Maxwelton’s 4th of July Parade, in its 103rd year, features all kinds of parade entries from antique firetrucks to farm animals, bagpipers to bicyclists. File photo

Maxwelton’s 4th of July Parade, in its 103rd year, features all kinds of parade entries from antique firetrucks to farm animals, bagpipers to bicyclists. File photo

People rally to keep 4th of July events on track

Maxwelton parade revives free shuttle vans

Thanks to donors, two popular South Whidbey events celebrating America’s birthday are on track for another year.

A successful online fundraiser means free shuttle service will also be available to help visitors get to Maxwelton Beach for its old-fashioned 4th of July Parade, which starts at noon.

And families and fireworks are again the theme for the July 3 Celebrate America! festival at Freeland Park.

The van service to the Maxwelton event was canceled because of rising costs of putting on the community parade that’s been a Whidbey Island tradition going on 103 years. Cost of insurance, portable toilets, reserve deputies, van shuttle service and food became so prohibitive that organizers considered canceling the parade altogether.

Instead, only shuttles were scuttled.

However, a GoFundMe page posted by the Maxwelton Community Club, quickly raised $6,140 from 55 donors. So shuttle service is restored.

“I was astounded,” said organizer B.J. Hoogerwerf. “The messages people left with donations really stressed how many people love this little event.”

The Independence Day parade kicks off at noon Wednesday, July 4. Registration for the parade is free and begins at 10:30 a.m. at the corner of Maxwelton and Swede Hill roads; more than 200 entries are expected.

The beach community sells hot dogs and pop and hosts old-fashioned games after the parade.

On Tuesday, July 3, fun, food, music and fireworks are planned for the annual Freeland Celebrate America! hosted by South Whidbey Assembly Church for the 24th year. Admission is free.

The Celebrate America! $35,000 budget is funded by donations from local individuals and businesses.

From 3 to 7 p.m. at Freeland Park, activities include a bouncy house and other activities. Food vendors start selling at 4 p.m. Youth talent takes to the stage at 6 p.m. followed by a magic show and local bands.

A patriotic program will honor men and women who’ve served in the U.S. Armed Forces. At 10 p.m., a fireworks display set to patriotic music is launched from a Nichols Brothers barge in Holmes Harbor.

Roads are closed around Freeland park starting at 4 p.m. A free shuttle bus begins running from the Freeland park and ride lot and the Island Transit bus stop in front of Chase Bank. Handicap parking is available across the street from Freeland Park.

For the Maxwelton July 4th Parade, parking along the parade route is limited. Handicap parking is provided at Bob Mackie County Park. Overflow parking — with free shuttle service — is available at the intersection of Maxwelton and French Roads at the Little Brown Church parking lot.

Maxwelton also sponsors an annual button design contest for the 14-year-old and younger crowd. Kylee Whitcomb, 14, a rising Arlington High School freshman, is this year’s winner.

“Maxwelton is a great place to chill from stress,” said Kylee who who spends many summer days in Maxwelton with her grandparents, Jan and Mike Whitcomb.

Her button will be for sale for $1 — another tradition of the old-fashioned neighborhood celebration.

For information about Celebrate America!, go to

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