Little flags, big flags and even bigger flags all celebrated the red, white and blue at Coupeville’s Memorial Day parade Saturday.
Kids of all ages waved the little flags, while parade marchers and brightly decorated floats boasted larger banners as they weaved down the streets of the town in this annual Coupeville tradition.
Led by a color guard and Navy Sea Cadets, the Coupeville High School marching band treated spectators to rousing parade music, followed by an eclectic procession of participants that ranged from community groups to candidates for office in classic cars and shiny convertibles.
Veterans merited their special recognition: Korean War Marine Corps veteran Sal Rizzo was parade Grand Marshal, and other veterans and military were honored by the Oak Harbor Veterans of Foreign Wars, the PBY Naval Air Museum, the American Legion and the Oak Harbor Marine Corps League, dedicated to the memory of U.S. Naval Academy graduate Major Megan M. McClung, the first female Marine officer to be killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Whimsical parade floats made for smiles, one of them a giant stuffed lion atop a high perch (brought to the parade by the Coupeville Lions Club).
The Gifts from the Heart Food Bank performed a sprightly exercise with its grocery cart “drill team,” while Quilters on the Rock dressed a VW Bug in colorful squares, and a Coupeville shop called Far from Normal had marchers in “eyeball” masks.
Armstrong Martial Arts students wore traditional uniforms, and horseback riders “marched” on four legs instead of two.
And there were dogs, many dogs, some sporting red, white and blue bandanas and enjoying their time in the limelight. Their people tossed dog biscuits into the crowd, joining other marchers giving away candy eagerly snapped up by the kids.
The sirens and flashing lights of a fire engine, as always, ended the parade.
Many spectators walked to Town Park afterward to join Capt. Geoff Moore of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and Coupeville Mayor Molly Hughes in a remembrance ceremony and have a free picnic lunch offered by the Central Whidbey Lions and sponsored by Prairie Center Red Apple.