Camas Days striking a chord with family

Parents, alumni help swell band as parade kicks off festivities

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

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PARADE First-Place WINNERS

EQUESTRIAN: Clark County Equestrian Fair Court.

DANCE: Camas High School band and cheerleaders.

FLOAT: Georgia-Pacific Camas Mill.

CARS: Northwest Corvette Group.

WALKING GROUP: Christian Youth Theater.

CAMAS -- About 65 entries, 78 minutes and a 38-year gap.

Those were some of the more interesting numbers from the annual Camas Days Parade, held Saturday through downtown Camas.

The gap was the age span between two musicians in the Camas High School band: Marilyn Felipe, Class of '76, and her daughter. Amanda, Class of '14.

The band had been anticipating a turnout of about 40 musicians for the midsummer performance but parents and alumni swelled the ranks to about 70.

Playing her saxophone was no problem, Marilyn Felipe said.

"I joined the Beacocks' New Horizons Band a couple of years ago. The music was not hard," she said. However, "The marching was challenging. It looks easy, but it's not."

She did march in the University of Washington band, but that was a while ago, Marilyn Felipe said.

This is the first time the band and cheerleaders have marched in the parade since she's been at Camas High, said flute player Virginia Duley, who will be a junior.

The group had one chance for a run-through, said Amanda Felipe, who also will be a junior.

"We practiced this morning," the piccolo player said.

Decades of combined community service earned Lea and Irma Hornbeck their spots near the front of the parade as the Senior Royalty Court.

"We've been to the parade before, but we've been on the sidewalk," Lea Hornbeck laughed. (His first name is pronounced "Lee" and is short for Leander.)

The Hornbecks' community service and volunteer stints include the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce, an Alzheimer's support group, the Lions Club, the Children's Home Society, the Two Rivers Heritage Museum and what was formerly known as Southwest Washington Medical Center.

Other honors went to Citizen of the Year Lloyd Halverson, Camas city administrator; and the Washougal Pendleton Woolen Mill, which was named Business of the Year.

The parade, which started with an 11 a.m. cannon blast in front of the Camas Public Library, was the signature event in the weekend's Camas Days celebration. It is expected to draw 14,000 or more people -- another interesting number -- during three days of activities, said Brent Erickson, executive director of the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce.

Although Camas Days is the chamber's biggest annual fundraiser, Erickson has a much more personal connection to the event.

"I've lived here my whole life, and I have good memories of Camas Days," Erickson said. "The parade was neat, and it was an opportunity to be with friends and family."

It certainly worked out that way for the Hornbecks. About 30 family members cheered them on as they rolled down Northeast Fourth Avenue in the back seat of a Mercedes-Benz convertible.

Actually, a few of their family members are too young to do much cheering: Their 10 great-grandchildren range from 13 years old down to 4 months, Irma said.

Marilyn and Amanda Felipe also turned the parade into a family event after Camas High School's band and cheerleaders signed up.

Other Saturday highlights included the annual bathtub races. They feature "two cast-iron tubs that must be 80 years old," said Aaron Lutz, race organizer who also shared announcing duties at Saturday's parade with Dan Quinn.

A four-wheel group converted the tubs into racers in the 1970s, Lutz said.

Sunday's events include the 18th annual Ducky Derby, a fundraiser for the Camas-Washougal Rotary Club. About 5,000 plastic yellow ducks will be dumped into the Washougal River at noon from the Third Avenue Bridge.

Tom Vogt: 360-735-4558; http://www.twitter.com/col_history; tom.vogt@columbian.com.