TribTown • Neighborhoods, small businesses embark on the season of parades

April marks the beginning of Portland's community festival season, the annual array of community gatherings organized by many of the city's neighborhood and business associations.

From now until November, the weeks - and especially the weekends - will be filled with dozens of parades, socials, fairs, music festivals and sidewalk sales. They happen in all parts of town, demonstrating the growing vitality of the city's neighborhood retail centers. Many also raise money for worthy causes.

The first event is the April Mississippi Social, which will take place Thursday along North Mississippi Avenue. It will include a Spring Fashion Show from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Mississippi Ballroom, 833 N. Shaver St.

From then on, the events will take place with increasing frequency, peaking in August when several are held on the same days. Most start midmorning and continue into the evening. Major ones include:

• April 19 - 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, beginning at Eastport Plaza.

• May 10 - St. Johns Parade, centered on the plaza in the North Portland business district.

• May 17 - Alberta Art Hop, taking place along Northeast Alberta Street.

• June 4 - Junior Rose Festival Parade, which will fill Northeast Sandy Boulevard in the Hollywood District.

• June 21-June 22 - Good in the Neighborhood Music and Food Festival, based in King Park at Northeast Sixth Avenue and Humboldt Street.

• July 12 - Woodstock Festival and Parade, in the business district along Southeast Woodstock Boulevard.

• July 26 - Division/Clinton Street Fair and Parade, along the retail centers of the two Southeast Portland streets.

• Aug. 16 - Multnomah Days, featuring the popular dog parade through the retail center around Southwest Capitol Highway and 35th Avenue.

• Sept. 6 - Belmont Street Fair, along the business districts on Southeast Belmont Street.

• Sept. 13-Sept. 14 - Under the Autumn Moon Festival, in downtown's Old Town-Chinatown neighborhood.

The business associations that help sponsor these events belong to the Alliance of Portland Neighborhood Business Association, a nonprofit organization working to improve the small retail clusters throughout the city. More information can be found on its Web site, .

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