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Historic Steiner family to helm Maxwelton Parade

Hal Steiner is Maxwelton Parade’s Grand Marshal. His family has a long history in the area.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Hal Steiner is Maxwelton Parade’s Grand Marshal. His family has a long history in the area.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

MAXWELTON — The Steiner family and the Maxwelton area of South Whidbey have a long history.

And after owning one of the largest tracts of land in the neighborhood — the Maxwelton Farm — the Steiners will lead the annual Maxwelton Parade at 1 p.m. today, July 4.

Hal Steiner, 72, remembers the area fondly, though it has changed a bit since his days playing in the old mill pond. At his beachfront home near Swede Hill Road, Steiner showed a framed photograph of his grandfather perched on a beach log looking toward the water.

“That’s the kind of connection I feel for the land,” Steiner said.

The Steiner family has resided in Maxwelton for some 60 years. Ever since, a Steiner has lived in the area, including Hal’s brother Bill and his mother Rose, who lives on Swede Hill overlooking the beach and the farm. When overlooking the beach and the farm. When Steiner cruises Maxwelton Road as Grand Marshal in a vintage MG, he said he plans to wear a red shirt, blue jeans and his farmer’s hat — a dark brown, wide-brimmed utility hat similar to one he wore when he worked on the family farm.

He will see the dozens of faces, the antique cars, the beach and the homes. He will also see his past, his memories, his family’s history. A house down the street, Steiner said, was a log cabin when he was a kid. Now it’s a modern, two-story beach home. The old Mackie home on Swede Hill looks much the same as it did 40 years ago.

“That’s the pioneer house of this area,” Steiner said.

“My memories of Whidbey Island are of very few houses.”

He also has memories of his time with family. Steiner recalled salmon fishing with his dad and the fish were so bountiful, “you couldn’t miss.” As a boy, Steiner played at the old mill pond up the road. He got pretty good at rolling logs and moving across the pond without dunking.

“I fell in a few times,” he said.

On the loose sandy beach, Steiner pointed to some large ships off in the distance. Photographing the passing vessels is one of his hobbies, and he has pictures of submarines, oil drilling rigs, cruise ships and yachts that pass Whidbey Island’s west side. In the summers when Steiner spends most of his days in Maxwelton, he enjoys having his relatives and grandchildren over where they can play in the baked sand and shallow waters.

“This is the most beautiful place in Washington,” Steiner said.

“My 3-year-old and 5-year-old (grandchildren) love to play in the sand.”

Come the day of the parade, when fireworks burst across the water and along the beach, Steiner will harken back to his days as a youngster. Then, he said, the fireworks he played with were “the big stuff.” This Maxwelton Parade will be another in a list so long Steiner couldn’t figure how many he has attended. And while in past parades he walked down the street, “just like everybody else,” this time he’ll be in front, a pioneer of the parade.

Maxwelton Parade

Registration to be in the Maxwelton Parade begins at 11:30 a.m. today, July 4, and the parade begins at 1 p.m.

There will be a shuttle from the Little Brown Church on French and Sills roads, with return service after the parade until 3:30 p.m. Early arrivals and disabled parking permits may park at Dave Mackie Park.

Food booths will sell hot dogs, strawberry shortcake and other treats. Games like sack races, three-legged races, springs and egg toss follow the parade at Dave Mackie Park.

Sheriff’s deputies, portable toilets, the shuttles and entertainment are paid for by the Maxwelton Community Club. Collectible Maxwelton Parade buttons — designed by 11-year-old Marysville resident Charlotte Edmondson, whose grandparents are long-time Maxwelton residents — cost $1 and help offset the expenses covered by the club.

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