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Here comes the grand celebration

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“Mom, did you know there will be a parade and party downtown this weekend?” Thirty-some years later, I can still see the faces of my son and daughter as they asked this question. They were so excited about the possibility, and really, who doesn’t like a parade!
I’m talking of course about the Pateros Apple Pie Jamboree. They will be celebrating their 66th party on July 19, 20, and 21. It is always the third weekend of July. In our house, we actually set our schedules around this date. It is the community’s biggest celebration and because of this it seems everyone comes home that weekend to see family and friends. Class and family reunions are everywhere. This year will also be the city of Pateros’ Centennial Celebration. The mayor and delegates of Pateros, Philippines (whom our town is named after), will come to help celebrate and sign sister city documents.
The Jamboree was started by Mrs. John Countryman and sponsored by the Pateros Grange. It was well attended and featured a surprise visit from Gov. Monad Wallgren. Over the years it has grown and tried lots of different events, all while maintaining that ice cream social feel. A Jamboree committee makes all the decisions, and meets 9 months out of the year with the proceeds going to help fund youth activities in town.
Things start early on Saturday with the Jamboree Jog, 3-on-3 basketball tournament and bass tournament blast-off. There is never a worry about the kids running out of things to do, or where they are for that matter, as the whole downtown area is closed off for pedestrian traffic.
You can participate as much or as little as you’d like. Sit under a large shady tree and enjoy sloppy joes and homemade apple pie while watching the biggest little parade in Okanogan County, the personal watercraft races, kids’ games, or just visit with old friends.
There are a variety of arts and crafts vendors, a quilt show, and the most popular of all — the raw egg toss! Everyone is welcome to take a chance tossing the raw egg back and forth without breaking it. You really haven’t lived until you’ve tried to catch a raw egg thrown by a 7-year-old from about 40 feet away! If you do break it, don’t worry, the river is right there, or maybe someone will pay to dunk you in the dunk tank! The weather is usually great so the water is a refreshing welcome.
A great fireworks display kicks off at 10 p.m. Saturday over the Columbia River, so while you wait, sit and enjoy the live music that plays all weekend across from the park.
My kids will be home, as will my grandsons. That look of excitement now shows up in their faces as they ask me the same question. “Nana, did you know there will be a parade and party downtown this weekend?”
With a knowing smile I answer, “Oh, yes, I know, and we will be in the parade!”

Joni Parks is the deputy clerk and museum coordinator in Pateros. She can be reached at