Thousands See River Pageant on the Deschutes

Subjects Applaud

Third Annual Fete Is Held on Mirror Pond on July Fourth

thousand-see-pageant-1935Out of Bend’s enchanted harbor, through a vast arch whose colors changed as bombs burst in the air, and into the mystic mirror pond last night drifted caravels of great beauty that enthralled 16,000 people crowded along the Drake Park shores. The occasion was Bend’s third annual Fourth of July water pageant, acclaimed the greatest ever presented on the picturesque mirror pond and probably the greatest of all fetes ever attempted in the northwest.

“Bubbling Youth,” a bowl with girls in its facets and iridescent bubbles ascending into the dark skies, won first place in the artistic division, and the Harding memorial of classic design, was awarded second place. In the unique division “Showboat,” a replica of the boats of fun that plied the Mississippi in olden days, won first place and “Covered Wagon,” drawn by four oxen placed second.

Meteor Aids Display

Not a single delay or misfortune, with the exception of a little flag that was broken from a mast as one of the floats came under the impressive arch, marred the 1936 pageant, and even the starry skies joined in adding color and mysticism to the spectacle. Low in the west, above the snow capped Three Sisters hung a crescent moon and brilliant Venus, and just as the queen float, a huge white swan, came under the arch of changing colors a meteor shot out of the east, its fragments falling in sparks as it blazed through the heavens. Because of great amount of fireworks being discharged, the big meteor was distinguished by few. It came from the east and its path was uncurving, differing from the trajectories of the fireworks sent up from the ground.

While the great crowd was still visible in the deepening twilight, Minor Welch, on the back bay side of the arch, pulled a switch on the receipt of instructions from W.A. Lackoff, in charge of illumination, and the vast arch was flooded with white light. Later, another switch was pulled and 100 Japanese lanterns, strung along the west bank of the mirror lake, burst into light and their rays were imprisoned and extended by the placid water. A few minutes later, another switch was closed and nine garden bowl shore designs, red and green, blazed along the east shore. Just as the first lights were switched on, an aerial bomb, shot into the sky by Ben Whisenand and Kenneth E. Sawyer, in charge of fireworks, burst with a terrific explosion and the sound of the detonation reverberated through wooded Drake Park, like a sharp crack of thunder.

Speedboat Leads

“Clear the river” came a call over the public address system, with W.E. Searcy at the microphone, and under the arch came A.E. Schuman’s speedboat, dividing the water into a “V” spray as it shot down the mirror lake with an American flag streaming in the breeze. The pageant was underway.

Feeling out the channel for the caravels of fairyland that were to follow, making certain that no enemies were lurking in the darkness of the water to menace Queen Virginia I. and her royal court, a destroyer flag ship, with Roy Cook at the helm came into the lake of mirrored memories as the arch lights were changed to red and green and the Bend Municipal band, directed by Fred Dallas, played “Anchors Aweigh.” Flares from roman candles, very resembling the tracers shells fired from convoys during submarine attacks in World war days, streaked from the flagship, entry of the Pilot Butte Inn garage.

“Behold the queen”–hardly had these words reached the vast audience than the big white swan, made under the supervision of T. D. Sexton, appeared under the varicolored arch and a murmur passed down the thickly massed eastern bank of the river. As the royal float slowly moved under the arch and into the mirror lake, color spray ascended from the mirror pond fountain, designed by Lackaff and made possible through the cooperation of the Bend fire department.

Royal Court on Swans

Queen Virginia I.–Miss Virginia Anderson–rode high on the swan that slowly drifted in the mirror pond, home of “Clyde” and “Lela” and numerous swan descendants. Perched on each side of Queen Virginia were her princesses–Helen Donovon, Margaret Van Metre, Joan Helfrich, Monica Ivancovich and Helen Sprangler. The murmur grew to applause as the majestic swan and its royal passengers were picked up by the shore lights, flashed from points in Drake park. The applause advanced from point to point as the swan float continued down the half mile channel, finally to disappear around the bend in the river.

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Source: Bend Bulletin ©1935

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