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Hops, STEAM headline Celebrate Hillsboro lineup

COURTESY PHOTOS: RICK PAULSON - Everyones favorite prehistoric lizard, Arty the Artosaur will be back this year to help with an arts and science activities on STEAM Street.Celebrate Hillsboro is getting a little steamy this year.

The annual daylong event in downtown Hillsboro returns for its 2016 iteration on July 16 with two headlining additions: the Hillsboro Hops, who secured their second straight Northwest League Championship last season, will hold a victory parade, and STEAM Street offers kids hands-on experiences with science, technology and art.

Firstly to the baseball diamond: the minor-league Hops, who originated in 2013 as the short-season A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, have topped the Northwest League two years running and enjoy loyal fan support, but have never enjoyed a proper championship parade.

According to Mary Loftin with Hillsboro Parks and Recreation, it’s about time that changed.

“Championship parades are just what communities do,” Loftin said. “They absolutely deserve it. Two in a row is tremendous.”COURTESY PHOTO: RICK PAULSON - The Hillsboro Hops baseball team will take part in a championship parade to celebrate their winning the Northwest League title in 2015.

Although the Hops undergo significant roster changes every season being at the whim of the Diamondbacks organization, as many players as possible will be present.

Plus, the Hops’ current roster includes some returning players from last year’s championship squad — shortstop and defensive wizard Sergio Alcantara and third baseman Josh Anderson.

“We should recognize these hometown heroes,” said Loftin, “for all the work they’ve done to bring baseball back to the metro area.”

Following the parade, the Hops will hold a fan rally at the Hillsboro Civic Center, where they’ll give away 300 autographed baseballs.

Also new this year is STEAM Street, a cooperative venture with OMSI, the Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals and Arty the Artosaur, among others.

STEAM Street replaces the youth stage performances put on in previous years by Hillsboro Arts Summer and Camp Amp. When the city found out that the youth performances wouldn’t work this year, Loftin said, they wanted to use the suddenly available space for something youth oriented.

“There’s so much for the kids to do,” Loftin said. “They can do hands-on design with OMSI. Airway Science for Kids will have an aviation simulator and a paper airplane challenge. Local youth artists will display their work.”

Artosaur, a Hillsboro-based mashup of robotics and art, will also make an appearance. Drone demonstrations and an obstacle course are also planned.

“Personally, my favorite thing is the Health and Wellness center,” said Loftin. “I help to run it, and it’s a great place. We make it fun. We let the kids make mini finger casts, and I love watching kids with casts on every finger, trying to pick things up.

COURTESY PHOTOS: RICK PAULSON - Face painting will be one of the many activities for kids as Celebrate Hillsboro takes over downtown Saturday.Other free, fun family activities will include a rock-climbing wall, inflatables, arts and crafts and a photo booth.

Celebrate Hillsboro also features a salad clinic, a presentation by Tuality dietitian Kim Nguyen and food demonstrations.

Families can vote for their favorites for the Best of Hillsboro awards at the City of Hillsboro booth.

The regular Saturday Farmers’ Market will be intermingled with all the special booths and events planned for the day, so don’t forget the fresh veggies.

Food vendors and restaurants along Main Street will offer food, beer and wine for purchase.

And as always, local bands will provide live music throughout the event.

“I love watching families together,” Loftin said. “We live in a really fabulous place, and we’re very fortunate.”