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A family Fourth

by: Vern Uyetake, Andrew, 3, and David, 5, Nyhus of Oregon City proudly wave the Stars and Stripes at the Fourth of July pancake breakfast at George Rogers Park.

By all accounts, last week's Fourth of July parade in downtown Lake Oswego was the biggest and best yet. The number of participants and spectators easily exceeded last year's crowd, much to the delight of those in attendance and parade organizers.

'There were at least three times as many vehicles and twice as many children participating,' said Lake Oswego Recreation Supervisor Kathy Kern.

The staging area at 10th and Chandler was filled to capacity and the actually parade, which generally lasts around 30 minutes, went on for an hour this year.

'It was wonderful. It was kind of like preparing to put on this huge party and then hoping people show up. This really brought a lot of people together,' Kern said.

There were many highlights in the parade. Along with the usual features of boy scout and girl scout troops, Robert Johnson, a veteran, rode in a 1942 military jeep owned by local businessman Paul Schatz.

Mayor Judie Hammerstad rode in a 1923 touring car owned by Bob Molner, and Clackamas County Commissioner Lynn Peterson made the short trek in a Smart Car.

Lake Oswego Rotary gave its ride on a fire truck to five-year-old leukemia patient and LO resident Gage Dole. The spot is normally given out in an auction but the Rotary made an exception this year.

At the end of the route, in Millennium Plaza Park, there was face painting for the children and the Millennium Band played a one-hour set, beginning at 3 p.m. The concert was highlighted by the band's honoring of local servicemen and servicewomen.

'A large number of people stayed around for a while after the event. It was pretty perfect,' Kern said.

Even though this year's event exceeded most expectations, organizers expect that the parade will continue to grow.