The Gleneden Beach 4th of July Parade started in 1994, making this the 25th anniversary. But the beauty of the event, which draws thousands every year, is that it harkens to an even earlier time.

“It’s like going back to the ’50s,” said Wilda Larson, owner of the Red Roof Cafe, a business along the parade route. “It not only brings the community together but also celebrates the very idea of community. Isn’t that a great way to spend this holiday?”

Every year, people flip for the pancake breakfast that starts the day, served at the Gleneden Beach Community Hall, 110 Azalea Street. Breakfast is $6 for adults, $3 for children from four to 10 and is free for under-fours.

This year there are a few new fun activities being served up before and after the main parade.

“We’re having a kids zone at Blake’s Coastal Nursery starting at 10 am,” Larsen said. “It will include a stilt walker, Max the Juggling Guy, Antonio Sombrero the balloon artist, a photo booth, a llama and pony, and a face painter.”

And on the George Morlan stage, contestants will be competing in the “Singing in the Shower” contest, where up to 12 finalists will be given the chance to show off their pipes.

“George Morlan Plumbing has a contest going on now where people make videos of themselves singing the George Morlan jingle in the shower,” Larsen said. “The finalists from that contest will be singing for the crowds so a winner can be chosen.”

The winners in two categories, age seven to 13 and 14 and up, will clean up with cash prizes and ride in the parade on the George Morlan Plumbing float.

Entries can be made until Monday, July 1. For rules and entry info, including the words and tune of the jingle, go to georgemorlan.com/sing.

Tunes will also be provided by those who didn’t get there by serenading a bar of soap.

“Hanna Cochrane and Freddie Lamb of the duo Run and Tell That will perform in our parking lot starting at 11 am,” Larsen said. “Hannah has an incredible voice; she will be the one singing the national anthem this year.”

Other festive sounds will be provided by the Thunder & Lightness Ensemble/Ocean Thunder Drummers led by Chandler Davis, performing in Dr. Vinjamuri’s parking lot.

The highlight of the event is of course the parade, starting at 1 pm and mixing revelry with respect.

“A big part of the parade is honoring members of the community, including our veterans,” Larsen said. “We will have World War II veteran Glenn McCall, Korean War veteran Stu Davis and Vietnam War veteran Bill Powell, who is marching in honor of those who didn’t make it home.”

Also proudly prancing the parade route will be service members of an entirely different sort.

“Nix and Bonni, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department K-9 officers will be with Deputy Smith and Deputy Akin.” Larsen said. “We want to honor the K-9 units of Lincoln County but also raise awareness of the campaign to get the Lincoln City Police Department a new K-9 unit.”

Proceeds from the annual 50/50 raffle will go to support the effort; the raffle winner will receive 50 percent of the money raised and the rest will go to LCPD. Raffle tickets can be purchased during the parade or before at the Side Door Cafe and the Red Roof Cafe.

“We’re about a third short our goal of raising $75,000,” said LCPD Lieutenant Dave Broderick. “That will help cover the dog, the officer’s training and other expenses.”

The officer will not be a new hire but will come from existing staff.

“We are currently going through the officers who applied,” Broderick said. “It’s definitely something our department is excited about.”

Broderick added the four-legged addition is long overdue.

“They are able to do different things than our human officers,” he said. “We have worked with the County and Bonni and Nix very successfully, but we’re hoping to have a dog of our own so we don’t have to wait for one from Newport when we really need it.”

Another honoree in the parade will be the winners of the Business of the Year, Chester’s Thriftway.

Vendors selling food, work from local artisans, and other goods will line the parade route starting at 9 am and continuing until about 3 pm.

Gleneden Beach Loop Road will be closed to cars for safe cruising of the craft fair by foot, wheelchair, stroller or little red wagon.

A free shuttle will depart every 15 minutes between 9 am and 3 pm from the Salishan Spa & Golf Resort Pro Shop, Gleneden Beach State Park and the Siletz Bay Airport.

For more information, go to glenedenbeachparade.com

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