An overcast morning allowed for comfortable viewing of dozens of local school bands during Clark County’s premier display of marching musicians from across the region on Saturday.
On May 20, the 2023 Hazel Dell Parade of Bands marched its way across its usual path, from Hazel Dell Avenue and up Northeast Highway 99. The 25 bands who participated matched the average number of participants the parade typically hosts, parade co-chair Brad Lothspeich said.
“We’ve got bands from all over the county,” Lotchspeich said.
It was the second year the parade returned after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Increased costs was one of the bigger changes during this year’s event. Lothspeich said insurance went up by about $2,000 this year and additional security at barricades to ensure motorists didn’t inadvertently get into the parade route cost $1,500.
“Everything from insurance to porta-potties to hiring some private security people to help with some barricades, everything just goes up,” Lothspeich said.
“Sounds of Freedom” was this year’s theme. Past Vancouver Barracks commanders Royce Pollard and Bob Knight were grand marshals. More than 100 entries took part in the parade, Lothspeich said.
He’s been involved with the parade since the 1980s. He recalled when the event’s staging area was at the old drive-in movie theater that once existed off of Northeast Fifth Avenue. The first parade he was involved in only had six bands, Lothspeich said.
“The reason why it started is because a lot of the bands didn’t have a parade to march in,” he said.
Even with the growth of the area, Lothspeich said very few businesses complain about having their operations impacted on the morning of the parade.
“Our motto is, it happens in spite of us,” Lothspeich said about the parade.