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Fourth of July: An American event


Pancake breakfast and more highlight nations birthday in Lake Oswego

by: STAFF PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE - Sandi Swinford was one of the many cooks flipping pancakes at the Lions Club's annual pancake breakfast on the Fourth of July.

It was barely 9:30 a.m. but already the pancake line stretched deep into the outfield of a baseball field at George Rogers Park.

At the field’s edge, the queue turned, following the foul ball line all the way to the park’s second diamond. As more (presumably hungry) folks arrived, the crowd hit third and was heading for home.

Here, hundreds of Lake Oswego citizens gathered, not only for food, but to commemorate the founding of the United States: July 4, 20l3 — Independence Day.

On one of the long picnic tables provided for the event, Brady Costello sat across from his younger sisters, Casey and Riley. The trio, along with the rest of the family, wore matching white T-shirts, each emblazoned with a full-color American flag.

Brady, who graduated from Lakeridge High School in 2006, explained that the identical outfits started as a tradition — and turned into a running joke — to help the family find each other in the throng of celebrators.

“We’ve been coming here (to the breakfast) since we could eat pancakes,” Costello said. “This is what we come home for.”

The 64th annual pancake breakfast is the largest fundraiser of the year for the Lake Oswego Lions Club, which sponsors the event. The proceeds will support many of the Lions’ charitable endeavors.

Meanwhile, at the staging ground on Lake Garden Court, cheerful Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation staff organized the annual Fourth of July Star Spangled Parade.

This year’s parade had 52 registered vehicles or walking groups, including everything from vintage cars to the Lake Oswego Mothers Club.

According to Recreation Supervisor Kathy Schilling, this year’s event had so many participants that half a dozen late applicants had to be turned down. In total, at least 1,500 Lake Oswegans marched in the parade.

At the procession’s head, a small band of patriots wore colorful waistcoats, breeches and tri-cornered hats. Dressed in colonial style, the fife and drum corps provided music for the event. According to corps leader John Warton, the group lent the parade a “proper patriotic feel.”

Along A Avenue, there wasn’t an unoccupied slab of concrete from Tenth to Second streets, and there the parade route turned, allowing more watchers to hang their feet from the raised roof of a parking garage.

The celebration continued at Millennium Plaza Park, with a photo booth, balloon artist, live rock music and the third annual pie-eating competition.

With remnants of banana cream stuck to his eyebrows, pie champion Chris Henry allowed that “eating as fast as I could” was his winning strategy. “I just kind of stepped it up into beast mode,” Henry said.

And as a few children hula-hooped to the chords of “Fortunate Son” and “Brown Eyed Girl,” the colonial troop posed for a few pictures.

Holding his snare drum and smiling for the camera, Sam Strane said that “seeing everyone’s face light up... as we played ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’” made him proud to be part of the celebration.

“It brought about this real belief in America, something that you don’t always feel every day,” Strane said.

“It was like: ‘Wow. I’m an American.’ ”