Families celebrate fantastic Fourth

The thousands waving small American flags ensured Oak Harbor’s Fourth of July celebration kept its patriotic feel.

Families, friends and visitors waved the flags along the sidewalks during the annual parade that wound along Pioneer Way in Oak Harbor.

Employees from RE/MAX Acorn Properties continued their annual tradition near the front of the parade pack. They made sure each spectator had a flag to wave.

Saturday’s parade showcased the town’s connection to the Navy. Commanding officers from each unit rode vehicles and Navy Band Northwest performed as musicians marched down the route.

In all, it took about two hours for the parade to finish as firefighters, police officers and representatives from groups ranging from the Navy League to the Whidbey Cruzers all participated.

“What we’re celebrating is very touching,” spectator Tina Warren said, whose sister was recently deployed to Iraq for six months.

She was joined by Tatyanna Wrinkle and Tamarek Wrinkle. Tamarek was turning 10 years old on July 4.

“He’s excited. As he gets older he gets more and more fireworks to shoot off,” Warren said.

After the parade, crowds gathered at Windjammer Park for a plethora of afternoon activities. A carnival, featuring the Ring of Fire, a ferris wheel and the Wind Glider were just some of the rides, kids and adults enjoyed.

“It’s just heaven for the kids,” a father said, as his son rode the Superslide.

In addition to the carnival, an egg toss, a pie eating contest and concerts at the Windjammer Park gazebo provided a day’s worth of entertainment for the picnickers who chose to spend the day at the beach.

Oak Harbor resident Carlton Johnson said while grilling pork chops that his family arrives at the park at 7:30 a.m. and they will remain until around 11 p.m., which is after the fireworks extravaganza takes place.

“It’s a family tradition for the past 10 years,” Johnson said.

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