As far as many islanders are concerned, the Fourth of July Carnival in Oak Harbor seemingly popped up overnight.
Located at Oak Harbor’s Windjammer Park, the carnival, an annual attraction during the holiday, will be operating daily through the Fourth of July before packing up and heading back out of town.
Thursday was go time for carnival workers, who busily set up the rides, organized prizes and games and clamored easily up and down the attractions doing safety checks and maintenance.
Many of the workers, with Davis Amusement Cascadia, wore hard hats and harnesses and moved in practiced unison as they worked on the various rides soon to open to the public.
The carnival is the lead-in for a full slate of Independence Day festivities planned in Oak Harbor.
The Miss Pioneer Way Pageant starts things off on Saturday, July 1, with young entrants taking the stage at Whidbey Playhouse from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The pageant, for girls ages 3 to 12, requires participants to wear no make up.
On Tuesday, July 4, Rotary Club of Oak Harbor opens the day with a pancake breakfast from 7-10 a.m. at First Methodist Church, 1050 SE Ireland St., Oak Harbor, followed by the Rotary Club of Oak Harbor and chamber parade starting at 11 a.m. on the Seaplane Base and traveling down Bayshore Drive.
There will also be a barbecue from 1-3 p.m. at Elk’s Lodge 155 NE Ernst St., Oak Harbor.
Serving as the grand marshal for this year’s Fourth of July parade is Martha Wallin, who is being honored for her contributions to the community, according to the Rotary Club.
Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce declined to comment, and said the Rotary Club selects the grand marshal.
Wallin is very proud of “the Kiwanis Club of Oak Harbor and was twice elected president of the organization,” according to a Rotary Club statement.
“As one who believes in giving back to community, Martha can be seen at many activities volunteering her time and talent to many events.”
Wallin said she was “overwhelmed” when the Rotary Club of Oak Harbor asked her to serve as this year’s grand marshal.
Wallin said “it is a very big honor.”
Born in Coupeville, Wallin graduated from Oak Harbor High School, and served in human resources in the district for 22 years.
While working in Oak Harbor Public Schools, she founded the Partnership Program, which became the district’s volunteer program.
Upon Wallin’s retirement in 2012, the Partnership Program boasted 1,600 community and military volunteers a year.
Wallin is owner of Wallin Funeral Home &Cremation. Her husband, Gary, co-owner of the business and a member of the school board, died earlier this year.
Martha Wallin said that participating in the parade is especially moving for her in light of her husband’s passing.
“The community has been our home, and we have an intense connection to it,” Wallin said.
“I love the Fourth of July and we always went to the parade whether we attended as community members or were part of it with an organization we represented.”
Also on July 4, Windjammer Park will host a DJ from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at its all-day “Party in the Park,” which features a community photo at 2 p.m.; food and arts and crafts from noon to 10 p.m.; children’s games on the hour from noon to 8 p.m.; and a beer garden, open noon to 11 p.m.
The traditional culmination of the day’s celebration, of course, will be the fireworks show, which starts about 10:30 p.m. over the waters off Windjammer Park.