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Teddy Bear Parade delights Gresham

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Many of the floats in the parade prominently featured teddy bears. The 34th annual Teddy Bear Parade took over the streets of downtown Gresham Saturday morning to the delight of thousands of locals. There were colorful floats, marching bands, classic cars, animals, clowns and, of course, plenty of teddy bears.

The event, hosted by the Soroptimists, is a chance for the whole city to come out in celebration while supporting good causes.

“This is a special event for the community,” said Naomi Wolff, president-elect of the Soroptimists. “When I go out and talk about the Teddy Bear Parade, people’s eyes light up.”

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The Gresham-Barlow School Districts drum line was a popular entry in the parade.The parade, which has grown into a community tradition, began at 10 a.m. with cheers from those lining the streets to watch. The first entry was a Weston Fire Department truck full of Pack 6 boy scouts from Troutdale.

Local politicians came out to walk in the parade, as did most of the local schools with their bands. The dance studios and martial arts groups brought their students to entertain the crowd, while Cha Cha the Clown rode around on a bicycle asking kids to show her their teddy bears.

Powell Valley had decorated its van to look like a giant teddy bear, while Pediatric Therapy Services had a float designed to look like a big bed.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The Teddy Bear Parade is geared towards children, and there were plenty in downtown as both participants and spectators. “You recognize our diversity in the community during the parade because there are so many different individuals and businesses represented,” said Wolff. “Gresham and Rockwood aren’t separate things, and coming together to walk in the parade alongside your neighbors shows that.”

None of it would be possible without everything that is done by the volunteers, who work long hours to ensure the parade goes smoothly.

Attendees were encouraged to bring nonperishable food donations this year for SnowCap Community Charities, which serves low-income individuals and families in East Multnomah County.

The Soroptimists are a global volunteer network of women in 130 countries and territories that work to improve the lives of women and girls. The local group spearheads many events throughout the year, like the Teddy Bear Parade, to support the community.