Everybody has their own reason for heading downtown on the third Saturday in July for “Celebrate Hillsboro,” which is presented by Tuality Healthcare.

For some, it’s the fresh fruit and vegetables at the Farmers’ Market. Others like the lineup of live music playing on three stages throughout the day. Still more might say they enjoy the simple pleasure of people-watching in such a diverse environment.

When you think about it, no reason for going to Celebrate Hillsboro is really better than another. You see, it’s all about building community and taking the time to appreciate each other. We don’t do that often enough in today’s fast-paced world, and that makes it even more special when we do set aside a day to come together and share in an experience such as Celebrate Hillsboro.

From the neighbors you rarely see to the small business owners you haven’t met, Celebrate Hillsboro connects our city together, ensuring we keep the community feel while our population and economy continue to grow. Since Hillsboro is known throughout the region as a great place to raise a family, it’s only fitting that our free, family-friendly street festival has become a tradition, and a great source of hometown pride.

We want our residents to live full, healthy lives. That’s why we’re so glad Tuality Healthcare continues to make Celebrate Hillsboro possible, as it has for the past nine years. By working with Tuality and others, the Health & Wellness Village at Celebrate Hillsboro allows anyone to take advantage of free screenings to check blood pressure, cholesterol, vision and dental health.

Celebrate Hillsboro can improve your cardiovascular health as well. Futsal is known to many as “street soccer,” and we’ll once again host a futsal tournament in the south parking lot of the Tom Hughes Civic Center. If bicycling is more your speed, the Washington County Bicycle Transportation Coalition’s Tour de Parks ride launches at noon from the corner of Northeast Third Avenue and Lincoln Street. The best part is, you get to choose how far you go.

Along with healthy living comes green living, and, like the city as a whole, Celebrate Hillsboro is continuing its commitment to sustainability. This year, we have new, eco-friendly activities that will make it fun and easy for kids and adults to learn to reuse and recycle.

Speaking of kids, they’re going to love getting an up-close look at the Trashformers, which are life-sized “robots” made by Hillsboro resident Jorge Reyes. With his professional cabinet-making skills, Jorge re-uses common scrap material, spare parts and other items, to create the Trashformers that his son loves. This year, they’ll be on display at Celebrate Hillsboro.

Celebrate Hillsboro also features arts and crafts, jugglers and many more activities that appeal to all ages. While this is a family event, that doesn’t mean mom and dad can’t enjoy a glass of wine or a beer from our local vendors. Of course, if water is a better option on a warm day, the Hillsboro Water Department will have “your hometown tap” on hand for free, cold Hillsboro water.

So many people work throughout the year to make Celebrate Hillsboro happen that it’s easy to forget all that goes into putting on such an extraordinary event. But the hard work pays off each year because this is your city, and you deserve the kind of community experience Celebrate Hillsboro provides.

For whatever reason you come downtown on July 20, I’m just glad you and I are a part of it.

Jerry Willey is mayor of the city of Hillsboro.

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