The Grand Parade route will be different for participants and onlookers this year. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Editor's Note

The Philomath News sat down with Philomath Frolic & Rodeo’s Chris Workman, who handles publicity as part of his role on the organization’s board of directors, to talk about this year’s celebration. This is the second in a series of four preview stories for the Frolic, which begins July 5 with a single evening activity and runs through July 8.

Get ready to set up your parade-viewing chairs in a different spot this year.

The Philomath Frolic & Rodeo changed the Grand Parade’s route out of a recommendation from the local police department, board publicity chair Chris Workman said.

The parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 8.

“They’re looking to improve safety, try to decrease the number of labor hours … the amount of staffing it takes to shut down the roads,” Workman said. “So they talked to the parade committee chair about switching the route around and to just try to stay off the highway altogether but still stay on enough main roads where people can still drive and park on the side streets and get access and stuff. So there was a little bit of back and forth on that and they settled on this route.”

The parade gets started on Chapel Drive out of the middle school entrance, proceeds one block west and then turns up South 19th Street. The parade will take a left onto Applegate Street and proceed west before turning south on South 15th down to Cedar and over to Fern Road into the rodeo grounds.

In previous years, the parade was entirely on Applegate Street from the high school down to the library, which includes the stretch on the highway.

“We’re not encouraging people to be on Chapel at all, that’s just how they’ll get to 19th,” Workman said about viewing spots. “It’ll come all the way up 19th to Applegate — that’ll be the long stretch.”

Parade participants will check in at the high school beginning at 7 a.m. with the front of the lineup in the area between the middle school and Chapel Drive. The Frolic has an online parade registration system set up for participants.

“Instead of coming off Chapel Drive to check in, you’ll come off Applegate and check in there in the high school parking lot,” Workman said. “It’ll go well — the parade chair has been doing this for a lot years … it’s in good hands they know what they’re doing and we’ll see how the new route goes.”

The parade’s grand marshals this year are Mark and Charla Koeppe.

“Well-deserved and you could almost say past due,” Workman said. “We couldn’t be happier that they accepted and will be there so we can honor them.”

Mark Koeppe retired late last year after a long career with the Philomath Police Department and has volunteered with several organizations over the years, including the fire department, Jaycees and the police before he was hired on. Charla Koeppe has also been very involved in various volunteer positions with several years on the City Council and as the Frolic & Rodeo secretary.

“I can’t think of better people to honor this year,” Workman said. “I hope that they’re pleased with the reception and their family is able to participate in the events and just have a good time.”

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.