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ani, glitter

Small Town Marchers in the 1961 Grand Floral Parade

Back in 1960, the citizens of the small mill town and cattle community of Long Creek (located on highway 395 between Pendlton and John Day) were told that if we could raise $5,500 we'd be able to march in the Grand Floral Parade.

The target was April of 1961, which was my senior year year in high school.

We were a very poor town, but we got right in to wash cars and clean chicken coops. That didn't last very long! So as a main money raiser, the ladies all pitched in at the school lunch room and made maple bars to sell. They sold these five for a dollar on Wednesdays and Fridays. The ladies claimed that by April of '61 they'd made enough maple bars to stretch to the moon and back!

Anyway, everyone in Long Creek pitched in -- and we made the $5,500 we needed!

We all loaded on an old school bus for the adventure of a lifetime. We went through Pendlton and drove over 300 miles.

For most of us this was the first time out of Grant County. We stayed at the Benson Hotel, another first. On parade day we were taken to the Beaver Baseball Park, which I remember looked as large as an alfalfa field!

The day of the parade was very hot -- and we were wearing wool suits! I was the biggest boy in high school, so I was picked to pack a big, wooden bass drum. We would played our tunes -- and every block we had to dance a little jig. I have to admit that after two miles of this, I finally refused to dance. The majorette was mad at me, but I assured her that as I'd just graduated high school she could "sit on it."

It was a trip to remember. (But I haven't seen the parade since!)

~Charles Derrick