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Western Days Plans Outlined

Organizers plan a busy festival

`Best Show in the Valley'

on track for big 4th fete

INDEPENDENCE -- Plans move closer to reality as the Western Days Commission completes its tasks before the 2004 July 3-4 celebration opens with its Home Town Appreciation Day Friday, July 3.

Theme for this year's event is "Best Show in the Valley." With cancellation of Fourth activities in Salem, it is expected that the theme will be especially true in 2004.

Fireworks over the Willamette at Riverview Park highlight both nights. "It's all copacetic and on schedule," said pyrotechnician Keith Aldrich. The Saturday night display is being advertised only in the local community, Chairperson Kimber Stutzman emphasized.

The main parade starts at 2 p.m. in Monmouth and ends at Riverview Park in Independence. The Monmouth-Independence Rotary Club is handling the parade duties again this year. Peggy Mehl is chairing that club's efforts.

A Fourth of July flyover by Oregon Air National Guard jets is on the schedule as well, she said.

Entertainment Commissioner Valerie Roe is ecstatic about the caliber of entertainers she has arranged for gigs in Riverview Park both days.

"We have a wide variety of musical styles as we want something for everyone from 2 to 99," she said.

Children's Activities Commissioner Jennifer Mason promises a day full of activities at Riverview Park on both Saturday and Sunday of the event. On Saturday, activities include T-shirt decorating along with traditional favorites such as ice cream sundaes, helium-filled balloons and games. Sunday will have some of those activities as well as other ones.

As it was in 2003, there will be two children's parades Sunday. One will be in Monmouth and the other in Independence. Both parades will have helium-filled balloons and other goodies for participants.

Volunteers in both locations are still being welcomed to help with balloons and the parades.

Email messages can be sent to children's parade Commissioner Ryan Fox from the Western Days website at www.westerndays.net or by calling Fox at 503-623-838-1184.

Grace Sanner, co-park supervisor, reports that Cascade Shows Amusements will again provide the carnival rides and games. Kristine Lorenz, Vendors Commissioner, reports that more than 40 booths are confirmed. Local vendors are given priority but vendors from throughout the state and region will be on hand.

Security Commissioner Pete Roy confirms that Harbor Security will again assist local police agencies in providing security at parking sites and activities.

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