Alice Richmond will host a Fourth of July-Centennial gathering at Willamette Park

by: TIDINGS FILE PHOTO - A crowd watches the festivities during one of Alice Richmond's past Fourth of July celebrations.With the Fourth of July neatly coinciding with West Linn’s centennial celebration this year, community advocate Alice Richmond has something special planned.

Richmond will play host to “West Linn’s Fourth of July — 100 Years Centennial Celebration” at Willamette Park on July 4. The event, which goes from 6 to 10 p.m., will feature a fireworks display as well as an array of food vendors and special “centennial cake” for the first 500 attendees, donated by the West Linn Albertsons store.

For Richmond, a native of France who moved to the United States in 1949, it is a chance to celebrate the spirit of a country — and city — she has come to adore.

“This is the one time per year that people will have togetherness with their whole family and with their friends,” Richmond said. “And everyone speaks the same language: the language of music, the language of independence.”

The event will kick off with the raising of the flag at about 6:30 p.m. From there, local Boy Scout Troup 149 will present the color guard and Summer Tan — daughter of City Councilor Jenni Tan — will sing the national anthem.

Richmond has planned for the release of about 300 balloons, 100 for each color of the flag.

State Rep. Julie Parrish, R-West Linn, state Sen. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin, and U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden will serve as masters of ceremonies and present short speeches. Royal Rosarians will also be on hand for photo opportunities. Royal Rosarian Prime Minister Gayle Whitehurst is a West Linn resident.

To round out the evening, Richmond has planned a raffle (prizes include a Pendleton Woolen Mills blanket and an array of gift certificates) and, of course, a fireworks show at dusk.

On that front, Richmond is adamant: Attendees should watch the show, not put on their own. Last year, she said, there were problems with people bringing their own fireworks and setting them off illegally throughout the park.

“There can be no individual fireworks in the park,” Richmond said. “You’ll have to be patient for the big one.”

For Richmond, the fireworks will represent the celebration of two things near and dear to her heart: the Fourth of July and West Linn.

“West Linn is now 100 years old — I won’t be around for the next 100-year anniversary,” Richmond said. “And we’re also celebrating the forefathers’ vision to bring us this.

“It’s the one national, historical heritage that we need to continue by blowing dynamite for pleasure.”

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