ashland.news
July 18, 2024

Huge crowd turns out for Ashland Fourth of July parade

The combined Ashland Middle and High School Band entertains spectators along Main Street. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
July 4, 2024

Estimated 20,000 onlookers saw more than 70 entries make their way down Main Street

By Emma Coke, Ashland.news

Ashland’s population doubled in size for a few hours Thursday as a huge crowd turned out to cheer on Ashland’s Fourth of July parade featuring more than 70 entries, including horses, despite temperatures reaching nearly 90 degrees by the parade’s pre-noon finish. 

According to Katharine Cato, director of travel for Ashland Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the parade, around 20,000 people were in the crowd, twice as many as turned out for their Thanksgiving parade.

Within the large crowd flanking both sides of the street was a mixture of long-time attendees and people watching the parade for the first time. Many chose to select their spot the day before, chalking up rectangles on the sidewalk or planting their chairs down in hopes of a bit of shade and a good view.

A woman waits for the rest of her party for the parade on Siskiyou Boulevard in Ashland Thursday morning. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini

Watch the parade
To view a video of the full parade, click here

Pamela Nelson-Munson chose her spot between two small trees on Main Street the previous day at 6:30 a.m., thinking they’d provide plenty of shade. Being too small, the trees didn’t. 

“Next time maybe I’ll be on the other side,” Nelson-Munson said of Main Street’s shadier side.

Despite the lack of shade, Nelson-Munson, who has been coming to the parade for 14 years, was just as happy to be there. 

“It’s a really good parade,” Nelson-Munson said. “There was a lot of good entries and there’s always fun and funny entries. And it moves a lot and it’s accessible.”

Joshua and Jennifer Chenowetch have also been coming to the parade for many years. This was their fourth time watching it.

“It’s really fun and festive and awesome,” said Jennifer. 

Boy Scout Troop 112 leads the Ashland 4th of July parade as the 173rd Fighter Wing out of Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls conducts its second of nine flyovers Thursday morning. The planes fly at 1,000 feet above ground level and about 400 mph airspeed. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini

“It’s particularly awesome,” Joshua added.

The couple, like others, elected to find their spot the day before. 

“We came at around 10 a.m. and looked where it was shady,” Jennifer said. 

Normally, they bring their daughter with them. This year, though, their daughter was actually in the parade, joining the stilt walkers of Ashland Aerial Arts.

Other onlookers were new to watching the parade.

Ashland Scout Troop 112 serves as color guard for the annual 4th of July Parade sponsored by the Ashland Chamber of Commerce. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini

Eric and Kaitlin Bingham just moved to Ashland from Southern California.

“We wanted to check out the town and, you know, wanted to see what it’s all about,” said Eric Bingham. “We wanted to meet more people in the town.”

The high temperatures didn’t bother Kaitlin and Eric. 

“We’re kinda used to it,” Kaitlin said.

The theme for this year’s parade was “Go 4th for Kids – We’re all kids at heart.” Riding in a place of honor in the parade was co-Grand Marshal Avalon Gerk, 14. Co-Grand Marshal Ember Richards, 10, is in Vienna, Austria, with the Siskiyou Strings, playing in the Summa Cum Laude International World Music Festival. Avalon and Ember were named “Kid Mayors” of Ashland after winning their respective divisions in the “If I Were Mayor” contest.

A bicycle rider from KSKQ Community Radio uses squirt guns to cool off the crowd watching Thursday’s parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini

Volunteer parade judges selected parade entry winners based on how closely they related to the theme. The grand prize went to Cub Scouts Pack 112, first place went to the Firecracker Queens and second place went to Mt. Ashland Ski Area. All were awarded cash prizes. 

The parade was led by a color guard, which included members of Ashland Scout Troop 112, followed by the Ashland Chamber of Commerce’s parade banner carried by the Cub Scouts, the Ashland City Band, Gerk, and the parade’s dignitaries.

Many of the dignitaries rode in old cars, some of them convertibles, dating back to at least the 1960s.

Joseph Hattrick, who started his job as Ashland Schools Superintendent on Monday, rides in an orange 1956 Corvette for Thursday’s parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini

Onlookers cheered and clapped as different entries made their way through the parade route, with the parade marchers cheering right back at the crowd.

El Tapatio Restaurant marched down the parade route with horses, Ashland Aerial Arts had stilt walkers, and the marchers of the YMCA danced along to the Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.”

Even Smokey Bear of the U.S. Forest Service was in attendance.

Riding in a 1929 Bentley, Ximena Chao, Guanajuato Youth Representative to Ashland (left), and Mackenzie Locklin, Ashland Youth Representative to Guanajuato, wave to the crowd. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini

Some entrants handed out candy, others handed out stickers. The Rotary Club of Ashland’s Ashland Reads took a different route, handing out children’s books.

Not an official parade entrant but seen several times throughout the route was an individual wearing a Donald Trump mask and a black-and-white striped prison uniform riding a bike bearing a sign saying “94.1 KSKQ Community Radio.”

The parade concluded with the American Band College, who played their instruments until the end.

A lone clarinet player occupies the back of the third semi flatbed trailer that carried the American Band College parade entry. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini

Following the parade, holiday events were scheduled to continue from noon to 3 p.m. at Lithia Park’s Bandshell. Events included music played by the Ashland City Band, followed by the singing of the U.S. national anthem and Mexico’s national anthem by guests from Ashland’s sister city Guanajuato, a Lincoln impersonator, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, before concluding with MountainTop Sound and The Bill Scholar Band.  

Bob Jackson-Miner, as Abraham Lincoln, delivered the Gettysburg Address while the Ashland City Band played “American Civil War Fantasy.” Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini

The American Band College was set to take up their instruments again for an evening concert at 7:30 p.m. at the Ashland High School football stadium.

The band is composed of nearly 200 musicians, master’s degree candidates attending the annual American Band College’s three-week summer workshop in Ashland.

Email Ashland.news reporter intern Emma Coke at emmasuecoke@gmail.com.

A bagpiper shows her holiday colors while marking with the Jefferson Pipe Band in the 4th of July Parade. Band members come from all over the mythical State of Jefferson. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
A dancer spreads her wings in Ashland’s 4th of July Parade Thursday. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
Nearly 200 American Band College musicians from 37 states and four foreign countries entertain parade watchers on Thursday. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
Ashland.news participates in the parade for the first time with a group of staff, board members, contributors and supporters. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
The Oregon Shakespeare Fesitval’s parade entry was led by Artistic Director Tim Bond (waving) and Interim Executive Director Tyler Hokama. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
Following many groups throwing out candy, the La Clinica group hands out toothbrushes to young parade watchers. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
Mitchell Klaitch drives his 1949 John Deere tractor to pull the Ashland Masonic Lodge’s parade entry. The Masons have been in Ashland since 1879. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
The Firecracker Queens, a neighborhood entry of red, white and blue queens, dance down Main Street. The group took first place honors in parade entry judging. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
Siskiyou Mountain Club volunteers demonstrate some of the skills they use maintaining more than 400 miles of trails across the national forests of southwest Oregon and northwest California. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
Young stilt walkers from Ashland Aerial Arts, sporting red, white and blue, show their skills as they walk the parade route Thursday. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
Trombone players march with the combined Ashland schools bands for the 4th of July Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
Rogue Valley Metaphysical Library’s parade entry features a variety of colorful tube men and books. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
City Councilor Eric Hansen rides his mountain bike as part of a group of Ashland elected officials in the parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
The Broadway Boomers dance class, for anyone over 55, poses for a group photo in the line-up area before the start of Ashland’s annual 4th of July Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
Ximena Chao, Guanajuato Youth Representative to Ashland (center), thanked the Amigo Club and city of Ashland for hosting the delegation and 55 years of cross-border friendship. ​​Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
Mayor Tonya Graham, with help from an enthusiastic young woman, led the crowd in a cheer for U.S. Olympic athletes. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
Ashland City Band performed a concert of patriotic music at the Lithia Park Butler Bandshell following the 4th of July Parade. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
After Thursday’s Ashland parade, Ashland Aerial Arts offered demonstrations of aerial acrobatics in Lithia Park. Ashland.news photo by Bob Palermini
Picture of Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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