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Photos: Rain or shine, annual St. Patrick's Parade draws a crowd

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The annual parade is also a fundraiser for Hillsboro's Boys & Girls Club

PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Forest Grove Dance Arts performs during the 2017 St. Patrick's Day Parade in Hillsboro on Saturday. For Kathy Murphy-Hogan, it's St. Patrick's Day every day of the year.

But once a year, Murphy-Hogan says she gets to share her love of all-things green and Irish with the community.

Despite a drizzly morning, hundreds came to downtown Hillsboro last Saturday for the annual parade St. Patrick's Day parade.

"We've had rain, snow, you name it," said Murphy-Hogan, who runs Murphy's Furniture in Cornelius with her family and organizes the annual parade. "That's Murphy's law. One year it was raining and the rain froze on the balloons. Not only did balloons get heavy and sink, but they exploded and then the sun came out just before the parade, so nobody had any balloons."

Murphy-Hogan said rain or shine, the parade always turns out to be a success. For many, Murphy-Hogan said, the parade marks the start of springtime.

"This is the opening of the season," Murphy said. "This is the first event after people recover from the holidays and that gross, disgusting thing we call weather in January and February."

Murphy-Hogan's mother, Ruth Murphy, started the parade in the 1980's as a way to drum up business during an economic downtown, Murphy-Hogan said. The parade was run by Murphy's Furniture and radio station KUIK for the first two decades, before Murphy's took over the planning for the annual event.

"The community really takes ownership of this," Murphy-Hogan said. "I think it's because we try hard to not commercialize it. This is a Hillsboro party, and I think people can tell. It's a 'Thank you' to everyone in Western Washington County for supporting us."

The annual parade and festivities are also a fundraising opportunity for the Inukai Family Boys & Girls Club, the Hillsboro branch of the nationwide after-school organization.

The company collected $1,000 in donations from the community for the Hillsboro club during the day-long festivities, Murphy-Hogan said. The company is still collecting donations for the organization

"All the proceeds go to support our local kids," Murphy said. "We are fortunate as an outlying community that our kids have this to go to after school," she said.

Murphy-Hogan said that when she needed them, Boys & Girls Club was able to take care of her children.

"There was a period of time when I owed my babysitter more than I made in a month," Murphy-Hogan said. "I couldn't, in good conscious, send my kids to her. They were 11 and 12 and we were facing summertime and I was feeling pretty rotten as a parent. But Boys & Girls Club was there. They said my kids would have a safe, healthy environment to spend time in. I was so thankful. I told them they've had a supporter in me for as long as I'm able. I try to fulfill that every day of the week and make sure people know about them."

Murphy's Furniture is located at 2962 E. Baseline St., in Cornelius.