Spirits soar through rainy clouds at Holly Jolly Parade

Reindeer transformed into “raindeer” on Saturday at the 9th annual Holly Jolly Parade, hosted by the Langley Chamber of Commerce.

Members of the Langley Main Street Association donned antlers during the ninth annual Holly Jolly Parade

Reindeer transformed into “raindeer” on Saturday at the 9th annual Holly Jolly Parade, hosted by the Langley Chamber of Commerce.

Despite a steady downpour throughout the morning, cheerful spirits and smiling faces were plentiful.

Over 20 organizations participated in the parade, which marched up and down First and Second streets to a crowd of over 150 people after assembling in the parking lot of Langley Middle School.

The banging of drums and playing of bagpipes by the Washington Scottish Pipe Band could be heard early in the morning as parade-goers readied themselves for their walk through Langley.

This year’s participants included members and instructors from Armstrong’s Taekwondo martial arts school, Happy Hounds 4-H, the Orca Network and Langley Whale Center, the Langley Main Street Association and South Whidbey Girl Scouts.

The pipe band led the parade, while the South Whidbey Fire/EMS Santa Sleigh brought up the rear.

Langley mayor Fred McCarthy served as grand marshal for the event.

Prior to the parade, it was thought by organizers that the bad weather would deter spectators and participants alike from enjoying the event. That, however, didn’t appear to be the case. Not only was participation high, but the vibe and spirit of the community was strong as well.

“Everybody looked pretty happy,” said Michaleen McGarry, director of the Langley Chamber of Commerce. “I think it’s adorable.”

“I thought it went actually really well. I think both participants and the people watching enjoyed it and that was good.”

Clinton resident Josh Coleman watched the parade from the sidewalk near Clyde Theater. Coleman said he brought his two children to enjoy the festivities.

“My girls wanted to see Santa Claus,” Coleman said. “I think it’s a good event for the community and brings everybody together.”

Hailey Robinson, a sophomore at Kamiak High School, made the trip over by ferry to attend the event for the fourth time. Robinson cheerfully hopped around the street dressed in an elf costume. She stopped periodically to hand out treats to spectating children.

“It’s not very often you get to dress up like an elf and hand out candy to kids,” Robinson said.

Sue Frause, a Langley travel writer, walked alongside other Langley Main Street Association members during the parade.

“I think it’s good,” Frause said. “It’s been catching on and has been building over the years.”

In her first year organizing the event, McGarry thought the parade was a success.

Prizes for participants may be in order in next year’s event, McGarry said. They may not be the average cookie-cutter prizes, either. McGarry hinted that the honors may include things like most colors in a float or costume.

“We may do something that’s a little quirky,” McGarry said.

“We came up with some really good ideas for next year,” she added.

Prior to the parade festivities, dozens of people walked the aisles of homemade goodies with boxes in hands at the annual Cookie Walk held at Langley United Methodist Church.

Participants had an opportunity to fill their boxes with cookies of their choice for $15. Ingredients for the cookies were posted, helping shoppers find specifically what they may want for a gift or holiday parties.

Proceeds from the event benefit local charities that serve women and children.


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