Festivities on the Fourth
Pancakes and patriotism: that's what Lake Oswego does.
The Fourth of July is a special time to be a Lake Oswegan; when what feels like the entire community comes together to celebrate pride in their community, state and nation.
This year will be no different, and it marks the 70th year that the Lake Oswego Lions Club will host their annual pancake breakfast in George Rogers Park.
As always, breakfast begins at 7 a.m. and lasts until noon with all-you-can-eat pancakes for $9 for adults and $6 for children under 12. You also get coffee, juice and two sausages, as well as the option for gluten-free pancakes.
Gretchen Olson, a member of the board of directors for the LO Lions Club and one of the primary organizers of the pancake breakfast, has helped continue this tradition for more than 25 years, and she's proud to report this is the first year that all of the breakfast materials — pancakes, syrup, coffee, juice, sausages, you name it
— were donated completely free.
That means 100 percent of the proceeds from the pancake breakfast will go toward the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation located in Portland, as well as to various relief programs that help people across the country when disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes or floods strike.
"This is a great community service event. We've got live music and face painting to get people of all ages involved, and it's a great celebration of our nation's birthday," Olson said. "A lot of people don't realize how much the Lions do locally. We're testing sight and hearing, providing glasses and hearing aids to kids who can't afford it, and we're also giving flags to every first grader in Lake Oswego School District with a little pamphlet say-ing, 'here's what America's about.'"
If you come out to the pancake breakfast you'll likely find Olson and her fellow club members manning the grills, dancing around and getting the crowd fired up to celebrate the Fourth of July.
The annual event brings out about 3,000 people from Lake Oswego and surrounding areas, so the earlier you show up, the more likely it is you'll get through the line quicker.
Olson said the thing that gets her most excited is the amount of community support the Lions see each year for the pancake breakfast. About 25 volunteers from the National League of Young Men help to set up and tear down the event each year, as well as a contingent from the Lakeridge Pacers baseball team.
"It's not just the Lions, it's a total community event to serve others. It's so great to see young people giving back because you only hear the bad stuff in the news," Olson said. "It's great to emphasize that we have some really wonderful young people out there giving up a part of their day to give back to their community."
Following the pancake breakfast, folks will head over to A Avenue where the annual Star Spangled Parade will begin at 10 a.m.
This popular event has continued to grow year after year, and the 2019 parade is expected to be one of the biggest yet.
"The parade has grown tremendously over the years. When I first began my career in Parks & Recreation ten years ago, there were more people in the parade than spectators. Today, there are thousands lining the streets of A Avenue — it's incredible."
Staging for the parade participants will begin at 9 a.m. near the intersection of Iron Mountain Boulevard and Lake Garden Court. Registration for the parade ended June 12, and is full, but individuals and families that would like to walk in the parade are welcome to join the festivities by coming the staging area where they'll be placed with other families. Patriotically decorated bikes/trikes/wagons are welcome, as well as pets dressed up and parading with their owners down A Avenue toward the front of the parade. Pets in costume have an opportunity to win a prize by registering at the Animal Care Group booth in Millennium Plaza Park after the parade.
Once the parade culminates at approximately 10:30 a.m., the Star Spangled Celebration will kick off in Millennium Plaza Park with live music from The Gospel Hooligans, an all-American pie eating contest, face painting, balloon animals and more. Grab food from numerous local favorites like Blue Raeven, Dogs & Fries, Intentional Espresso, Klassic Kettle Corn, Koi Fusion, NOLA Doughnuts, Rip City Grill, and Ruby Jewel Ice Cream.
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