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ani, glitter

Parade Memories from Vancouver and Battle Ground, Washington

In 1955, Vancouver, Washington entered a float in the Portland Rose Parade with the theme "Anna and the Kind of Siam." Then a Clark College student, I was selected to portray 'Anna' at tryouts held by the Vancouver float committee. Four Vancouver high school girls were chosen to be harem girls. (Vancouver had only one high school at that time.) Vancouver's float won the Sweepstakes award in the parade. It was a gorgeous day with plenty of sunshine and I remember getting a sunburn -- and how much my face ached after the parade from the miles and miles of smiling.

The most embarrassing thing was that the guy who played 'The King' -- he was constantly flexing his chest muscles, one at a time. Those muscles were BIG, and it almost looked like he needed a bra! (In the 50's this was a bit much to have to look at for a couple of hours.)

Battle Ground entered a float that year with a horse and decorated buggy to celebrate the 100 Year Anniversary of 'the battle that didn't happen, but could have.' That city [Battle Ground] -- my city -- has entered a float every year since then! In fact, we even won the 2006 Sweepstakes award. (And had also previously won the Fred Meyer Kids' Sweepstakes Award.)

When my oldest son Ron Allworth was a baby, we bundled him up, put him in a dresser drawer in the back seat of the car and headed to the warehouse of the Darigold processing plant in Portland. (We didn't own a car bed, and car seats weren't even on the drawing boards in those days.) Because a cheese factory was operating in full swing in Battle Ground at the time, we had an 'in' with Darigold, who purchased many dairy products.

Battle Ground's first floats were built in Battle Ground, but all the decorating was done in Portland at the last minute -- and into the wee hours of the morning of the parade. The flower glues we used then worked very well, but the fumes and smells were atrocious! No environmental regulations in the 'good" old days.'

I've worked on Battle Ground's entries off and on (mostly on) since about 1958 -- and my husband Bill and I served as co-chairmen of the Battle Ground Float Committee for 7 years. We still work on the float today.

~Louise (McKay) Tucker

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