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Get ready to parade your Teddy Bear!

Annual family friendly event set for Sept. 26

What hath Theodore Roosevelt wrought?

Our nation’s 26th chief executive reportedly went on a bear hunting expedition that proved to be unsuccessful. The hosts, eager to please the president, captured a cub and brought it to him to shoot, but Roosevelt sternly refused.FILE PHOTO - The annual Teddy Bear Parade draws thousands of folks to downtown Gresham, including children who delight in the march of stuffed animals and their owners.

Washington Post cartoonist Clifford Berryman depicted the incident it in a political cartoon, which was eventually published in newspapers across the country. The cartoon was seen by Morris Michton, who operated a novelty store in Brooklyn, and asked his wife, Rose to make a bear to display in their store window.

Next to the bear he placed the Berryman’s cartoon and a sign that read … TEDDY’S BEAR.

Now bear this

On Saturday, Sept. 26, thousands of East County residents will flock to downtown Gresham to carry the latest stuffed incarnations of Roosevelt’s spared cub when the 33rd annual Soroptimist Teddy Bear Parade takes place.

Participants will line up at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, in the East Hill Church parking lot at the corner of Fifth Street and Main Avenue. The parade features floats from local merchants, service organizations, schools, neighborhood groups and individuals. Participants will be carrying teddy bears or will be dressed costumes.

The women’s group Soroptimists began the parade in 1982, and it has grown into a community tradition. This year’s parade will honor Michael Lindblad, a Gresham High School social studies instructor who was named Oregon’s Teacher of the Year.

Ginger Abbs, a parade organizer, says about 3,500 people are expected to march, before about 5,000 spectators. Participants range from infants to centenarians, she adds, noting residents of adult care facilities are among the participants, which lasts about 90 minutes.

“Many Gresham area businesses have generously agreed to sponsor the parade, and the funds are utilized by (the Soroptimists) to support our mission, ‘Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment,'” Abbs says.

The parade will benefit such Soroptimist programs as the following:

Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls, a seven-week mentoring program for high school girls.

Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards, which are cash awards given to women to offset any costs associated with their efforts to attain higher education, including books, childcare and transportation.

Free the Girls: Collects new or gently used bras that are sent to developing countries, and which helps women and girls rescued from human trafficking to run their own used clothing businesses.

SAVE (Soroptimists Against Violent Environments): Offers support to Metro Area domestic violence shelters. In addition to monetary support, the program provides such items as family gift bags, gift cards for teenagers and Mother’s Day gift bags.

The Soroptimists will also be collecting new or gently used books for children ages 5 to 12, in East County schools.

Safety Fair

Gresham’s annual Transportation Safety Fair and Bike Rodeo takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Center for the Arts Plaza, 401 N.E. Second St.

The event provides local residents safety information and knowledge of transportation options and teaches the rules of the road to young bicyclists. Special features this year are a bicycle helmet giveaway, sponsored by the Oregon Nurses Association Constituent Association 1; electric bike test rides, sponsored by Cynergy E-Bikes; and free bike safety inspections conducted by Bikes for Humanity PDX.

Bike rodeo participants are encouraged to bring their bikes to have them inspected and join in a group bike ride along the Springwater Trail. For more information, contact, Sandra Doubleday at 503-618-2816 or email Sandra.Doubleday@GreshamOregon.gov.