May 08, 2002 11:00 pm

It's big-rig time in downtown La Grande.

Adams Avenue will celebrate the turning of the seasons — and some of the basic industries that keep Union County going — during the annual Ag Timber Parade Friday evening.

The twilight parade will feature lighted big trucks and farm equipment at dusk, between 8 and 8:30 p.m.

The parade will travel in a different direction this year, starting near the old Safeway building at Adams Avenue and Fourth Street, and then moving south and ending near Globe Furniture.

But the parade is simply part of the evening's fun.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m., there will be food vendors and entertainment in downtown La Grande, centered on Max Square.

The evening is set to be both a good time and a chance to recognize the efforts of those involved in the natural resources industries, said representatives of the local chapter of Oregon Women in Timber and the ag club at Eastern Oregon University, which are organizing the event.

Parade-goers will have a chance to chat with Oregon Speaker of the House Mark Simmons, R-Elgin, who will be serving as this year's grand marshal.

For Simmons, the parade will be a chance to return to his roots. He said Thursday that he, along with another person, helped to organize the parade for a while.

He's been back for the parade in years past, but is looking forward to this year's event. Simmons plans to arrive early at the parade staging area to make himself available to people to talk about what's going on in Salem.

Simmons recalled fondly his early political days advocating for the ag and timber industry in Eastern Oregon, supporting the Northwest Timber Workers Council and leading a weekly call-in radio show taking questions about natural resource management.

Those with lighted farm equipment, logging equipment and floats are welcome to join the parade by showing up at the starting point before full dusk.

Everyone is encouraged to come out, have a great spring evening, and cheer on those in agriculture and timber, organizers said.

— T.L. Petersen