Bad weather, good times at Multnomah Days

The 104th Multnomah Days celebration was held on the surprisingly brisk third Saturday in August.

The festival took place Aug. 18 along Multnomah Village’s main street, S.W. Capitol Highway between S.W. 33rd and S.W. 39th. On both sides of the street was a street fair of more than 100 vendors showcasing art, crafts, food and other wares.

“There’s so many people here even when the weather’s like this, so it’s been really fun so far,” said Akiko Oguchi, owner of upcycled handbag designer 5th Season: Clothing Reborn. Oguchi said that although this was her first year manning a booth at Multnomah Days, it would not be her last.

The infamous Multnomah Days parade began at 10 a.m. with the Sons of the American Revolution Lewis and Clark chapter color guard. The Portland Timbers’ mascot Timber Joey served as grand marshal.

Around 10:15 a.m., parade-goers found themselves caught in a mid-morning drizzle. Emcee Beth Kahlen had a microphone-amplified message for those who retreated to find shelter: “It’s going to get hot in no time and you’re going to miss it!”by: DREW DAKESSIAN - The 104th Multnomah Days parade

Most of the parade-goers endured the brief deluge and were treated to the sight of Portland mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith becoming the first politician ever to do a cartwheel in the Multnomah Days parade.

Other mayoral candidates participated in the parade as well. “We’ve got such a great city; everybody’s fighting to become a leader of it,” Kahlen said.

During the next hour, the parade played host to the Wilson High School football team and a float for city Commissioner Amanda Fritz, whose absence due to attending her niece’s wedding in England did not temper the audience’s uproarious applause. An unambiguous highlight of the parade came in the form of the brassy stylings of The Beat Goes On Marching Band, which dazzled the audience with a rendition of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”

Friends of Neighborhood House, a local social service nonprofit based in Multnomah Village, served as the last entry in the parade, which ended promptly at 11:15 a.m.

Tye Steinbach, who runs the store Thinker Toys with his wife Joan, was in charge of the parade. He said he was filled with a sense of pride at being involved the last 15 years.

But by all accounts, this year’s parade was in a class all its own. “We had more actual floats and music and way more pizzazz,” Steinbach said.

“We like coming to see what’s new,” said Liz Ward of Ash Creek, “and the people we know who we haven’t seen in a long time.”

“I liked the bagpipes because it was loud,” added her son, 8-year- old Asher.

Following the parade, participants had a wide variety of activity options including cleaning up their canines at a dog wash benefiting DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital’s blood bank program, quenching their thirst at Sip D’ Vine’s wine and beer garden or getting the chance to speak with police officers and take turns sitting on their motorcycles.

“It’s a great community event ... the kids especially like to get on the bike,” said Andy Griggs of the Portland police motor unit. “There’s nothing better than at least getting a personal approach to the officer as compared to just seeing us riding.”

He added: “Southwest is the area that I patrol the most, so we love coming out here.”

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