SALEM, Ore. - An 82-year-old 4th of July parade that features a menagerie of animals and families in Independence Day regalia is the newest Oregon Heritage Tradition by the Oregon Heritage Commission.
The Bend Fourth of July Pet Parade is one of 10 events that have been designated. The others include the Oregon State Fair, the Pendleton Round-Up, the Astoria Regatta and the Linn County Pioneer Picnic.
"The Heritage Commission wants to recognize those traditions that have helped define the state," said David Lewis, the commission's chair and historian for the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. "They are distinguished events that are part of our heritage as Oregonians."
"The Bend Park and Recreation District is pleased to receive this designation from the commission," said Jan Taylor, community relations manager. "It recognizes the community pride that Bend residents have for this eight decade long tradition. This is a home town tradition that all of Oregon can take part in, creating family memories that can last a lifetime."
The first Pet Parade took place in 1932 and in the early years people brought their pet antelope, June bugs, cats, dogs, deer, badgers, goldfish, chickens, squirrels, ducks, oxen, calves, a pet eagle, baby coyote, and fawns to walk the parade route. Today, visitors are more likely to see llamas, chickens, guinea pigs and reptiles in addition to hundreds of dogs, many who which are in costume.
This year, 4,000-5,000 participants are expected, as well as a similar number of spectators.
An Oregon Heritage Tradition must have been in continuous operation for more than 50 years, demonstrate a public profile and reputation that distinguishes it from more routine events, and add to the livability and identity of the state, said commission coordinator Kyle Jansson.
The Oregon Heritage Commission coordinates efforts to solve statewide heritage issues through grants, education, and advocacy, and also promotes heritage tourism efforts.