The streets of downtown Camas will come alive just after noon on Friday when the Kids Parade kicks off the popular Camas Days festival.
This year’s theme is “Once Upon a Time.” Judging begins in front of the Camas Public Library and Camas City Hall, on Fourth Avenue and Franklin Street. Staging follows at noon, and then the parade starts at 12:15 p.m.
Organized by Camas Parks and Recreation, the parade is a show of imagination. Event coordinator Krista Bashaw encourages children, parents and adult supervisors to use creativity while assembling costumes and parade floats. Judging will be based on individual costumes, non-motorized floats and group costumes.
The Camas-Washougal Fire Department will lead the way with a loud siren, as children and youth clubs march down Fourth Avenue. There is no pre-registration, but some of the groups that have participated in the past include Boy Scouts Troop 562, Camas Fire Department, Grocery Outlet, Shireen the Stiltwalker, Team Mean Machine, and Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas.
Camas Mayor Scott Higgins and Camas School District Superintendent Jeff Snell will serve as parade announcers.
Bashaw’s favorite aspects of the parade are the fact that local children get to have their own parade, and seeing all of the imaginative costumes and floats.
“And, it’s so much fun to have Mayor Higgins and Superintendent Snell emceeing the event,” Bashaw said.
She noted that a local youth parade has been going on since the 1930s, but that Camas Parks and Recreation has run the parade since July of 1993.
Adding to the fun is the annual Camas Days Kids Street, where Steve Danielson and his Climb for Fun staff turn Dallas Street into a “kidville” filled with a 24-foot rock-climbing wall, an 18-foot inflatable slide, a 50-foot caterpillar obstacle course, a bouncy house and a pitching machine. Danielson and his crew have been a part of Camas Days for more than a decade. It all began when the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce was looking for something to replace the Kid’s Carnival.
Kids Street is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Activities cost between $1 and $7.
Erickson said that having a parade, street and vendors dedicated to children helps local youth feel like a part of the festivities.
“There are a lot of opportunities for kids to enjoy themselves,” he said. “There’s the climbing wall, inflatable slide and bounce houses. Parents feel comfortable with the Kids Street because it’s a very clean, family friendly presentation. It helps bring the young families out to enjoy Camas Days fun.”