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The Fourth brings two days of revelry

"On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, thousands of Southenders will gather at two public celebrations in Freeland and Clinton, and at hundreds of private parties in every local community. *Getting things rolling on Sunday evening will be a professional fireworks display at Sandy Hook. Southenders are invited to join the Sandy Hook community at poolside and watch the show, which is a joint effort of several beachfront communities. To get there, take Cultus Bay Road to Possession Drive and proceed to Sandy Hook. Everyone is welcome.CELEBRATE AMERICAOn Monday evening the skies will light up again with the spectacle of fireworks over Holmes Harbor, the culmination of the sixth annual Celebrate America festival at Freeland Park on Holmes Harbor. The activities begin at 5 p.m. and include music, patriotic speakers, food, games, a color guard and, of course, the fireworks show.On the musical program are King's Kids & Kompany, a 30-member youth choir from CMA Church that performs with high energy and spirit. Craig Buhler and Randy McMillan will team up to play jazz, with Buhler wowing the audience playing two saxophones at once. And an ensemble from Cedar Park Church in Bothell will sing a group of rousing patriotic songs.Young people especially will enjoy the performance of John Fox as he takes them on an amazing journey using the yoyo in his presentation. New this year will be an area under one of the big tents set up just for children's activities, with clowns, puppets and face painting.An exciting part of the evening (weather permitting) will be several flybys by the Blackjacks Flying Club from Arlington, including the Missing Man Formation honoring those who have given their lives to preserve the freedom celebrated on July 4th. American's veterans will be honored with a special tribute just before the giant fireworks show bursts over Holmes Harbor at dusk.Organized by several South Whidbey churches and sponsored by local merchants, this year's celebration will cost about $14,000 -- of which $9,000 will go up in fire and smoke in the 20-minute fireworks display launched from a barge in the harbor. The display's head pyrotechnics expert, Mick Olsen, said that while the show is not the biggest in the Puget Sound area, it is starting to draw people from mainland cities.I've heard about four or five families who are coming over for this year's show, he said.As parking will be at a premium, those attending Celebrate America may wish to consider arriving before 4 p.m. or parking elsewhere in Freeland and walking to the park. The roads around the park will be closed at 4 p.m.The event will be broadcast locally on 95.9 FM, which will allow those attending to listen to the music and other programs at a distance from the stage if they bring portable radios.Bring the family, lawn chairs, a blanket, sunglasses (hopefully you can leave the umbrella at home this year!) and enjoy an evening of patriotic inspiration and wholesome entertainment, said Dareld Chittim, one of the organizers. Festival-goers can also continue to contribute to the event by being one of the sponsors. Call Chittim at 221-1656 if you can help.MAXWELTON FOURTH OF JULY PARADEOn Tuesday, an 80-plus-year-old South Whidbey tradition will ring in the Fourth at Maxwelton Beach as it has done since 1912. The Maxwelton Fourth of July Parade gets started at 1 p.m. this year and will feature the classic parade elements: fire trucks, flags, scouts, animals, children on bikes and trikes -- along with a more Northwest specialty, the fantastic creatures of the Procession of Species. Marchers in the Procession dress up with masks and costumes as their favorite plant or animal species and join the parade to encourage salmon to return to Maxwelton Creek in the autumn. It's a little green added to the red, white and blue, said organizer Sego Jackson.The Procession of the Species has three guidelines: No pets, no written words, and no motorized vehicles. (These guidelines do not apply to the rest of the Maxwelton Fourth of July Parade.) Raven Jirikovic is again organizing a spicy All Species Samba drum and dance troupe to accompany the Procession. Those interested in joining can contact her at raven@whidbey.com. Musician Barbara Dunn is organizing a Celtic Marching Band. Other musicians who want to play can contact her at barbdunn@whidbey.com or 341-1714. All parade participants should meet at the corner of Swede Hill and Maxwelton Roads no later than noon on July 4th to get ready for the parade. There's no registration, said organizer Dana Gilroy. Just sign your name and get in a line. There are no real rules or regulations, either, Gilroy added. She did mention that the parade could use more music, or possibly drummers who could play and march. Otherwise, she said, It's so spontaneous. That's what makes it such a success.Again, parking is in short supply. None will be allowed in the Maxwelton Beach area. There's a free bus that will pick up people at the church after all the parking is full, Gilroy said.She expects hundreds of people to walk the parade route, even though this year's parade falls on a Tuesday. As an added incentive to get more young, smiling faces into the event, all participants 12 and younger will receive 50 cents for walking, riding, or dancing their way through the parade route.And Andy at the Maxwelton Store will have lots of 50-cent items to sell, Gilroy said.After the parade, Danny Ward will play The Star Spangled Banner, and there will be old-fashioned games like sack races, three-legged races and an egg toss.This is usually a huge success, Gilroy said. It's something adults can get involved in with the kids.There will be hot dogs, homemade pie, strawberries and candy for sale, along with the new Maxwelton Fourth of July Parade button, designed this year by Merrilynn Stone and made at Boomerang Laser. The buttons sell for $1, and proceeds go toward the current Maxwelton improvement project, a log cabin shelter at the park. There will also be a raffle for items such as flowering hanging baskets, Gilroy said.Joan Soltys contributed to this story."

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