Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Liberty's Kids - "Gem" of a cartoon prepares kids for the holiday

This cartoon series introduces children to the Revolutionary War and teaches them about the birth of our nation.  The series is well-done, with the voices coming from an all-star cast.  Cartoons are a dime a dozen these days but this one will actually teach your kids something important while entertaining them.

The whole series can be ordered on

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Bike Parade Safety 101

It's hard to believe this will be the 5th year for this little bike parade!!  Along the way, we've learned some lessons and one of those is regarding bike safety during the parade.  If you have children riding their bike this year, please read the following tips:

Tip #1:  Stay with your children.  Some children in the past have been so excited about the fire engine,  they tried to "catch" up to them and ride beside them.    To avoid this dangerous situation, CERT volunteers, who help with event safety and security,  carry a banner behind the vehicles and make sure all children stay behind this banner.   You, as a parent, can help them do this by making sure your children know beforehand to stay away from all vehicles and most importantly, to stay close to you.

Tip #2:  Come prepared!  Kids and bikes equal the perfect recipe for scrapes and falls.  Make sure your child has a helmet and knee pads are not a bad idea either.  And don't forget to stuff a few bandaids in your pocket before you head out the door.  If you have any falls, pull out of the parade line to the sidewalk so you and child don't get run over by other little bicyclists behind you while you give some TLC.   After the parade, the CERT volunteers will have a first aid kit at their booth as well but maybe a free popsicle will prove to be just what the doctor ordered...

Tip #3:  Pull back if it gets congested.  The bike riders sometimes get too crowded together and are more susceptible to falls that way.  The biggest crowd will be right behind the CERT banner so if you have new and very young bike riders or just want your child to have more space, you might want to start out near back of parade where it's less crowded.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

April 17th, 2015 - Honoring Joel Perkins and the little park he gave to the town of Lafayette

Did you know that Joel Perkins Park is older than the state of Oregon??  It became a "public square" used for recreational purposes in 1849,  10 years before Oregon officially became one of the United "states".  Oregon was a "territory" up to that point.  Crazy little piece of trivia, huh?

On April 17th, the state of Oregon is placing a historical marker at this little park to recognize and honor this park's namesake, Joel Perkins, who also happens to be founder of the town.  He donated this block of land to be used as the town's public square when he platted Lafayette.   The earliest known event at the "square" took place in 1850 when it was the starting point for a July 4th parade.  The park itself is also being honored for being the oldest of its kind in Yamhill County.  

The ceremony will start at 12:30pm and will last about a half-hour.   We are so excited to see one of Lafayette's most interesting stories told on this beautiful marker so residents can learn about this town's rich heritage and the Oregon pioneer who started it.  For those who cannot come, the marker will be at the park for all to see at this year's July 4th Liberty Kids Parade and Picnic.  More info. on this year's event will be coming soon!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lafayette's Ice Cream Social of 1875

In 1875, The Daily Oregonian did a nice long write-up on Lafayette's Independence Day celebration - a gathering that had 3000-4000 people as its guests - that is the approximate population of our whole town today!

The article also happens to mention that "an abundance of good ice cream, of which there were no less than three stands" was enjoyed there by our town's pioneers.

Since starting the kids parade and picnic 4 years ago, our small parade team has not been able to find enough volunteers to bring this ice cream tradition back.  But we have managed to honor this fun town memory with the help of Mcminnville's Serendipity Ice Cream, who have been donating gift certificates as prizes for our parade contest.

So, if you plan on walking or riding the parade with your little ones this year, put a little creativity into your efforts and you might just earn yourself an ice cream treat.

And whether you win a prize or not,  consider making ice cream for a fun nostalgic family activity on the 4th.    Below is a link showing you how to make ice cream in a bag - a great recipe because it allows your kids to make their own bag of pure All-American yumminess!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Fruity Fourth

Seasonal fruit provides endless opportunities to get creative on the "4th".  Making patriotic treats out of nature's goodies is a fun activity to do with your kids in preparation for the holiday!   

The following link will lead you to more fruity desserts for the 4th:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Don't forget their helmets!

Since this is a bike parade, it is probably worth the time to review Oregon helmet laws! Below is a great website with some helpful info not only about the laws, but about bike safety in general!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Memorial Day Activities to do with your kids

1.  Find a cool and creative way to display the words "Home of the Free Because of the Brave" in or    around your home this Memorial Day weekend.
2.  Have your children dress in red, white and blue and explain why it's appropriate!
3.  Get some red, white, and blue balloons and release them as a family to the sky with a "thank you" note attached, to remember all who sacrificed for our security and freedom today.
3.  Have your kids help you make a book or chart of all the service veterans in your family.
4.  Find one of the many documentaries on Netflix about the different branches of the military and the training involved in becoming a soldier.  There is one specifically about Arlington National Cemetery that is very family-friendly.
5.  Visit a cemetery.  This may sound like a morbid activity to do with children but Memorial Day is the most beautiful time of year to visit because of all the flowers placed there.  Some of the oldest veteran graves no longer receive visitors or flowers so you can bring flowers to place there.  This is a powerful way to teach your children what this holiday is all about.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Have Americans forgotten why we light up the skies?

In the first 150 years or so after America's birth, July 4th was a holiday not just for celebrating our heritage but for remembering it as well.  Older generations of Americans were deeply concerned that young people would not appreciate all that had gone into building this nation.    

That is why in between parades, picnics, and fireworks, 18th and 19th Century Americans also gave long, passionate speeches about the war, made remembrance toasts to war heroes, and sang patriotic hymns that told these stories as well.   July 4th was often referred to then as the "nation's political sabbath".  There was a sacred and pure quality to these celebrations that is absent in many corners of American culture today.   This video demonstrates this sad truth all too well.

In times of relative comfort and ease,  it is easy to slip into a state of apathy about our heritage.  But how much more meaningful would those parades, picnics, and firework shows be if we 
dusted off the pages of history to hear about the sweat, blood, and tears that led to this nation's birth? This year, learn the stories on Netflix, You Tube, or even the good old-fashioned library.  Then, share those stories with your family and make a commitment to NEVER forget.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Calling All Volunteers!

We are looking for volunteers!  Not everyone can get away on July 4th and for those who are going to be hanging around town for a backyard BBQ this year, we would love for you to consider helping to bring smiles to kids' faces here in Lafayette that morning! 

Some of the ways we need help are:  set up, take down, judges, food servers (Lafayette Community Church helpers), handing out goodies, helping to decorate kids' bikes, decorating the park, helping to run the music, or just bringing something fun to share in the parade!  We are also looking for a few people who share our vision to join our planning team.   You can email us at if any of this sounds fun and worthy of your time!