7/1 M-I Town: Patty Taylor Dutcher

Our homes and businesses are decked out in red, white and blue to celebrate the USA's birthday -- the Fourth of July.

It's the special time of year when we spiff up the guest rooms and roll out the sleeping bags for visiting friends and family members, who travel from all over Oregon to share in MI Town's unique and wonderful Independence Day celebrations.


I'm honored to be a member of a very special group of women who make patriotic quilts for our returning Oregon National Guard heroes wounded in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Members of the Friendship Quilt Group live in Dallas, Independence and Monmouth.

Several Monmouth businesses, as well as City Hall and the Monmouth Library, have graciously offered space in their Main Street windows so we can display the quilts during Western Days, and honor our local men and women who proudly serve as members of the Oregon National Guard, the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.


On Thursday, July 2, Monmouth's Main Street Park is transformed into a community food and craft faire for several days with many delightful temptations you can't refuse. The highlight of the first evening -- and something we look forward to all year long -- is the annual band concert at 7 p.m. under the direction of Richard Sorenson, featuring the Willamette Valley Concert Band and the Monmouth-Independence Reconstituted Town Band. One lucky bidder will have the opportunity to conduct the combined musicians in the concert finale -- "The Stars and Stripes Forever."


Our appetites are whetted for the fireman's breakfast on Saturday, July 4, where we'll meet and greet friends and neighbors for some good conversation and a hearty breakfast. What a wonderful opportunity to show everyone our excellent fire station, where a great group of friends and neighbors are always prepared and ready in case of any emergency in MI Town.


The Western Days July 4 parade begins at Western Oregon University, with the children's parade at 11:30, followed by the mini-marathon at 11:45 and the main parade is scheduled for noon. Rick Gydesen, Riverview Park Amphitheater entertainment coordinator, has scheduled a full weekend of activity in Independence both before and after the fireworks presentation at dusk on July 4.


Don't forget to stop by the old Independence Library building for the Friends of the Independence Library used book sale, which will be held from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., Friday and Saturday, July 3 and 4. You'll find a great selection of books, tapes, DVDs and CDs at very reasonable prices.


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