St. Johns Parade is ON—IF the city grants permit

St. Johns Parade marching band. Image by John Talton Jr.
St. Johns Parade marching band. Image by John Talton Jr.

The iconic St. Johns Parade will march back onto the streets and hearts of the North Portland community on Saturday, May 13, 2023, if the hard working group of volunteer organizers have their way. That is IF the City of Portland’s Transportation Bureau finally approves the permit. Longtime parade organizer and 2023 co-chair, Barbara Legge said the permit has been rewritten and resubmitted for the fourth time in February. The organizers are still waiting to hear back as of this writing.

The earlier permit had to be resubmitted multiple times due to city stipulations about reduction of the size of the parade, and change of route. “We’re running out of time to organize and promote it,” said Legge. The group is hopeful that the city will finally approve the permit allowing them to organize the 61st annual St. Johns Parade after a hiatus of three years.

Community members are also anxious to see the return of the parade. New business owner, Brian Manning, of Revolutions Bookshop located in the St. Johns town center said, “I’ve never experienced the parade as a business owner. I’m looking forward to its return.”

The St. Johns Parade started in 1962 according the organizers’ website and ever since has celebrated North Portland every spring until 2019 when the COVID pandemic put it on hiatus. Among other activities, the parade organizers choose an annual theme, select a Citizen of the year, and invite politicians to participate by riding or walking in the event along with school bands, dance groups, and a cadre of other marchers.

Specially designed St. Johns Parade pins are sold at several St. Johns’ businesses to support the event which usually takes months of advance preparation. Donations are also welcome any time of year at Kudos to the volunteers for their patience and effort in bringing the parade back in the face of obstacles.

If you or your group are interested in participating in the St. Johns Parade on May 13, you are welcome to fill out an entry form at Nominations for Citizen of the Year can also be made there.

Stay tuned to the North Peninsula Review for more updates on the St. Johns Parade.

Photo courtesy of David Talton Jr. and the St. Johns Parade Committee

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