Union members will once again be a part of the Portland Rose Festival’s Starlight Parade this year, with entries from National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Branch 82 and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 48.
Members of Branch 82 have been taking part in the Starlight Parade since 1989. This year, they took inspiration from a U.S. Postal Service stamp commemorating the Wizard of Oz. Their entry is a lit-up float of the Emerald City, complete with Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and flying monkeys. Dorothy will be played by Reynolds High School senior Savannah Wilson, daughter of Oak Grove letter carrier (and parade float artist) Ken Wilson — and she’ll be singing Over the Rainbow.
Starlight parade coordinator Sue Canfield, a retired letter carrier from the Newberg Post Office, will be the Wicked Witch of the West. President Jim Falvey will be pulling the float in his vehicle. Most members will be marching behind the float, as members of the Lollipop Guild, the tough-but-cute union confectioners of Munchkinland.
IBEW’s entry, meanwhile, will use electroluminescent tape to highlight the work its members do — lighting up the night. Fifty members of IBEW Local 48 Volunteer Organizing Committee will march in formation in matching hard hats, safety vests, and T-shirts, carrying illuminated signs with messages of solidarity and community. It’s their second year in the parade.
The parade — officially known as PGE/SOLVE Starlight Parade — draws more than 250,000 spectators to downtown Portland. It will take place Saturday May 31 from 8:30 to 11 p.m. preceded by a costumed 5K fun run, and it will be broadcast live on Fox 12 TV.