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Whidbey is true blue on the Fourth Of July

"The calendar may say that the Fourth of July is just one day in the middle of the week, but Whidbey Islanders know it's more than that.From the evening festival Celebrate America on the eve of the fourth at Freeland Park, complete with fireworks, to the Maxwelton parade and the big Oak Harbor Olde Fashioned Fourth of July, there is no lack of things to do for this year's Independence Day celebration. *The fun-loving MAXWELTON FOURTH OF JULY PARADE starts at 1 p.m. Wednesday, with marchers getting in line between 11:30 a.m. and noon at the barn at Swede Hill and Maxwelton roads. Games will follow in the park.The final planning session for the parade will be held Sunday, July 1, 2 p.m. at the ballpark bleachers in Dave Mackie Memorial Park. Dana Gilroy, one of the parade organizers, urges everyone involved with planning the day's activities to attend. For more information call her at 579-5930.A special effort will be made this year to encourage attendees to purchase raffle tickets and the annual parade button, designed by Harriet Arnold. Each costs $1. Proceeds provide money for next year's parade.*The PROCESSION OF THE SPECIES will again be part of the Maxwelton parade, this year with the theme of Inter-dependence. Marchers will be transformed into part of the natural world, such as an old growth forest or a flock of butterflies. The Whidbey Island Batucada will join in the Procession of Species to perform the samba in the parade. Musicians under the tutelage of Mark Wahl will play instruments such as the surdo, caixa, tamborim, agogo, cuica and reco-reco, and dancers trained by Raven Jirikovic will move to the rhythms of the percussionists.*Both of South Whidbey's Farmers Markets will be open the afternoon of the Fourth. The BAYVIEW FARMERS MARKET begins the second season of its Midweek Market at Bayview Corner from 4-7 p.m. on the Fourth of July.Along with produce, herbs, jams, baked goods and crafts, dinner menus will be offered by Debbie Lambert and Gina Smith, and SisterMonk Harem will be on stage on the lawn to play dinner music. The SOUTH WHIDBEY TILTH FARMERS MARKET will also be open on the Fourth of July, from 3-6 p.m., with dinners served from 4-6.*A bit later on, a community FULL MOON DRUMMING event with potluck will take place starting at 6 p.m. at Maxwelton Beach. If all this isn't enough, add to the celebration by traveling north. *Early risers can run or walk in the 5K or 10K event, FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Coupeville Elementary School track. The route will include the Kettles Trail, Ebey's Bluff and three natural prairies. Oak Harbor's FREEDOM RUN starts at 8 a.m. at the Seaplane Base.Other events in the annual FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION in Oak Harbor include the Big Bang Xplosion for youth at Skate Park on July 2-3, with a Battle of the Bands, games, and skate demonstrations; pancake breakfasts cooked up on July 4 by both the Firefighter's Association and the Rotary; and the Fourth of July parade at 11 a.m.There will be food and vendor booths, children's activities and live entertainment at City Beach Park, along with the family carnival, which starts June 28. The day ends with a FIREWORKS EXTRAVAGANZA at 10 p.m. For more information, call the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce, 360-675-3755.And when you've finished celebrating the Fourth of July, get ready for the next South Whidbey event: Choochokam, Langley's Festival of the Arts, starts on Friday. "

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