A banner tourism year begins in Oak Harbor

Oak Harbor public works employees install new banners along Highway 20 in Oak Harbor.  - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
Oak Harbor public works employees install new banners along Highway 20 in Oak Harbor.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

Oak Harbor’s aging Highway 20 banners got a much-needed upgrade just in time for the 2010 tourism season.

The tradition of colorful light pole accessories began almost a decade ago when a volunteer group called “Operation Decoration” gave the city 90 banners and illuminated Christmas decorations. The April 2001 gift included an assortment of designs including “welcome,” American flag, holiday candle and Christmas tree banners, said Rich Tyhuis, streets, water and facility manager.

The all-season “Operation Decoration” banners began to fade after several years, so in 2003 the city replaced them with new welcome flags and patriotic banners with an eagle design.

Sunrise Rotary took responsibility for the Christmas decorations the following year and city staff stepped in to maintain the remaining banners.

The flags began to show their age after about four years. Earlier this month, 40 new banners with a modern Oak Harbor City logo design appeared on light poles, along with another 40 spring seasonal banners.

The logo banners will stay up year-round, and the city plans to purchase banners for each season as funds become available, Tyhuis said.

Whidbey winds are the biggest threat to the banners, he said; however, they’re expected to last four to five years.

“Our hope is to make the highway corridor more attractive for those visiting Oak Harbor so they will want to stop and look around,” Tyhuis said.

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