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'Spamerican' pride

Acting like a turkey beefs up the festivities as folks ham it up in Shady Cove

SHADY COVE ' The queen of the town's Spam Parade and Spam Jam is a vegetarian.

But Queen Charlotte Boehm does admit she ate Spam earlier in her life.

The offbeat event Saturday was named in honor of the canned meat celebrated and denigrated worldwide since it first appeared in 1937. But Boehm says it's simply a time for the townspeople to have some fun.

Being goofy is the best part, said parade participant Michael Layton of Shady Cove.

With 52 entries, the parade was larger than the past three years. Participants also came from Medford, Eagle Point and Central Point.

We are getting known finally, said organizer Laura Harms.

Nine members of Her Majesty's Mosquito Court rode behind the Queen of Spam on yellow ATVs.

Sher Matlock, last year's Queen of Spam, led the court. I didn't want to give up that crown, said Matlock.

Liz Anderson is the Mosquito's token Spam eater. It's good, said Anderson of a new, low-fat turkey Spam. No one else in the court admitted to Spam consumption.

Other members of the court passed out American flags to children along the parade route. Some entries reflected the parade's All American theme.

Layton, as Uncle Spam, promoted truth, justice and the right to eat canned meat. He was joined by Spambi (the family basset hound, Kipper, complete with horns) and Spider Spam, Layton's 3-year-old son, Caleb.

Two-year-old Kelsi Monroe of Eagle Point dressed as the Statue of Liberty, carrying a Spam torch. She rode in a pickup that proclaimed Proud to be Spamerican.

Shady Trails 4-H Club members offered spectators free Spam samples as they marched. Most of the samples were consumed by the end of the mile-long route.

An outdoor barbecue stand at the Two Pines Smokehouse offered Spam on a stick as well as sausages. A cook estimated he'd use 100 pounds of Spam by the time the festivities ended.

A booth nearby offered four colors of Spam T-shirts and other souvenirs, including Spam piggy banks. Broadway Phil & the Shouters played to entertain the crowd.

It's great, said Jim Horn, Shady Cove, as he viewed the parade. We are thinking of doing a float next year. It's so much fun.

Not everyone was happy with the celebration. The Oregon Department of Transportation allowed the city to shut down Highway 62, the only through-street in town, for the duration of the parade.

Motorists who were delayed by as much as 40 minutes expressed frustration.

I think a lot of people don't really like it, said Grace of Shady Cove, who was on her way to a wedding. She declined to give her last name.

Hormel's Spammobile may be featured in next year's parade, said Alma Spicer, public relations coordinator.

A billboard at the Two Pines Smokehouse promoted Spam and eggs and Spamburgers. Another, at Brownie's Family Restaurant, declared Great Food ' No Spam Here.

Sher Matlock, last Year's Spam queen, leads this year's parade during Shady Cove's annual Spam celebration on Saturday. Click the photo to see a larger (35k) version. Mail Tribune / Jim Craven - Mail Tribune Jim Craven