If you go
What: Hazel Dell Parade of Bands' 49th annual parade with 23 local school bands and at least 128 other groups. This year's theme is "Super Heroes!" The grand marshal is Jim Sork, retired Vancouver Public Schools educator and administrator.
Where: The parade begins at the District 6 fire station at 8800 Hazel Dell Ave. and ends at 78th Street and Highway 99.
When: 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
When it comes to defining a superhero, Batman and Superman certainly both fit the bill — but to many people, so do firefighters, nurses, soldiers, police officers and other first responders.
As about 150 school bands and other groups march in this weekend's 49th annual Hazel Dell Parade of Bands, they'll pay tribute to both kinds of superheroes. And organizers hope that spectators young and old will join them.
"If people want to, we absolutely want them to (dress up)," said Shelley Palmer, the parade co-chair. "I hope the kids do, that would be so much fun."
Organizers picked the "Super Heroes!" theme as a fun way to ramp up to the 50th anniversary parade, coming in 2014.
"We tried to come up with something that people could get excited about," said Brad Lothspeich, the other parade co-chair. "I'm eager to see what everyone picks (for their superhero). It could be a fireman, it could be Superman."
Asked what her favorite superhero was, Palmer said she was a big fan of Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man.
"He just is out there doing good, getting rid of all those evildoers," Palmer said. "And he always has a cool car."
The answer for Lothspeich was more simple.
"I work for the fire department, so you know my answer," Lothspeich said. "When I was a kid, though, my favorite was Superman."
The parade is also getting a technology upgrade this year, with a new Facebook fan page and the "Hazel Dell Parade" app for smartphones.
"The app will show our lineup, so people can track various groups in the parade," Lothspeich said. "They can also send in pictures."
It will be a test run for the new features so they'll be ready for the big 50th anniversary next year, the two said.
"Next year is going to be really, really big," Palmer said. "It's going to take us a year to put it together."
Usually, parade planning starts each September, but the co-chairs are already starting to plan for the 50th event, she added.
Before the parade begins, the Lions Club will host a breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. at Fire District 6 Station 1 at 8800 N.E. Hazel Dell Ave. Cost is $6.50 for adults, $5.50 for seniors and children ages 6 to 12, and free for children younger than 6.
A fun run begins at 10 a.m., with about 100 people planning to run the route before the parade begins.
"They kind of lead out the parade," Palmer said. "They let everybody know to get ready, it's coming."