Oak Harbor knows patriotism, and does it well.
As I child, I always looked forward to traveling from Anacortes to Oak Harbor for the Fourth of July festivities.
With apologies to Anacortes for verbalizing this — the annual parade on the Fourth was always longer and much more impressive than the one in my own hometown.
My family and I would join thousands of others along Pioneer Way in viewing the procession.
I don’t remember the individual entries — well I do remember one. You could always count on seeing the Shriners.
Every year, they’d don their now politically incorrect skin coloring, over-the-top turbans and Arabian-style garb. One Shriner in particular stood out. An older gentleman, he carried a sabre and twirled it with fervor.
Afterward, we headed to the carnival at City Beach Park, now Windjammer Park. At the time it seemed enormous. Sometimes we’d get to stay and watch the fireworks over the bay.
Through good economic times and bad, Oak Harbor’s Fourth of July has endured.
This year, however, the economy has threatened this year’s fireworks display. Total cost to put on the show is about $14,000. To date, the chamber has raised approximately $6,000. The grand sponsors are Toppins, Sherwin Williams and Whidbey Coffee.
Business are increasingly strapped for money and the fundraising has been harder than in past years.
Starting next Wednesday, everyone will get a chance to help save Oak Harbor’s Fourth of July fireworks display. The Oak harbor Chamber of Commerce is seeking donations to the fireworks donation fund.
People can donate at the chamber’s office, located at 32630 State Highway 20, or after May 1 on the chamber’s website, oakharborchamber.com
There are different levels of sponsorship, one to suit every pocketbook.
A $10 contribution is “firecracker” leve, and $25 is a “sparkler.” At the $100 “Cherry Bomb” level, an individual can have his or her name placed on the chamber’s reader-board for a day.
A business that donates $100 gets its name on a sandwich board sign.
Times are indeed tight, but isn’t preserving a community tradition well worth a modest $10, $25 or $100 contribution?
I’m willing to bet most people agree it is.
n Keven R. Graves is executive editor and publisher for the Whidbey News-Times. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org