Local residents celebrate a sunny Fourth of July with parade, pancakes and pies
by: vern uyetake Best friends Clair Ihlenbury of West Linn, on left in large photo, and Annabelle Hay of Lake Oswego take in all the festivities at Monday’s celebration at Millennium Plaza Park.

It was impossible not to have fun at the Fourth of July celebration in Lake Oswego.

Any day you can celebrate American patriotism is good, but the event in Lake Oswego was especially special for pancake lovers, flag wavers, people who like to dress funny, children and dogs.

There many not have been a better place in the country to celebrate the Fourth, as thousands flocked to Millennium Plaza Park, George Rogers Park and A Avenue, all of them aided by weather that was better than perfect.

'It's my favorite day in Lake Oswego,' said Chris Love-Dudley. 'I love our old-fashioned parade, and I love how there are more people in the parade than they are watching the parade.'

Love-Dudley herself made a great effort to get to the parade. When her 15-year-old Dalmatian Bo ('an honest to goodness perfect dog') could not get up on its back legs to walk, she simply picked him up and carried him to her car.

The parade was well worth the effort by Chris and Bo. There were no floats, but there were bikes, scooters, wagons and pets of all species adorned in red, white and blue. There were baseball teams, preschoolers, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, families, and entire neighborhoods that wended their way from Christ Episcopal Church to Second Street.

'It is a wonderful way to celebrate the Fourth,' said the super patriotic Jerry Ghiglieri. 'This is what the Fourth is all about - supporting our troops and flying the flag.'

People also supported their own appetites by flocking to the annual Lions Club Pancake Breakfast at George Rogers Park. The success of the event was reflected by Kat Riley's apron. The long-time Lions pancake batter mixer was covered from head to toe with pancake flour. Lions were shaking their heads and saying they had never seen such long lines. The pancakes were worth it.

Of course, the many volunteers made it possible. Volunteers like 9-year-old Lauren Orr. She made an excellent contribution to the morale of pancake patrons.

'I was standing by the sausage and I decided to do something,' Lauren said.

So she gave everyone high fives and hugs as they went down the pancake line.

It was a good day for politicians, too. State Rep. Julie Parrish, R-West Linn was beaming as she connected with old friends.

'It's great being here after being locked up in Salem for so long,' she said. 'My husband Mark just did a four-hour shift on the pancake line for the Lions.'

At Millennium Plaza Park things were hopping with the Lake Grove Lion's Club food, frolic and music, and the first pie-eating contest in Lake Oswego Fourth of July Celebration history. A large crowd of mostly children surged to the very edge of the pie-eating table, and the tension increased when contest director Kathy Kern Schilling discovered they were one marionberry pie short and had to hustle to get one.

When Mayor Jack Hoffman gave the countdown, the pie eating began and the crowd became jubilant. There were cries of 'Eat it!' 'You can do it!' 'Do it for America!' 'Nobody will remember who got second' and 'Go, Daddy, go!' Also 'This is so gross!'

Thrusting his arms upward in triumph was the winner Marshall Trautman of Lakeridge High School. He received a beautiful trophy from the mayor and even looked fit enough to eat another pie.

On that note, the Lake Oswego Fourth of July Celebration reached its peak.

Sights and sounds:

* Patriotic dancing breaking out at George Rogers Park.

* 'Just shove your way through.' (Advice heard on the pancake line.)

* A grandpa taking photos of five kids decked out with flags and Uncle Sam hats.

* 'You guys get over here with Uncle Al. He's going to have his goofy hat on.'

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