by: Rita A. Leonard At its S.E. Powell Boulevard at 26th Street location, Burgerville Manager Paul Ridlon is flanked by clowns

There were clowns, balloons, music, magic, cake, and even real cowboys at Burgerville's 50th Birthday Party, as celebrated at the store at Powell Boulevard and S.E. 26th, across from Cleveland High School.

The September 10th event drew over a thousand customers who flocked to enjoy one-day 'throwback menu prices' which had been offered originally in the early 1990's. Burgerville Manager Paul Ridlon observed, 'Our original cheeseburger for 99 cents and milkshakes for $1.29 were clearly the visitor favorites. We thank Cleveland High for generously allowing us access to free overflow parking in their parking lot next door."

Vancouver-based Burgerville has served the Pacific Northwest since 1961. Chief Cultural Officer Jack Graves, who talked with THE BEE following the noon-till-4 pm lunchtime crush, revealed, "We've held about 23 of these parties around the area this summer, and more of them are scheduled through October.

'Each site features different types of celebrations, along with our Heritage Menu prices. Here we offered customers gift basket giveaways with a back-to-school theme at set times - to the 100th customer, and so forth. We also brought in cowboys from one of our natural beef ranch suppliers near Corvallis, to show the kids how to lasso a steer.'

A large hot air balloon tethered to the roof of the business, extra staff, and hundreds of colorful balloons invited participation in the 50th Anniversary celebration. Face-painted children enjoyed choosing balloon sculptures and trying their hand at maneuvering a lasso around a plastic steer's head mounted outdoors on a hay bale. Rancher Dan Barnhart and his young son, dressed in cowboy gear, cheerfully answered questions and gave roping lessons to eager customers.

Extra managers and employees staffed the busy shifts, while professional clown 'Sophie' performed the face painting, and 'Jimmy McSkip' created balloon sculptures under a colorful canopy of free balloons. The snack food and fun provided a perfect end to Inner Southeast Portland's first week back to school.

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