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Weekend events make county shine

This past weekend, our newspaper staffs were privileged to cover four significant community events that reflect quite positively on Washington County: The Oregon International Air Show in Hillsboro and the Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival, Corn Roast and Run/Walk 4 Sight in Forest Grove.

All these activities showcase our county at its best.

For the past 27 years, the Hillsboro Airport has hosted an annual air show, and this year’s event was remarkable on many levels. Over the past weekend, show-goers were treated to an amazing display of aerial acts, with demonstrations of unique aircraft and precision flying by highly skilled pilots. Among the many highlights were the expert parachutists from the U.S. Army and an astounding team of superb pilots from the Royal Canadian Air Force — the “Snowbirds” — who deservedly headlined the show and carried out a thrilling sequence of team aerobatics high above the crowd.

The local air show has earned a reputation for being the best air show in Oregon, and that reputation seems well deserved. The amount of planning and effort that goes into this event each year is tremendous, but the organizers pulled off an essentially flawless three days of intense entertainment. We were impressed by the many law enforcement personnel who helped with traffic control and security; the hundreds of volunteers who kept all the events running smoothly and professionally; and the aerial event announcers who kept up a very informative narrative of who and what we were watching in the sky above. In sum, this was an impressive, world-class event that is a wonderful success story for Hillsboro and Washington County.

It’s also highly impressive to remember that net proceeds from the air show each year are donated to area charities and nonprofit organizations engaged in good causes. Bravo.

And looking ahead to next year, one of the most sought-after aerial acts in the world, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, has agreed to come to Hillsboro for the first time since 2007.

On Saturday, while planes were rocketing through the air above the Hillsboro Airport, Forest Grove celebrated with its yearly whimsical spectacle — the Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival — and the 50th annual Corn Roast. On the third Saturday each September, the Forest Grove community comes together over chalk and corn. Chalk artists get started early in the morning by creating colorful, artistic displays on sidewalk squares in the downtown business district.

The chalk drawings are sponsored by the Valley Art Association, and the activity helps spark civic pride across the entire city. In the afternoon, the Forest Grove/Cornelius Chamber of Commerce hosted the corn roast, a community mainstay for, incredibly, the last half-century.

The corn roast, a celebration of the area’s agricultural and educational roots, brought folks together for another great celebration of the community.

“It’s who we are,” said chamber executive director Howard Sullivan.

Saturday morning, before the corn and in tandem with the chalk, runners and walkers gathered at Pacific University for Run/Walk 4 Sight, organized by the Forest Grove Lions Club. About 86 participants lined up outside the school’s optometry building to test out their athletic mettle and raise funds for scholarships.

Events such as the chalk festival, corn roast, benefit run/walk and the air show bring people together in a proud celebration of some of the best of what our county and its residents have to offer.

We want to express our appreciation to all the organizers and volunteers who have kept these activities going and made them so successful and so beneficial for our citizens for so long.

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