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Everybody loves a parade on Whidbey Island
Just as summer seemed a world away from Oak Harbor, the sun came out for a cheery Fourth of July celebration.
Hundreds of families sporting shorts and red, white and blue lined Bayshore Drive and Pioneer Way to watch the Grand Parade Wednesday. American flags were handed out and children and adults alike waved the Stars and Stripes as veteran and military groups, student groups, community clubs, local businesses and politicians marched down the streets.
Grace Miller, 6, Gwyneth Miller, 3, Abbie Daymude, 5, and Eli Daymude, 3, were just a few of the many children bouncing after handfuls of candy thrown from the parade participants. They watched the ambulances and waved to politicians and were especially awed by the Oak Harbor Yacht Club pirate ship that shot its cannons and was followed by pirates handing out goodies.
Grace Miller’s favorite part was the multitude of state flags carried by Knights of Columbus members. She and her mom, Christine Miller, enjoyed pointing out the flags of certain states.
“Oh, it’s a great time every year,” Christine Miller said, adding that they’ve come to the parade every year for the 11 years they’ve lived on Whidbey. “We enjoy it. We never miss it.”
Dana Daymude helped her children hold the bounty of candy harvested from the parade.
“All he cares about is the candy and all the rings,” she said of Eli Daymude, laughing.
After the parade, crowds rushed toward the carnival at Windjammer Park. The scents of fried food intermingled with music from rides and games and the lighthearted chatter of family and friends. Many staked out spots in the grass to set up tents for fireworks later in the evening.
Finley Dickey, 5, grabbed the front seat in the child roller coaster. After a few minutes of screaming, the ride ended and she was all smiles.
“I wanna go on it again!” she exclaimed as she ran to her mother, Heather Gardener. Despite living in Snohomish, Gardener said they come to Oak Harbor’s Fourth of July celebration every year and the rides are a big hit with Dickey.
Kelly Harris and her son, Christopher Williams, have come to the Oak Harbor celebration for the 20 years they’ve lived here. They hopped on the Octopus ride. Despite the view of the windmill and water, the nonstop spinning kept their minds on screaming.
“Oh yeah, this was our favorite ride,” Harris said as they got off, all smiles, and set out to continue their celebration. “It’s just a tradition with us.”