Five-day celebration highlighted by the Astoria Regatta's Grand Land Parade"Ooh, here it is! We've been waiting for this!"

Jean Grubaugh of Astoria pointed toward a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter that circled above Duane and Commercial Streets. Children and adults alike cheered as the helicopter passed overhead - it signaled the start of the Astoria Regatta's Grand Land Parade.

The parade was part of the 110th annual Astoria Regatta - a five-day celebration filled with festivities ranging from a queen's coronation to pancake breakfasts to boat races on the Columbia River.

With the Chinook bar pilot boat behind her, Eileen Thompson, coordinator of the Regatta Maritime Memorial Dedication, announces honored guests from the Coast Guard, Navy and Columbia River Bar Pilots at the Maritime Memorial Friday morning.LORI ASSA - The Daily Astorian

The Grand Land Parade, sponsored by U.S. Bank, was a highlight event for many citizens. According to the Regatta's Web site, the parade featured more than 80 entries, including two bagpipe bands, numerous floats from festivals and parades all over the area and the Astoria Regatta's own float - an old gillnetting boat.

Lacey B. Hoyer - The Daily Astorian

The court aboard the Olympia Capital Lakefair's float entertain spectators during the Grand Land Parade with a hula dance.Hundreds of spectators lined the blocks between 17th and 8th Streets along Duane and Commercial for the hour and a half long event. They ranged in age from a few weeks old to those well into their golden years. But they all connected as they sat outside and enjoyed the parade.

Grubaugh brought a green camping chair and digital camera downtown. She came alone this year, though her husband Leon has accompanied her in years past. She doesn't mind coming alone (Leon decided to stay home this year) because she says that at this parade she always runs into someone she knows or talks to people she just happens to be sitting by.

Lacey B. Hoyer - The Daily Astorian

Christian Paschall, left, likes the candy he's accepting, but he's not so sure about the clown. Paschall was one of hundreds of spectators during the parade Saturday."It's so much fun to see so many people," she said. "I love parades. I'm just so excited ... The weather's not the greatest, but it's so fun anyway."

Grubaugh's sentiment was shared by most of the people in attendance. LeRoy and Barbara Temple recently moved to Astoria from Cornelius, though Barbara grew up in Astoria. She says she saw her last Grand Land Parade about 40 years ago.

Lacey B. Hoyer - The Daily Astorian

Hundreds of spectators line Commercial Street Saturday, awaiting the beginning of the Astoria Regatta's Grand Land Parade."I'm anxious to see it," she said, grinning excitedly. "It's been so long since I've seen one." LeRoy was also excited to see the parade - though he thought watching the kids was just as fun.

And there were a lot of kids to watch.

They boogied to the music, giggled at the clowns and begged for candy like puppies for dinner scraps.

Lacey B. Hoyer - The Daily Astorian

The Astoria High School Marching Band performs a routine during the 2004 Astoria Regatta Grand Land Parade.Mike and Dawn Benthin of Astoria brought their troop down for the event. They sat on the sidewalk in camping chairs as their kids, a mix of biological and foster, ran for thrown candy and generally enjoyed themselves.

"This is their first parade," Mike said of Robert, 2; Natalie, 3; Miranda, 7 and Stephanie, 8. He and Dawn laughed as the kids danced, waved and blew kisses to the Regatta court and other parade participants going by.

"I'm enjoying it," said Stephanie, a tall girl with long, sandy-blonde hair. "I'm loving it!"

Christian Paschall, 7, also loved the parade, though he was more apt to show it than say it. He danced a little jig as a bagpipe band marched down the street, waved shyly to the young women riding in the different floats and stood at attention when the Oregon National Guard drove their vehicles by.

LORI ASSA - Th Daily Astorian

Seventeen-year-old Eliza Barbic, of Ballet Idaho and formerly of Maddox Dance Studio in Warrenton, performs a self-choreographed dance at the Flavel House Rose Garden Ceremony Friday afternoon. "He's been to the parade before, but this is the first year he's really gotten out there," said Christian's mother, Robin Paschall of Astoria. Paschall said she likes to come to the parade and bring her whole family, including her grown daughter and grandchildren.

"It's nice that everyone of all ages can come at once." she said.

Regatta festivities began on Tuesday and ended Sunday.

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