaks or want to kayak. They just started the triathlon two years ago. He noted that their numbers have gone up, and they anticipate a large crowd this year.
   The route will be the same as last year, except for the biking distance and the fact that the race ends at Pioneer Park instead of Ochoco Creek Park. The participants can either enter as a team or as an individual. All proceeds go to support the Cook County Middle School and High School track and field teams.
   “It’s a family-fun event, and we are flexible and we want you to come out and have fun and enjoy the Fourth as a family,” said Brooks. “That is our biggest goal.”
   All sponsors will see their business name on the back of the Splash n’ Dash T-shirts or a banner at either the start or finish line of the race. Although sponsorships for T-shirts are past due, there are always opportunities to sponsor other parts of the event. Brooks noted that interested participants can enter either race right up until the events.
   Independence Day Parade
   This year’s festivities also include an Independence Parade—the first to be held since 1991.
   “It’s Independence Day—we should be celebrating it,” explained Band of Brothers member and event organizer Bob Ervin.
   In regards to one of the reasons that the local veterans are putting on the parade, he added, “It’s a way to honor those who didn’t come back. They gave their life so we could do this.”
   The event is being sponsored and organized by the Band of Brothers, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and other veterans of the local community.
   “We would really like to have you or your organization participate and help us celebrate the freedoms that we have,” said Ervin.
   The local Band of Brothers is now almost 165 members strong, and according to Ervin, “We don’t charge dues, they already paid their dues.”
   The parade will begin at 10 a.m. on July 4, and will assemble at the corner of Deer and Fourth Street. The procession will include local rodeo queens, local law enforcement, County officials, and of course veterans of all branches of the military. There will also be a guest appearance by Robert Maxwell, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.
   The parade will turn proceed down Fourth Street, turn left on Elm, and end at the Veterans Memorial at Ochoco Creek Park. There will be a short ceremony at the monument after the flag raising by the Crook County High School NJROTC cadets.
   The Band of Brothers have received confirmation that there will also be a fly-over from the Unites States Air Force during the parade.
   “We have lost some of the patriotism over the years”, said Ervin. “Maybe we can get some of that back.”
   Family Fourth of July
   Immediately after the parade, the Family Fourth of July in the Stryker Park will kick off at 11 a.m.
   Executive Director for the Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce Bill Gowen, said that there will be a lot of activities taking place in town throughout the day. Locations for the day’s activities include the Crook County Courthouse lawn and the courthouse steps, the Pioneer Park, the City Hall plaza and annex, Stryker Park, and train rides on the Emily Shay off of Lamonta Road. Fourth Street, Court Street, and Dunham Street will be closed off for the day.
   “We moved entirely downtown,” said Gowen.
   The presenting sponsor for the day’s events is Eoff Electric. The sponsor for the music and stage entertainment is Rosendin Electric.
   He said that the new venues will offer close proximity to various restaurants, making it convenient for patrons to walk to their favorite eateries. There will be a radio station broadcasting from the courthouse steps. Vendors will be set up at 10 a.m., and available immediately after the Independence Day Parade.
   Live music and entertainment will be available at the pavilion at Pioneer Park, including the groups “Sunshine Express,” and “The Edge.” The groups will share the stage from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
   There will also be train rides at 11 a.m. on the Emily Shay. Gowen said they will be picking up passengers on Lamonta Road, where the railroad tracks cross Lamonta Road by Goodman’s Storage. There will be a total of three-to-four trips, with a new group of passengers every hour.
   “There are only two people left in the state of Oregon that are certified to run that train, and one of them is coming over to spend the week from Coos Bay, and he is coming over to run the train,” explained Gowen.
   In addition to these activities, there will be water games, blow-up houses, and a large slip-and slide. Gowen said there will also be a water balloon football game.
   “We would like to get people into town, and so we will try to make it as attractive as we can to folks who are traveling through town to just stop, take a look, and enjoy,” said Gowen.
   At 1:30 p.m., the Big Fish Race will begin at the west side of the Juniper Street Bridge, and the winner will be picked up at the west side of the Elm Street Bridge at Stryker Park. The race is held as a fundraiser for CASA, The Crook County Kids Club, and the Lutheran Family Services.
   Fireworks Display
   The fireworks display is supported by Prineville Disposal, Crook County, City of Prineville, Crook County Parks and Recreation, and Crestview Cable. The Fireworks begins at 10 p.m., and is put on by Western Display Fireworks. They provide staff to assist with the fireworks, in addition to the Crook County Fire and Rescue.