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Celebration expanded this year with more events and more participants than ever before

REGAL COURIER PHOTOS: BARBARA SHERMAN - There was no room left on this golf cart to place any more Fourth of July decorations as it leaves the King City Clubhouse parking lot at the start of the annual Golf Cart Parade on July 3.Without a doubt, King City celebrated its most spectacular Fourth of July ever. Over two days there were not one but two parades and a festival in King City Community Park that included dozens of vendors' booths, kids' activities and a live band. And not to be forgotten, Highlands residents celebrated with their annual barbecue.

Golf Cart Parade

The celebration started on July 3, when the King City Civic Association hosted its annual Golf Cart Parade with more than a dozen entries. It started in the Clubhouse parking lot, meandered through the streets to loop around the King City Senior Village (formerly Pacific Pointe Retirement Inn) parking lot a couple times before returning to the Clubhouse parking lot to disperse.

The Senior Village residents, who formed a good-sized group out in front waving American flags, always act as the judges for the Golf Cart Parade, and they awarded the following prizes: First place went to Bob and Wendy Marchant in cart No. 10; in second place were Will and Janet Craig in cart No. 1; and in third place was Elaine Simms in cart No. 7. All the winners received Grocery Outlet gift certificates.

Before the parade started, several of the entrants talked about their efforts to decorate their carts.

In cart No. 3, Don Page was driving with his grandson Sam Twenhafel and participating in the parade for the first time.

"I decided to do it just for fun," said Page, who is retired from the Army. "It took a day to come up with the decorations and two hours to decorate."

In cart No. 5, Loy Larson said he rode in the parade last year as a passenger and decided to drive his golf cart this time. "I had the time to do it this year, and it was fun to do last year," he said.

Ironically, Simms' cart won a prize but she wasn't able to actually participate in the parade, turning the keys over to Maika, who drove with Sandy and pooch Lola.

Diana Pliler and Jan Hall decorated cart No. 8, which was owned by parade organizer Roy Armour, and Suzanne Whisler was a passenger. "We always win a prize," she said. "We've won second twice."

In cart No. 9 were Connie and Ray Humphrey riding for the first time with pooch Libby. "We rode in the King City 50th Anniversary Parade last year and thought we'd do the Golf Cart Parade this year," Ray said.

In cart No. 13 were Kyle and Gail Lindquist with Birdie, all riding in the parade for the first time, and in cart No. 14 were Jim and Peggy Trees, with their custom cart decked out in a University of Oregon theme as usual.

On July 4 the brand new Fourth of July Walk & Roll Parade & Festival kicked off, combining both "sides" of the city, from the KCCA to Edgewater on the Tualatin.

King City Mayor Ken Gibson and his wife Ramona rode in style at the front of the Fourth of July Walk & Roll Parade & Festival, with more than 300 people participating in the parade that started at the King City Clubhouse and ended at King City Community Park in Edgewater on the Tualatin.Walk & Roll Parade & Festival

The parade started in the King City Clubhouse parking lot, where organizer Jaimie Fender, who was instrumental in getting the parade and festival off the ground and incorporated the King City Community Foundation as a non-profit, was running around getting everyone organized. She said that two necessities for next year would be "a megaphone and more volunteers."

Many Edgewater families came to the Clubhouse parking lot to walk (and roll in strollers, bicycles, tricycles and wagons) through the streets of the KCCA and across 131st Avenue and through the streets of Edgewater to the community park.

A King City police officer in a patrol car and a Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue King City Station 35 crew in Engine 35 led the parade followed by two Washington County Sheriff's Office deputies on motorcycles. Next several convertibles transported dignitaries including King City Mayor Ken Gibson and his wife Ramona and the parade's two "grand dames," King City Senior Village residents Neva Crisman, 100, and Pearl Schuler, 101.

They were followed by several golf carts from the parade the day before and several classic cars from the car show in the same parking lot that morning, and next up were dozens of families mostly wearing red, white and blue with their kids' vehicles decorated to the hilt in patriotic colors and paraphernalia.

As the parade entered King City Community Park, well over 300 people and countless dogs were still keeping up the pace despite the long walk.

In the park, more than two dozen vendors were selling their wares in between food carts, a bouncy house, animal balloons and face painting activities for the kids, and the Tune Brothers band setting the mood with lively music.

Fender exclaimed, "I have to say that I think having two 100-year-old 'grand dames of the parade' who were filmed by a drone just sums up the whole event nicely!"

She also shared a few comments that people posted on Nextdoor.com that included the following:

From Ruth LaRave in the KCCA, "Thank you EVERYONE who planned, volunteered and participated in the parade and festival! Our family genuinely enjoyed ourselves and plan to make this a tradition. We have an AWESOME NEIGHBORHOOD. I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday. Looking forward to many more celebrations."

From Nancy Hayes in the KCCA, "Jaimie, your organization and spirit made the event a great time for the entire community. Thank you for all you contribute to the spirit of inclusiveness. Great job."

From Stephanie Hartman of Bull Mountain, "It was a great time! Makes me want to live in King City!"

Sarah McQuistion of Edgewater, "We stopped by and had a great time on Tuesday. Thanks for organizing a wonderful family event!"

Peg Rau posted, ""Yes, thank you to all the organizers and volunteers. What a wonderful community event. We can't wait until next year!"

Sharlene Bannon of Edgewater wrote, "Jaimie, a HUGE shout-out to you! The festival was really great. Thank you for all of your hard work and all of those that helped out. Thank you."

Rachael Moore Arbach posted, "Thank you KCCF for putting on such a wonderful parade and festival!! What a turn-out. We really enjoyed it. Can't thank you enough!"

For more than 20 years, Highlands residents have celebrated the Fourth of July with a barbecue, and even though the community  officially became part of King City on April 1, this is one tradition that will continue to be celebrated.It's a wrap

After taking time to recover, the festival planning committee met July 13 at King City Senior Village to debrief and discuss what went well and what needed tweaking or added, but overall, the committee members were thrilled with the turnout and how the entire event played out.

In addition to Fender, other committee members are Veva Goehler, Maiya Burbank, Micah and Annie Paulson (who gave birth to their son Harold on June 30 and still participated in the festival events and follow-up committee meeting), Mary Ocholi and Steve Stephens.

"I was very pleased with how it went, especially for being an inaugural event," Fender said. "The Bull Mountain Farmers Market folks who had a booth there said they thought 800 to 1,000 people came by. And more came after 2 p.m. after it was over.

"The big take-away for next year is that we need more involvement from the business community and more booths. We also need more parking at the park."

Other ideas offered by the committee members included having a sunscreen booth for all the people who forgot to put it on before leaving home, more involvement from the KCCA, and shuttle service between the KCCA Clubhouse and King City Community Park to make it easy for seniors to get to and from the event.

"I'd like to see banners over the streets to make us more legitimate," Fender said. And Goehler added, "We need better signage everywhere and for the vendors too."

Fender said she was shocked at how many people were in the Clubhouse parking lot at 9 a.m. on the Fourth ready to join the parade that started a t 9:30.

She commented that "the kids' wagon float competition needs to be better organized." The kids' competition included prizes with a first prize award of four weeks of free lessons at Karate on Main; the second- and third-place prizes were gift certificates to Tigard Towne Center Baskin-Robbins, owned by King City police Officer Shelby Thatcher.

The committee will be looking for grants and business sponsorships in the future, and Fender said, "I think it will be easier to get vendors next year."

Micah Paulson said, "We need to get started earlier next year. But the neat thing about it was how it combined the original part of King City with the Edgewater folks."

Fender listed changes she would like to see next year: more porta-potties and garbage cans, and more involvement from Deer Creek Elementary students.

"We had good support from the King City Lions Club and King City Senior Village, but we found we missed deadlines to get information into publications," she said. "We did some great social marketing, and there were people there from North Portland to McMinnville.

"I think we have good momentum and want to keep it going. We could expand on the Fourth of July to have a picnic in the park or a movie. There is so much potential there. We have a really good foundation for next year."

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