Large crowds turn out everywhere for local Fourth of July activities as the nation celebrates its birthday

Fourth of July festivities started with a bang at George Rogers Park last Friday, as members of the Lake Oswego Lions Club served their traditional Pancake Breakfast.

Diners, many clad in their finest red, white and blue apparel, didn't seem to mind the wait in line for their pancakes. Lions Club members reported flipping a record number of pancakes to feed a larger-than-expected crowd.

To city employee Vera Panteleeva, it was an especially important day. 'I have just applied for citizenship!' the 31-year-old Russian immigrant said. 'This is awesome. I can't wait to take the test to be a citizen. I want to be able to vote!' she beamed. She has been in the United States for seven years.

Along A Avenue and First Street, people cued up in some places three deep to watch the parade. The crowd erupted in cheers in response to the flyover salute by an Air Force fighter jet.

No one was more proud than John Bastian, a veteran of the Korean War.

'It's a great day to think back and appreciate all we have in this country,' he said. 'I'm proud of the little effort I gave to our country. And it's a fun day to get out and walk my dog!'

This year's parade could prove to be the longest in Lake Oswego history. Led by fire department crewmembers riding in a shiny red fire engine, the parade included a Boy Scout color guard and cub scouts, vehicles from area businesses, antique cars, soccer teams, Lake Oswego Mayor Judie Hammerstad and city council members, Oregon Mother of the Year Jacque Lynn Quello, and a multitude of bikes, dogs, pogo stickers, neighborhood association members, schools and unicyclers. Everyone wanted to get into the act and show their patriotism.

The parade ended in Millennium Plaza Park, which became total mayhem as paraders and spectators packed into the park to enjoy the afternoon's music and fun.

And, just in case people were still hungry or hadn't been to the pancake breakfast, members of the Lake Grove Lions Club were grilling hotdogs and hamburgers to feed the masses.

Still ahead was the boat parade on Lakewood Bay and, much later that evening, every kids' thrill: Sparklers and fireworks displays in neighborhoods and over Oswego Lake.

Hurrah for the red, white and blue!

Do you have a wish for our country on its birthday? Here is a sampling of what citizens at Friday's Lake Oswego Lions Club pancake breakfast wished for the nation:

* 'Less war. More peace.' Gibson Toombs, Lake Oswego

* 'Continuation of fiscal policies to avoid a recession.' Chuck Toombs, Lake Oswego

* 'We want peace.' Pat Newkirk, Alameda, Calif., here visiting her daughter's family.

* 'Peace No. 1. I'd like to see our country get back on solid footing once again.' Jennifer Bagwell, Lake Oswego

* 'Peace.' Genita Costello, Lake Oswego

* 'I love to see flags flying. I wish we would think back to history and to all we've gone through to get here. Remember and honor our history.' Susan Mansfield, West Linn

* 'Lower gas prices!' Cameron Turner, Lake Oswego

* 'Be happy!' Chloe Rose Ryan, age 4, Lake Oswego.

* 'Peace.' Amy Ryan, Lake Oswego

* 'Peace.' Elizabeth Buchanan, Lake Oswego

* 'Peace, prosperity and intelligent voters.' Ed and Joanne Casey, Tualatin

* 'Lower gas prices, improved stock market, everyone to be happy!' Sue Grove, Lake Oswego

* 'More gin … or margaritas!' Mark Stoesser, Lake Oswego

* 'Peace, prosperity, move forward to positive change.' Mary Horman, Lake Oswego

* 'Peace with honor.' Phil and Cynthia Barr, Lake Oswego

* 'Peace. End the war.' Jeannette Gallagher, Lake Oswego

* 'Focus on the things that keep us together rather than the things that keep up apart.' Sean Gallagher, Lake Oswego

* 'Better reputation within the world.' Erika Stohl, Portland

* 'Hoping our freedom doesn't destroy our country. We need to respect our freedom and not abuse it.' John Bastian, Lake Oswego

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