Two days and counting ...

The annual Fourth of July parade is just two days away, and for some of the entrants it will be a race against the clock.

Last year's grand prize award-winner, the Moonshine Luv Shack float, will return &

this time re-created as a promotion for the Eagle Mill Farm Education Project, complete with a some farm tools, a banner and perhaps even a few wheelbarrows alongside.

The problem is, it still has not been decorated.

"It's definitely exciting trying to get more people who want to be on the float and scrambling around," said Chris Fowler, the director of the project. "It tends to be a little bit last-minute."

Although their float came pre-constructed, the parade comes during the busy season on the farm, almost guaranteeing a last-minute rush for the finishing touches.

"There's a level of excitement and anticipation and stress of getting ready," he said. "There's a nice little adrenaline boost."

This year's parade will feature 90 entries, the average of the past several years, said Jim Kidd, who chairs the parade and the Fourth of July committee. Although the lineup is now cemented, even he had to do some scrambling for a new head judge after long-time judge Don Rist passed away in May, he said.

In addition to the usual cast of characters in the annual parade, a group of World War II-era military vehicles has entered for the first time, he said, and other entrants, such as The Banned Joes banjo players will return after a disappearing for a few years.

The Talent Tomato Festival entry, made up of Oregon Shakespeare Festival employees, will also return this year after a hiatus of more than 15 years, said marketing director Bob Hackett. They are also part of the last-minute rush to finish before show time.

The Shakespeare festival decided about a month ago to revive the marching band carrying giant tomatoes, he said, but the team of 16 marchers just learned their formations today, and the banner isn't scheduled for decorating until the night before the big event.

Still, the moves are mainly improvisational, and they are confident the tomatoes will be a hit.

"The whole idea is to make a lot of noise and have a lot of fun," Hackett said. "It's very high energy and participatory, and that's why it works for our company."

Among the commercial entries is GlideCycle, a company in its second round of beta-testing what it calls a revolutionary outdoor physical trainer.

The contraption, in development by founder David Vidmar since July 2007, resembles a bike without pedals and has a seat suspended from an arched overhead bar. It is designed to remove weight from the legs and help even the most encumbered runners exercise with a running, gliding motion, Vidmar said.

Although he is still in talks with manufacturers, Vidmar said he chose to debut the GlideCycle during the parade so the scene could be included in a documentary about his invention.

"To debut at the Fourth of July is a wonderful thing," he said. "I suppose it's a very American thing to develop some new innovation in a small town," he said.

The last-minute work was not enough to make him apprehensive about unveiling the invention to a large audience too soon, however, he said. He spent this week tinkering with the design of the seats and putting the finishing touches on the logo. Also on the to-do list is decorating the GlideCycle with American flags and streamers for the parade.

The parade begins at Triangle Park at 10:15 a.m. and proceeds down Siskiyou Boulevard and East Main Street. The route ends on Water Street.

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 227 or .

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