PORTLAND Rose Festival sidewalk campers claimed their parade spots Friday, and geared up to spend the night to hold them.

Camping along the parade route is a longstanding tradition that became more important in 2008. That s when the city ruled people couldn t mark their spots with duct tape or chairs and leave, expecting to hold their places.

For most campers, this is about family and friends joining together to have a good time.

We re just having a family gathering tomorrow. We re gonna have people from the church come in and we have a sunshine band with their little blue and yellow on and all of that, said Dorothy Jean Hatchett.

Several of her family members will hold a part of sidewalk on Northeast Weidler that will hold about 50 people during Saturday's parade.

Nearby on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, cousins held down the fort for their group. They were looking forward to family coming in, and others they ve met setting up camp nearby.

Some of the people that come down we ve known for years and meet them every year again, and see how their kids have grown up, said Deeanne Magallon.

Along Southwest 4th Avenue, Jim Bishop said camping out downtown is an overnight show. He said he ll be people watching into the night in advance of the parade.

We ll sit back and watch everybody and see all the different strange people around downtown, and it s very interesting, said Bishop, who has camped and stayed for the parade for 20 years.

The Grand Floral begins Saturday at 10 a.m. Campers hope they get a little sleep before it starts.

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