Fourth of July celebrations on Whidbey Island will be back with a boom, for the most part.
After the pandemic hiatus, the only traditional Whidbey Independence Day celebration that won’t be happening this year appears to be the Freeland Celebrate America event, which is normally held on July 3.
Veterans and their animals can gather together at Greenbank Farm Sunday, at 3-9 p.m. on July 3 for the Vets and Pets Community Picnic, put on by Whidbey Island Markets. This is a fireworks-free event, out of respect for both the veterans and their pets.
“We invite North and South Islanders to leave the things that divide us at home for a day and come together to celebrate The Great Experiment and those who have fought to let it continue,” a Whidbey Island Markets Facebook post states.
People are encouraged to bring chairs, shade, coolers, food and a grill if they’d like. For those with dogs, there will be contests with prizes. Dogs are asked to be kept on leashes at the picnic but there is a leash-free area a short walk away.
More information can be found at whidbeyislandmarkets.com/vets-%26-pets-picnic.
In Oak Harbor, the Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration and street fair will be at Windjammer Park this year on Monday, July 4. Unfortunately, there will once again be no carnival due to staffing issues. Instead, there will be “old-fashioned carnival games,” including sack races, a dunk tank and a pie-eating contest, said Vicki Graham, executive director of the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce.
The street fair will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. There will be a parade at 11 a.m. A band called False Sense of Security will be playing from 8 p.m. until the start of the pyrotechnic display. The fireworks are set off in Windjammer Park so people can see an up close and personal display.
“The best way I can describe it is angelic,” Graham said. “If you just lay back and you just watch them, it’s like they’re falling on you, but they’re not falling on you.”
There will be a clearly marked fallout zone that will be strictly off limits for safety. The fireworks are made possible by donations from local businesses and community members.
The Maxwelton Independence Day Parade will take place 12-1 p.m., on July 4. This is the 105th year for the popular South Whidbey tradition, which last happened in 2019. The homespun and often eclectic parade has been known to cease only for World War I, World War II and now a global pandemic.
This year’s parade will be structured the same as previous years, with registration opening at 10:30 a.m. on July 4. A shuttle will run from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. from the Little Brown Church at Maxwelton and French roads, where parking is available.