BG float parades through Portland

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Despite struggling with a shortage of volunteers, Battle Ground took part in the June 9 Portland Grand Floral Parade with a “mini” float and four princesses, as millions of people watched along the 4.3 mile parade route and on television.

The Battle Ground float featured a 4-foot-tall bee and beehive, with a pot of flowing honey. Beekeeper Darrell McClellan drove the float through the parade.

The Battle Ground theme of “Bee Happy” conformed to this year’s Portland parade theme of “Play Happy.”

The “mini” float measured about 12 feet long, 8 feet wide and 9 feet tall.

The float was decorated with orange crush roses, Asiatic lilies, daisies, carnations, seeds, and other materials. The beehive was covered with corn husks along with rope braided from raffia, a Palm tree fiber from Madagascar. Music with a “bee” theme emanated from the float.

Signs on both sides of the float depicting the Battle Ground logo were made primarily of dyed  coconut.

Four princesses walked the entire parade route. This year’s princesses were: Sarah Vonk, a junior at CAM academy in Battle Ground; Kiana Skinner a sophomore at Battle Ground High School; Rebecca Strizver, a sophomore at River HomeLink; and Pamela Lopez, a junior at Battle Ground High School.

Battle Ground has entered the Portland parade every year since 1955. This year an insufficient number of volunteers precluded the community from entering its traditional 35-foot long float. Members of the float committee and decorating crew hope to return to the larger float next year.

The Battle Ground float is constructed entirely by volunteers who work for months, first creating the framework with welding and other techniques, and then decorating every inch with living or once-living materials. The float project is currently headed by Amy Strickland.

The Battle Ground float was the 72nd entry in the parade. Alaska Airlines won the sweepstakes award.

The Battle Ground float was accompanied again this year in the Portland parade by the Battle Ground High School marching band under the direction of Greg McKelvey. The Battle Ground band won first place among out-of-Oregon bands with 99 or fewer members. The Prairie High School band, directed by Ryan Messling, won second place in the same category.

Last year, the Battle Ground float earned the Grand Marshal Award for best depiction of whimsy. The community float claimed the parade’s Sweepstakes Award as the best-of-the-best in 2006.

Members of the decorating crew expressed special gratitude to Clark Public Utilities for transporting the float to Portland and back, using a crane and a flatbed truck.



Safeway/Albertsons provided several days’ use of a refrigerator truck in which flowers were stored during the decorating process. Garside Florist in Vancouver donated corsages for the princess court.

Chelatchie Crossing at Cedars provided dinner for a June 7 event at which the Battle Ground committee hosted the Portland Grand Floral Parade princesses, the Battle Ground princesses and others. Chelatchie Crossing at Cedars, 15001 NE 181st St., Brush Prairie, at The Cedars golf course, is now open Mon.-Tue., 1-6 p.m., and Wed.-Sun., 9 a.m.-9 p.m. The restaurant may be reached at 360-723-0357.

Equestrian honors

Miss Vancouver Rodeo, Shyanne Chandler, was judged as the top rodeo or fair queen. Top honors for best equestrian group went to Wrinkled Wranglers of Clark County.

Rose Festival Junior Parade

Three bands from Battle Ground Public Schools were winners in the Fred Meyer Junior Parade which took place in Portland June 6.

The Pleasant Valley Middle School band, under the direction of Bowen Wolcott, won the sweepstakes award in the parade as the best band of any size. Pleasant Valley also won the sweepstakes award in the Junior Parade in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 when Evan Irwin was director. Irwin has since retired.

This is not only Bowen Wolcott’s first year at Pleasant Valley but also his first year teaching anywhere. He is a graduate of the University of Idaho where he majored in music performance (trumpet) and minored in music education. Wolcott said that Pleasant Valley, as sweepstakes winner, will be invited back to the Junior Parade next year.

The Tukes Valley Middle School band, directed by Alison Pierce, won first place among bands of 99 or fewer members, and the Maple Grove Middle School band, directed by James deBra, took third place in the same category.

Starlight Parade

The Hockinson High School band, under the direction of Corey McEnry, won first place among bands with 99 or fewer members in the June 2 Starlight Parade which is also part of the Portland Rose Festival activities.

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