Fourth of July is right around the corner, and the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for the annual old-fashioned parade and festivities that run for a multi-day patriotic bash.
“We love saying ‘happy birthday, America, this way,’” Oak Harbor Chamber Director Christine Cribb said.
The festivities kick off with the carnival that runs Wednesday, July 3, to Sunday, July 7, at Bayshore Drive.
Then for the holiday on the fourth, a full-day of events are scheduled, starting with the Rotary Club’s Pancake breakfast at 7:30 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church and ending with the grand fireworks finale at 10:30 p.m. that will light up the night sky. Don’t miss the variety of activities on Bayshore Drive, where there will be a street fair, kids games, beer garden, motorcycle show and more.
This year, there are a few new touches to the traditional celebration.
The parade will be proceeding straight down Pioneer Way, with no twists or turns, as “the community has asked for that for years,” Cribb said. “That’s a huge change.”
The Rotary Club of Oak Harbor selected this year’s parade grand marshal as Tony Popp, retired longtime public affairs officer from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.
The fireworks will be launched off a barge floating in the middle of the bay, rather than from the shore of Windjammer’s lagoon as in the past.
“Boom over the bay,” Cribb said of the new fireworks plan.
Dedicated Fourth of July devotees have been known to set up tents and camp out all day for festivities, Cribb said. “We anticipate people will make a day of it.”
Cribb noted that the old-fashioned festival was once voted No. 7 on the list of USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice in the category, “Best Fourth of July Festival.”
“‘I’m so excited for this event. It really is our favorite,” Cribb said.
Schedule of events
- Carnival, open at 4 p.m. July 3, 11 a.m. July 4 and 1 p.m. July 5-7 at on Bayshore Drive. The carnival will close daily when visitors stop showing up. Wristbands purchased in advance at the chamber cost $23, all-day wristbands purchased at the carnival cost $30. Individual tickets can be purchased at the carnival.
- Oak Harbor Rotary Pancake Breakfast, 7:30 a.m., First United Methodist Church
- Grand Parade, 11 a.m., Pioneer Way
- Street Fair, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Bayshore Drive. Children’s games last until 8 p.m. and the beer garden until 11 p.m at Flintstone Park.
- Motorcycle Show by Northern Kings Bikes on the Bay, 1 p.m., Bayshore Drive
- Barbecue, 1-3 p.m., Elks Lodge
- Fireworks, 10:30 p.m., launched from the bay