SEASIDE - With a bang and a boom and a flash of red, white and blue, Independence Day festivities will burst upon the Northwest in just four days.
But at Roy Kirkham's house, planning for the day continues year-round. Kirkham is a member of the Seaside Museum and Historical Society's Board of Directors. He is also the Parade Coordinator for the museum's 19th annual Old-fashioned Fourth of July social.
"At my household, we eat and breathe Fourth of July," Kirkham said. "It takes hundreds and hundreds of hours to get this put together."
The event starts at 11:30 a.m. Sunday with a parade through Seaside. After the parade, the fun continues at the museum, 570 Necanicum Drive, with a cake walk, children's games, food booths, raffle drawing, silent auction and bingo.
There will be a free concert from noon to 4 p.m. on the steps of the museum's Butterfield Cottage featuring the New Pacific Jazz Band and visitors may tour the museum and cottage for free.
But beyond celebrating our country's birth, the festivities have a serious purpose. They help keep the museum's doors open by raising approximately $7,000. The museum's annual operating budget is approximately $40,000.
"This is our biggest fund-raiser of the year," said treasurer Helen Gaston. "We use the money for general operations, like the light bill. If we didn't have this money every year, we'd have to cut back on operations."
Old-fashioned funWhen the museum held its first social 19 years ago, the "old-fashioned" part was the rule. Anyone participating in the parade had to be on foot (or horseback). Since then, organizers have made some concessions to modernization, Gaston said.
This year's parade features decorated floats, the Seaside streetcar, classic cars, dancers, walkers, horse clubs and kids on bicycles. All are encouraged to participate in this year's theme "Let's Show the Colors." That means parade watchers will be seeing red ... and white and blue.
"It's kind of a freewheeling parade," Kirkham said. "We're changing every second."
Kirkham won't decide on the exact parade route until Sunday morning because of road work at the 12th Avenue Bridge.
If the parade follows its regular route, participants will line up along Necanicum Drive starting at the museum. The parade will head north on Necanicum, turn right on 12th Avenue, go south on Holladay Drive, turn onto Broadway Drive, go right on Columbia Street, right on First Avenue and end back at the museum.
If bridge pavement work is not completed, the parade will go south on Necanicum, over the First Avenue Bridge to Holladay and on to Broadway, Kirkham said.
Because this year's celebration is on a Sunday, Kirkham took care to talk with the ministers of all churches along the parade route. He wanted to make sure the parade would not conflict with church schedules. All gave him the go-ahead.
After the parade has passed by, visitors are invited to the museum's grounds, where the festivities continue with more old-fashioned fun. The children's games - like the fish pond and bean bag toss - are particularly popular.
"The games are strangely attractive to kids," Kirkham said. "There are no batteries. It's just the interaction of the crowd and the hustle and bustle of the fun. Kids are just fascinated and they get lost in it."
And it doesn't hurt that the museum gives away hundreds, "maybe even a thousand" prizes, including hats, beach balls, whirligigs and kickballs, Gaston said.
Inside the museum, grown-ups will enjoy placing bids on silent auction items, including camp lanterns, original paintings, restaurant gift certificates and an overnight stay at Heceta Head Bed and Breakfast. A raffle for a $100 Fred Meyer gift card will also be held.
Don't forget the food. Participants may purchase cotton candy, hot dogs, clam chowder and strawberry shortcake from a variety of food booths, many of which are run by local non-profit groups. Or participate in the cake walk to win one of the many cakes donated by local bakeries. Peggy Kirkham starts work in November, rounding up close to 100 cakes for the walk.
At dusk, the day's festivities will end with the Seaside Chamber of Commerce's beach fireworks show. The 30-minute-plus show is the largest on the Oregon Coast and attracts close to 20,000 people each year.
In other communities Cannon Beach: Beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday on the porch of the Coaster Theatre, the Philanthropic Educational Organization Sisterhood will sell strawberry shortcake to raise money for women's educational scholarships. A parade will begin at 1 p.m. at Gower and Spruce streets, go down Spruce to First Street and travel back to the American Legion via Hemlock Street. At 2 p.m., the North Coast Symphonic Band will give a free concert at the city park at Second Street and Spruce. See the related story about fireworks in Cannon Beach.
Gearhart: A parade featuring the Astoria High School Marching Band will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday at 10th Street and North Marion Avenue with a fly-by by the Oregon Air National Guard. The parade will travel south to Pacific Way and east to the Gearhart Fire Station, where free hot dogs and soda will be distributed by firefighters.
Warrenton: The Warrenton Community Center Board will sell Krispy Kreme donuts beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday at city hall. At noon, the Warrenton Firefighters Association will offer a free barbecue and tours of the fire station. The parade starts at 3 p.m. and heads down Main Avenue from the post office to Ninth Street, ending at the Warrenton Grade School.
Astoria: The Fourth of July square opens at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Columbia River Maritime Museum, at the foot of 17th Street. The event features food, games, the Astoria Fire Boat and a demonstration by the Coast Guard. The fireworks show begins at dusk.
Long Beach, Wash.: This year's celebration starts at the Port of Ilwaco with fireworks at dusk Saturday. Ocean Park hosts a festival and parade Sunday at 2 p.m. At dusk Sunday, a fireworks show will be held at the Bolstad Avenue approach in Long Beach. The next morning, residents are invited to any of the six major beach approaches at 9:30 a.m. to help clean the beach. For more information on the cleanup, contact Shelly Pollock at (360) 665- 5388, by e-mail to (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit (www.ourbeach.org)
Clatskanie: Festivities begin Saturday in the city park with a carnival, a dog show at 1 p.m. and a street dance from 7 to 10 p.m. on Nehalem Street. On Sunday, the Heritage Days Parade will begin at 11 a.m. on Nehalem Street, with a Kiwanis chicken barbecue at noon in the park. The fireworks show will begin at dark above downtown Clatskanie.