Clover’s Day didn’t just spring up in the meadow. It was instead the creation of three Cloverdale businessmen, pharmacist John Griggs, grocery owner Bob Hatcher and shop owner Rich Schneider. Just because you are in a small place does not mean you cannot have big ideas.
Following in the footsteps of four previous pharmacists who operated their businesses in succession since 1904 out of what is now the Dory Café building, John operated his Cloverdale Pharmacy from 1977 to 2013 in the building currently housing The Rusty Cow. John, now 72, and his wife, Carol, both pharmacists, are now retired at their home in Cloverdale, but remain actively interested in ongoing civic life.
When John bought his business, Cloverdale was a rural spot with far too few customers, for him and other small businesses striving to succeed. John realized that attracting new residents and visitors required an “attraction,” a good reason to come to Cloverdale both for the day and to settle here. John, Bob and Rich formulated a children’s parade, to the best of John’s memory flanked by about 50 sidewalk sale tables offering arts and crafts, and what would become a major magnet enduring to this day, Tillamook ice cream.
In keeping with dairy country, the parade, extending from South County Motors at the south end of town to the feed store at the north end, was led by a dairy cow, the first “Clover,” decked-out with a horse blanket bearing her name. After some local input following the first couple of parades, it was decided the parade should provide something for all ages and thus the parade was opened to all groups wishing to participate.
The parade always included engines from the local fire department and their colleagues from Lincoln City, as well as classic cars. The cars were first on display in front of South County Motors, then fired up for the parade, some decorated as floats. The star car, transporting the Grand Marshall, was a 1952 Buick convertible, driven and generously loaned by car buff Jim Fields of Pacific City. Also participating in the parade were the Tillamook County Dairy Princess and the Tillamook Rodeo Queen, riding with a companion. The colors were provided and carried by members of the Grand Ronde Tribe and, last, but not least, an ambulance brought up the rear, at-the-ready in case someone overdid it. In addition to the parade, there were a petting zoo and a bouncy house for children, and live music by local professional country musicians was played throughout the day.
During this time, John was approached by Lions Clubs International about opening a branch in Cloverdale. John, together with eleven more local residents, formed the local Lions Club, originally including the ladies auxiliary Lionesses and the Leos kids club. Meetings were held at the VFW Hall, where the Lions put on a monthly community breakfast, with calculated care that one of the breakfast days fell on Clover’s Day. While responsibility for the breakfast was eventually taken by others and moved to the Nestucca Valley High School cafeteria, John’s conception, like that of every successful planner of events anywhere, held true: Feed Them And They Will Come! This splendid feast kicked-off the parade for 10 years running. The Lions eventually moved to the former Nestucca Valley Ambulance building on Park Street, where meetings benefiting many different community groups, including the 2019 Clover’s Day Planning Committee, are still held today.
The parade and participation grew over time and, this Saturday, July 6, Cloverdale will celebrate The 38th Annual Clover’s Day, with large attendance expected. The parade, starting at 11 am, will be led by the venerable Rosey, the current incarnation of Clover, kindly loaned by Debbie and Dave Hale of The Rusty Cow. There will be a kickoff breakfast at the Nestucca Valley High School cafeteria, portable comfort stations, a parking lot, a foot race, food from local cafes, a beer garden, all manner of arts and crafts, including imported hand-woven rugs, fine art and antiques, commemorative T-shirts, local creamery cheeses and, of course, legendary Tillamook ice cream, capped with a dusk fireworks extravaganza at Bob Straub Park.
While events today are highly dependent on funding from major sponsors, the original financing of Clover’s Day was quite different. But for a few community sponsors, including to the best of John’s memory US Bank, Dory Café, South End Motors and the Pacific City Chamber of Commerce, the principal funding method is described by John as having consisted of “a few donation jars on the counter at various Cloverdale shops where people contributed a few dollars or loose change as best they could.” It is amazing that John and those who worked with him could accomplish as much as they did with these contributions alone.
Now in 2019, a young group of Cloverdale residents is working hard to maintain the vibrant traditions of Clover’s Day and develop additional new features. John is looking forward to seeing what the new generation can accomplish for the community. Needless to say, he and Carol will be proudly watching the 38th Annual Clover’s Day parade this Saturday.