A small-town Fourth in Ridgefield

Townspeople celebrate with parade, activities, fireworks

By Stefanie Donahue, Columbian staff writer

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Ridgefield parade award winners

Best commercial theme: Opus School of Music, “Footloose.”

Best noncommercial theme: Peewee Softball, “Dancing Bees.”

Best youth organization: Ridgefield High School cheerleading team, “Dancing With the Spuds.”

Mayor’s choice: BlackPearl Friesian Dance Troupe.

Grand marshal award: Clark Regional Wastewater District.

Honorable mentions: Ridgefield True Value Hardware, “Bugs”; El Rancho Viejo, “Mariachi”; Clark County Dairy Ambassadors.

RIDGEFIELD — The diversity of red, white and blue on display here was as varied as the thousands of people gathered for the annual Fourth of July celebration and parade Thursday.

"It is the one time here that the whole community is out," said volunteer Becky Standal. It is "a Ridgefield reunion," she added.

Standal grew up in Ridgefield and has volunteered at the parade since she was a child. Now, she is a member of a group of about 25 volunteers who have been planning Thursday's festivities since February.

"I enjoy seeing the population of Ridgefield all in one place at one time," said festival director Sandy Schill.

During the parade, more than 75 floats, decorated with anything and everything red, white, and blue, glided along Main Avenue. Many of the patriotic floats left behind offerings of candy, smiles and even water from squirt guns.

Mayor Ron Onslow and parade grand marshal Gary Adkins, with volunteer judges, chose their favorites based on best adherence to this year's theme, "Dancing in the Streets." Each winner received a trophy.

The deejay, Craig Brown, also committed to the theme.

"Everybody, in the streets! I want to hear thousands of people clap their hands out there," he said before showing the crowd his "lawnmower" and "sprinkler" moves while leading the crowd in a dance to the Village People's "Y.M.C.A."

Darcie Wallace, her daughter, son-in-law and their three children were among the parade-goers Thursday. Wallace grew up in Ridgefield and has attended the event for more than 40 years, she said. The small-town atmosphere and the firetrucks are her favorite parts if the Fourth of July festivities, she added.

The celebration has been apart of Ridgefield for more than 100 years, and an estimated 5,000 people attend each year, according to http://www.ridgefield4th.com.

The event is put together through the work of volunteers and donations. This year, the volunteers offered events, contests and activities including fun runs, a derby car race and, later in the evening, a fireworks display.

Everything was free this year but two morning fun runs and a $5 wristband for kids access to activities. Organizers tried to keep the price low, Schill said.

"We do it because we want to do something for the city of Ridgefield," she said.