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A Family Fourth

Local Fourth of July activities serve up something for the entire family
by: Vern Uyetake, Jonas Lamont peeks out from behind an American flag while enjoying the morning activities at George Rogers Park

It was organized chaos at Christ Episcopal Church on Tuesday as thousands of Lake Oswego residents gathered for the staging of the annual Star Spangled Parade.

The event, held every year on the Fourth of July, draws hundreds to the sidewalks of A Avenue in downtown Lake Oswego to catch a glimpse of friends, neighbors and local celebrities who will walk, drive, skate or bike down towards Millennium Plaza Park.

'My daughter (Kayla) wanted to see her friend walking in the parade today. I think she might be a little jealous. Maybe we'll have to walk in it next year,' said Courtney Tyler from Lake Grove.

But even though the sidewalks and alleys are packed with people in the late morning, the streets are even more crowded with parade participants.

The sun broke through the early morning clouds just minutes before the parade officially kicked off. A fire engine got the festivities started, followed closely by various groups of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

Many of the children in attendance eagerly anticipated which floats would have people throwing candy their way. A pair of sisters dressed like princesses brought in an especially impressive haul.

A wide variety of dogs also were included in the parade, the majority of which were decked out in everything from red white and blue bandanas to complete Uncle Sam suits.

Some of the pets were pampered, riding in specially designed wagons or trailers while some were put to work, pulling children along behind them.

'That was probably a year's worth of exercise for him,' said Ron Daughtry about his 9-year old bulldog Rocky.

Lake Oswego Mayor Judie Hammerstad made an appearance in the middle of the parade on a 1953 Chevy truck and received cheers from the audience.

The parade also showcased many Lake Oswego residents' creative sides as virtually every vehicle imaginable was showcased and decorated. Individuals in attendance saw everything from unicycles to scooters to Bank of Oswego's Dan Heine's miniature car, which played a variety of songs as he drove down A Avenue.

However, perhaps the highlight of the entire event came when two F-16 fighter jets roared over the crowd, drawing looks of awe from most of the children in attendance.

'My favorite part was the big planes. They were so loud,' said 6-year old Adam Hanover.

But the parade wasn't the only way that Lake Oswegans celebrated Independence Day. The annual pancake breakfast was held at George Rogers Park beginning at 7 a.m. The event, as always, was put on by the Lake Oswego Lions Club until noon.

The Lake Grove Lions Club held its annual chicken barbecue until 5 p.m.

Entertainment was provided throughout the downtown area by Sally Harmon, who performed from a barge in the Lower Plaza of Millennium Plaza Park; and live music from Centerline Trio, the Millennium Concert Band and Wayne Richards and Southern Nights filled the air throughout the afternoon.

Finally, the day's festivities came to a conclusion just after dusk with an enormous fireworks display at Lake Grove Park.