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82nd Avenue of Roses Parade attracts throngs of spectators

FIRST OFFICIAL ROSE FEST EVENT
by: David F. Ashton Here comes 2011’s 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade!

Anyone who participated in, or watched, the 2011 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade - a sanctioned Portland Rose Festival 'preview event' - could see that this year's outing was the biggest and best ever.

'We were thrilled with the parade,' said its coordinator, Dianne Gill of Eastport Plaza, the event's title sponsor, about the April 30th event.

'Not only did we have more entries than past years, we had more people turn out all along the parade route. To see the people lined up, waving flags, many in lawn chairs, it was a wonderful day.'

This year's edition, Gill revealed, featured 84 parade entries. A total of 925 participants made up the procession that traveled along 82nd Avenue from Eastport Plaza to the Montavilla neighborhood.

'This is a true community effort,' Gill added. 'The parade committee - about a dozen in number - works the year around to plan, promote, and finance the parade. About 150 folks helped out on parade day, acting as entry-herders and street monitors.'

A highlight for her personally, Gill disclosed, was when she and Parade Chair Ken Turner strolled out to 82nd Avenue to watch, as the entries were dispatched. 'I remember our very first parade - and now, it's a delight seeing what this has become. It felt really good to see all the entries lined up, and all the people lining the streets. We looked at each other and smiled, and said, 'We all did it'.'

The committee is already at work planning the sixth edition, next year - the last Saturday of April, 2012. 'Everybody wants to come back,' Gill said.

The parade's chairman, Ken Turner, was enthusiastic about this year's event. 'Public attendance was up. We saw thousands of people lining the parade route. It was a phenomenal success, by every measure.'