From where I’m sitting, there’s no better place in the world to celebrate Independence Day than right here on South Whidbey.
Truly, between Celebrate America in Freeland and the Maxwelton Independence Day Parade, events that offer everything from great food, awesome music and an outstanding fireworks display to a glimpse of days gone by and good ole fashion fun, who could ask for more?
Kicking things off right is Celebrate America. This annual event is held July 3 at Freeland Park. It’s a party in a family-friendly setting that rivals anything else held on Whidbey Island.
From 3 to 7 p.m., kids can enjoy bouncy toys and face painting. Hot food begins at 4 p.m., with vendors whipping up meals such as burgers and Asian noodles and treats like kettle corn and cotton candy.
A free shuttle service from Freeland’s Park and Ride lot located at Trinity Lutheran Church, and at the Island Transit bus stop on Main Street in front of Chase Bank starts at 4:30 p.m.
Live entertainment begins at 6 p.m. The line up includes: Island Dance, The Kelly Chambers Band, magician Jeff Evans, Total Experience Gospel Choir, Maggies Fury and Soloist Sean King.
Fireworks begin at “10:20ish,” according to organizers.
This South Whidbey favorite is orchestrated by South Whidbey Assembly church with financial help from the community. They work and pay so we can play, for free — there is no cost for admission.
But don’t play too hard, as this year’s parade in Maxwelton, held on July 4 the following morning, is one that should not be missed. This is the 100th parade, making it one for the history books. Show up and tell your grandkids you were there.
The parade starts at 1 p.m. at the intersection of Maxwelton and Swede Hill roads and ends at Dave Mackie County Park. Following the process will be foot races for all ages, and an egg throwing contest.
The event is always a fun time, and attendance in recent years has numbered in the thousands so it’s wise to show up early and get a good parking spot.
Public parking is available at the following locations: the park, a field just up Maxwelton road from the parade’s start at Swede Hill (look for the signs) and overflow at the Little Brown Church up the road at the intersection of Maxwelton and French roads. Free shuttle service is provided between the overflow parking lot and Maxwelton Beach for the parade.
If you do show up late and have to park up the street, the walk to the beach is quick — I always bring a skate board.
What’s more to say? These events are a blast, and make celebrating Independence Day on South Whidbey extra special. Kudos to all the hard working volunteers who make it happen.