Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Week of parades

As regular readers know, we are a parade family! Last week we attended two: the Junior Rose Parade, in which Chris marched and drummed, and the Grand Floral Parade. The weather was better for the second. Here we are waiting for the parade to start:

Here comes the best middle school band in Oregon (to us!). Chris was buried in the middle on the other side of the street from us, so I wasn't able to get a good photo of him. The junior parade is fun because most of the bands are from middle schools. When I was a kid, we didn't have middle school marching bands (at least not in Beaverton).

The weather miraculously improved for Saturday's big parade. (For those of you not in Oregon, we have had a HORRIFICALLY wet spring!!) The temperate weather made the long wait much more pleasant than usual.

Here's Nick with a firefighter, who was collecting donations for kids in his boot. Although he ADORES fire trucks and firefighters, he's also notoriously shy and nervous around them, so a smile was a real coup:
Nick's wearing his England South Africa World Cup shirt, which he received from Alison, our friend from Japan. Mike was not upset about the U.S.-England draw on Saturday, since his allegiances were torn!
My friend and coworker Tina--who recently relocated from Anchorage to Portland and took over a large part of my former job--joined us with her family for the parade. Three of her grandsons, and her daughter, were visiting and got to see their first Portland parade.

Aren't they adorable? I just LOVE little boys!

Here's Tina with her husband Gerald:
And Mom, Mike, and Chris:
The one time each year we seem to see our friend Charlene is at the Rose Parade. She and her friend Diane get downtown around 5:30 a.m. to stake out a prime parade viewing spot, and they are very kind to let us set up camp in their area. We know Charlene through our work in Precious Beginnings--she and her husband had a preemie, too, Kelsey:

And here are the phenomenal parade-space savers, Diane and Charlene!

I think I took all these photos before the parade started...I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in the parade this year. Compared to the days when I was a child, when they had 25 to 50 huge, gorgeous floats, now it's a bit skimpy on the beauty. Rose Parade floats are required to be made out of all-natural materials, and designing and decorating them are painstaking processes. This year the parade had only 15 floats, and they looked kind of bare in comparison to other years. I suppose the economy has hit the parade hard. (For example, I read that no business stepped up to sponsor a float for this year's Rose Festival Court.)

Where the parade did not skimp on was marching bands...however, there was not one marching band from Portland Public Schools in the parade. Apparently the Rose Festival does not allow Portland schools to march in the parade, for some bizarre reason. I find this very disappointing and plan to e-mail my thoughts to the Rose Festival.

But in the end, in spite of the weather and the skimpy floats, the kids had fun and we expressed our Portland community spirit--and that's what matters.

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