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There's no place like the Fourth of July Corbett Fun Festival

Most things have changed since 1970. Skylines change, hairlines receded and the Corbett Fun Festival grew. In its 45-year tenure the festival, which originally took place on Halloween, has become one of the area’s largest Fourth of July celebrations.OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Children wave to a passing fire engine Saturday during the Corbett Fourth of July Parade.   6. The Corbett Parade attracted thousands of spectators to watch classic cars, rodeo queens, vintage military vehicles and much more.   7. Children rush to collect candy thrown from passing vehicles during the Corbett Fourth of July Parade.   8. Children look to catch candy thrown by this vintage military truck sponsored by the Weston familys auto dealerships.   9. The Corbett Fourth of July Parade is a festive occasion that includes vehicles of all stripes, including this 1948 Gibson Model D tractor.   10. The Weston fire engine cruises Springdale while showering candy on spectators at the Corbett Fourth of July Parade.   11. Throw Water, Not Candy was the motto of this float at the Corbett Fourth of July parade Saturday.

Mark and Diana Wolfe have gone to the parade for about six years. Their daughters go to Corbett schools and they’re proud to support their community’s parade.

“I like the family spirit, the small-town family spirit.” She said.

Festival organizers estimate that last year 4,500 people attended the festival, this year they hoped for 5,000 attendees. OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - A Sailor carries an American flag in the Corbett Fourth of July Parade in honor of former Corbett resident and U.S. Navy Seal Jeff Lucas, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005.

The full day of events started out with a Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast benefitting Corbett High School senior scholarships. The breakfast fed more than 235 adults at $6 per person, and 46 kids over five at $3 per person earning more than $1,548 for scholarships.

“My husband has been cooking for two days, yesterday he spent hours just cracking eggs,” Robyn Munyan, a Kiwanis Club member, said. “ It’s a real community effort and one of Kiwanis’ biggest fundraisers.”

In past years festival organizers held fundraisers to pay for the fireworks display. Since the festival has grown it now has corporate sponsors to finance the fireworks. OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Children try to catch candy thrown from passing vehicles Saturday at the Corbett Fourth of July Parade.

“It’s amazing how much goes into pulling an event like this off,” Matt Leamy, festival organizer, said. Leamy started thinking about this year’s parade immediately after the last was over on July 5.

The parade started with the annual July Fourth cruise-in, where old-fashioned and antique cars drove through town. More than 40 classic cars drove the parade route, waving and throwing candy to kids. Next year Sharon Keady hopes to participate in the cruise-in. She hopes to restore a Model-T by next year’s parade.OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - This festive rider on a powerful tricycle is decked out in his best patriotic regalia as he cruises down the Historic Columbia River Highway at the Corbett Fourth of July Parade.

Shirley and Larry Redfern drove their classic 1957 Pontiac Chieftain from Gresham to be in the parade. The two were in the parade last year for the first time and described the event as the highlight of their summer.

“Last year we were just surprised by how much fun it was. It’s so patriotic, it’s what everybody should be doing on the Fourth of July,” Shirley Redfern said. “It reinforces families to me, I see so many families here celebrating our independence. It’s so important to our history so it’s nice that people and families are doing it together.”

The three-mile parade route went from Springdale to Corbett Middle/High School and closed the Columbia River Highway.

After the parade spectator migrated to the track at Corbett High School for the Fun Festival.OUTLOOK PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Corbett residents Jamie and Matthew Stencil lead the pack as the Corbett Fourth of July Parade starts in Springdale.

This year the festival had a diverse range of musical acts. The performances started with the Portland School of Rock followed by the K9 Kings Flying Dog Scow. Samsel, an alternative country band out of Boring, performed before gospel songstress Liz Vice. Cumbia music sensation Orquestra Paifico Tropical played the music of South and Central America, Brownish Black played a mix of soul and R&B, and the self-described “sonic crime fighters,” the Strange Tones. Performances ended with Water Tower, a Portland based bluegrass band.

Corbett High School students Cedar Mackaness ,Wyatt Sprengel and Brook Mackaness spent the morning volunteering at the pancake breakfast before heading down to the festival for food, games, music and exclusively Corbett entertainment.

“There’s the dead mole contest to see who has the biggest dead mole.” Wyatt Sprengel explained. “People catch moles, then the biggest and most gross mole wins.”

Though the three students didn’t enter any moles themselves, they were excited to participate in the event unique to their town.

The festival offered a family friendly alternative to other Fourth of July events. Kids caught candy from floats, families hung out and kids were able to run around independently the way that’s only possible in a small town.


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