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Optog Parade grand marshal chosen

Loran Mathews organizes the raising of the Midsummer Pole at a previous Midsummer Festival.
Thursday, April 29, 2021

Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival Association has named Loran Mathews of Astoria as grand marshal of the 2021 Midsummer Festival Optog Parade.

This year’s parade will be a drive-by event held June 19 on Marine Drive in front of the Maritime Museum.

Despite not being of Nordic heritage, Mathew’s involvement in the Midsummer Festival spans 50 years, when he was asked to head the parade committee. The next year, Mathews became chairman of the festival and has since served as chair and other positions many times. Currently, he is president of the nonprofit Astoria Scandinavian Heritage Association.

Mathews grew up in Kansas and arrived in Astoria in 1958 when he served in the U.S. Coast Guard. He met Astoria native Corleen Johnson in 1959 and they married in 1963. Corleen introduced him to her Norwegian heritage and he has been “Norwegian by marriage” for 58 years now.

Mathews is retired director of Support Services for the Astoria School District and a former Astoria City Council member.

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