July Fourth parade in La Conner a blast for all


Nothing in life is perfect, but the annual July Fourth Parade in La Conner Tuesday came close.

The weather, which more than once has been wet and chilly here on Independence Day – hence, the local adage that summer starts on July 5 – was sunny and warm for an eclectic blend of patriotic-clad entrants and spectators lining the length of First Street for the 20-minute celebration.

So good was the parade honoring America’s 247th birthday and formal separation from Great Britain that those residing in areas that remained loyal to the Crown were impressed.

“This was an absolutely beautiful parade,” Lisa Ojaroodi of Vancouver, B.C., whose family recently pur-chased a second home in Shelter Bay, said afterward. “It’s great that the community has something like this.”

The La Conner parade’s reputation had, of course, preceded itself.

Folks staked out prime viewing spots, setting up campground and folding chairs more than an hour before the parade began – even before many of the paraders had arrived at the staging area north of downtown.

Minutes before the start, La Conner Fire Chief and Code Enforcement Officer Aaron Reinstra made one final loop of the route in a Town truck, stopping briefly to exchange pleasantries with Bryan McCormick.

Emergency vehicles from La Conner Hook & Ladder and Skagit County Fire District 13, along with a Skagit County Sheriff’s Office motorcycle patrol officer led off.

Always a favorite, the vintage white 1941 La Conner fire engine was near the front. Its longtime driver, former Town Council member David Alvord, was not far behind on his new three-wheel cycle that his youngest son, Darrol, had test-driven earlier.

Other cyclists of all ages joined in the procession, including one whose bike was cleverly decorated as an orca whale.

Classic sports and muscle cars, antique trucks and John Deere farm tractors of bygone eras fell in line as well, reinforcing the holiday’s sense of history.

Various local entities and organizations such as La Conner Youth League, La Conner Retirement Inn, La Conner La Conner Soroptimists, Sunrise Food Bank, La Conner Swinomish Library and the La Conner Artists’ Co-op followed with their banners in hand.

A huge parade hit was Roger and Dorothy Dalan’s Kawasaki utility task vehicle completely decked out in red-white-and-blue décor.

Then, too, there was John and Toni Christianson in what many have fondly dubbed their “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” car, representing an epoch by which time the U.S. and Britain had long since set aside the differences that had sparked a revolution in 1776.

It was likewise a great day for man’s best friend. Dogs of all sizes either walk or ride shotgun in the parade. The tiniest of them rode serenely in a child’s wagon.

Town officials did their part. Council member Rick Dole entered his 1920s “Ghost of Tom Joad” truck and Town Administrator Scott Thomas brought up the parade rear in his Mazda convertible.

The parade was just the start of day-long July 4 activities in La Conner.

The Port of Skagit’s La Conner Marina was scene of an early evening concert, where food and beverages were also available. Fireworks over Swinomish Channel followed at nightfall, the Town of La Conner sponsored 15-minute show and then into the wee morning hours as retail inventories were exhausted.


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