Parade brings out the crowds, sun to Maxwelton

Betty and Jim Lightner march in the Maxwelton Independence Day Parade followed by members of the Whidbey PFLAG chapter on July 4. - Kate Daniel / The Record
Betty and Jim Lightner march in the Maxwelton Independence Day Parade followed by members of the Whidbey PFLAG chapter on July 4.
— image credit: Kate Daniel / The Record

The sun shone warmly and a salty sea breeze wafted through the streets as hundreds walked, peddled and drove to take in the 99th annual Maxwelton Independence Day Parade.

The celebration of community and independence commenced a little after 1 p.m. Friday July 4.

The parade has been a tradition in the Maxwelton community since 1905 and in many ways, it appears not much has changed since that first march over a century ago.

Parade-goers of all ages continued to don costumes and paint their faces in red, white and blue, decorate bicycles, tricycles and motor vehicles and take their dogs, ducks and younger siblings for a stroll through the street from Swede Hill Road to the Dave Mackie boat ramp in Clinton.

The Second Wind Drum Line kept the beat at the beginning of the parade, followed by the introduction of this year’s grand marshal, Island County Parks Chief Jan Van Muyden.

Young patriots made a prominent appearance at this year’s parade, both as audience members and participants, much akin to years past.

One of the things that makes the Maxwelton Independence Day Parade special, according to community members, is the fact that anyone — from kids to senior citizens, political activists and church-group members — can be involved. Demonstrative of this inclusive spirit, attendees were able to enjoy a procession of neighbors and friends including antique car and fire engine operators, banjo-players, tutu-adorned tots from the South Whidbey Children’s Center, rainbow-clad members of the Whidbey PFLAG group, mermaids, pirates, violinists, bagpipers and more.

Bob Brooks, parade organizer, said the funds raised from post-parade food, beverage and souvenir button sales remained strong this year and the sum was enough to meet their goal. Funds raised will go toward next year’s 100th anniversary parade in addition to organizations such as Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation and Good Cheer.

Brooks said he was personally most pleased that Van Muyden served as grand marshal.

“I know he was excited to be recognized,” said Brooks.

Maria Ellis marched in the parade with her cohorts from the Northwest Language Academy. Ellis, who emigrated from Russia to Whidbey Island five years ago, said she enjoyed the community spirit and collaboration of the July 4 celebration.

Larry Gibson, who attended the parade with his dog and grandchild, said he most enjoyed the fact that so many children were involved.

“It’s just a good way for the community to come together and see what everybody else is doing. So many organizations are doing great things,” he said.


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