Even though the full annual Rainier Days has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the spirit of the community celebration will live on through a downsized parade at noon Saturday, July 11.
“We felt bad that we had to cancel the Rainier Days because of the pandemic,” Rainier Days Committee member Jerry Cole said. “But we felt we could still celebrate Rainier by having a parade. It’s all sidewalk-based and we felt people would be able to spread out along the revised parade route to keep social distancing.”
Instead of traveling straight down ‘A’ Street in Rainier, the route of the parade has been shifted to start on East 4th Street to East C Street to 1st Street to A Street West ending in the area of the boat launch.
“The original route is usually packed with people,” Cole said. “This is a bit different route. We spread it out so people could still follow the state’s social distancing requirements.”
Elements of the parade were still being solicited through the Rainier Days website, rainierdaysinthepark.com. There is no charge to enter the parade.
“We are seeking floats and people decorating their vehicles,” Cole said. “There is no entry that is too small or too big.”
Long-time community resident and local sports supporter Loyed Rea will be the parade’s Grand Marshal.
“The is a celebration of Rainier,” Cole said. “It is designed to provide some sort of joy to the city within the state’s social distancing guidelines.”
Parade organizers are encourage the public to stop by for a Grand Marshal meet-and-greet at the Rainier Senior Center right after the parade. The meet-and-greet is sponsored by the Rainier Oregon Historical Museum. Read more about Grand Marshal Loyed Rea attached to this story.
Rainer Days, a three day event is normally held the weekend after the fourth of July.
The following has been submitted by Jerry Cole.
Loyed Rea chosen to be 2020 Rainier Days Parade Grand Marshal
Saturday July 11 at noon
Loyed Rea’s family includes three generations of Rainier athletes. Loyed grew up above Rainier Union High School on Neer City Road within earshot of Columbian football games and could hear the band play, the cheerleaders cheer, and the booming voice of the announcer over the loudspeakers at the stadium during football games. Loyed, a natural athlete, and his athletic brothers and sisters were able to attend football and baseball games by using the trail near their house to the stadium and field. Loyed, along with brothers, Mick and Jim, and sisters, Arlene and Joan, used the RUHS field, where not a blade of grass would grow, but rocks were plentiful, to hone their athletic skills much to the delight of their mother Effie who was happy to have them out of the house.
When in the 8th grade at Rainier Grade School, Loyed played for the Bobcats 8th grade basketball team captained by Gene Flippin and coached by Earl Dinkelocker. Their team won the championship trophy of the area-wide basketball tournament held at the school. Others on the team were Jim Johnson, Frank Counts, John Womack, Joedy Oliva, Ross Corbett and Mick Rea.
Loyed’s athletic career in high school included basketball, where Loyed was frequently high scorer for the Columbians, also baseball and football. After high school Loyed could be found at most high school games, umpiring for baseball games and coaching little league when not at work. Unable to stray far from the games he loved, Loyed played for the Clatskanie-Rainier semi-pro baseball team in the early sixties. He played for the Portland Thunderbirds professional football team which was in existence from 1962 to 1965. Their games were held at Multnomah stadium.
In 1965, Loyed quit his job at Van Vleet Lumber Company, and he began longshoring, joining ILWU Local 21 in Longview. That same year he was selected president of the Rainier Jaycees which put on the Rainier Daze celebration. Committee members included Loyed, Jim “Red” Coffman and Tom Ramey. This was in the early days of the celebration when the Rainier Ski-Bees performed water ski performances, and Kon-Tiki raft races which were held at the Rainier Beach Blast. The Jaycees’ raft, manned by Lonnie Pellham, Dick Hadlock, Jim Coffman and Loyed Rea. They were responsible for sinking many rafts including their own.
Loyed loved to coach, so when his sons Casey, Jerry and Tony were old enough, Loyed coached their little league teams. If not coaching, he attended their games and continued through their high school years. His daughter, Shellie, was a standout volleyball and basketball player for the Columbians, where Loyed could only support her as a parent and fan.
In his 50’s Loyed and other area basketball players, with the sponsorship of Pudgy Hunt who was a well-known basketball player from Knappa, entered an over 50’s Masters Basketball Tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They won the tournament, but Loyed described the ride there and back with the team in one car “a little cramped.”
When grandsons Caymon, Connor, Daniel and Joe were old enough, Loyed had another generation of Columbians to coach and support. Since grandson Jarrod and granddaughter Maggie lived in Kansas with their parents, Loyed had to participate from afar.
Loyed retired from longshoring in 1996, but not from his passion for sports, being a huge Oregon Ducks fan and supporter of kids’ athletics.