CRESWELL — If you’ve been to Creswell on any random day, you know of its small, hometown vibes. If you’ve been to Creswell on the Fourth of July, however, you know that the City’s population swells into that of a big city — if only for the day.
Creswell’s population, as of 2023, is just over 5,600 people. Three times the city population, about 15,000 people, will be commuting to Creswell this year to experience why it is “The Place to be on the Fourth of July.”
With the inflated numbers of visitors, part of the city shuts down because of the parade, which has over 100 entries each year, and the city park, Harry Holt Memorial Park, becomes a “metropolis” for the area. Visitors gather for food, vendors, and to view performances.
“It’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest, Fourth of July celebrations in Oregon – definitely for our size,” said Jason Stubbs, who is the Creswell Chamber of Commerce president. “It’s really a good, hometown kind of celebration. It’s one of the places to be if you’ve never been.”
This year’s festivities will feature some of Creswell’s Fourth of July staples, including:
- July 3:City Hall Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest (noon-4pm)
- July 3: Patriotic Pet Competition (ends 3pm) City Hall for more info
- Pancake Breakfast from 7-10 a.m. at Harry Holt Memorial Park
- Independence Parade and military flyover at 11 a.m.
- Free flights for 8-17 year olds from Hobby Field airport from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. – weather permitting
- Vendors and music at Harry Holt Memorial Park from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Fireworks display at dusk
- Creswell Grange Vendors, Hot Dogs, Sno Cones 9am-3pm (274 W. Oregon Ave.)
- Creswell Heritage Foundation Open House 10am-3pm (Old School House; 195 S. 2nd Street)
- Creswell Museum Open 9:30-3:30pm (55 N. 5th Street)
“It has something for everybody,” Stubbs said. “Our parade is huge.” Since the first car out into the parade has to end where it started, Stubbs said the sheer amount of parade entries create a long enough caravan to cause the starting car to meet the final car, before the final car has even begun the parade route.
There have also been some new features added to this year’s festivities, including:
- A performance by country music band Pendleton Highway at Creswell High School from 6:30 p.m. until the fireworks show
- A raffle which includes prizes like: a semi-historic plane ride, a barbeque smoker, and a year’s worth of Papa Murphy pizza
Stubbs recommends everyone to arrive early to find a relatively close parking spot – especially since some roads begin closing at 10 a.m. for the parade. “It’s basically: Park where you can and walk,” Stubbs said. “It becomes very congested for sure.”
Stubbs said the Chamber wouldn’t have been able to do a lot of what makes the Fourth of July event so special if it wasn’t for the sponsors’ generous funding. Part of the Fourth of July budget is allocated from the county’s tourism fund, but the sponsors, volunteers, vendors, and overwhelming community support are what keep this celebration going year after year.
“I don’t think there’s an overarching theme of it, but if there was to be one, it would be community,” Stubbs said. “You’ve heard the phrase that ‘It takes a village,’ and that’s definitely the case as it takes a lot of people to put this on.”