Arlington celebrates the Fourth of July | SLIDESHOW

ARLINGTON — Arlington’s Fourth of July festivities drew crowds to the city’s downtown, before returning to the site of the day’s first activities at Haller Park.

Legion Park was thronged with families that afternoon, as kids tried their hands at carnival games on the grass, in between magic shows by Brady Ramsey at the gazebo.

“The pony rides by Buckaroo Bob’s have been a big hit this year,” said Mary Jane Harmon, managing director of the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce, who estimated that as many as 500 people circulated through Legion Park for the “Old-Fashioned Fourth” this year, compared to the roughly 300 attendees that the event attracted last year. “At any time, there’s been between 75-100 people here, but every time you look up, there’s a whole new set of people. We must have given out at least 100 balloons in the first half-hour alone.”

Harmon thanked her volunteers, including the Arlington High School Honor Society and DECA students, for making sure everything ran smoothly.

The Arlington Lions Club’s apple pie fundraiser made its debut at this year’s “Old-Fashioned Fourth,” selling more than 70 slices for $2 apiece before the Kiddies Parade kicked off.

“For our first year, that’s pretty good,” said Maxine Jenft, as she sprayed whipped cream onto pie slices after Betty Breneman had ladled hot caramel onto them.

“Still, we were hoping to run out of pie before the end of the day,” said Randy Tendering, who nonetheless expressed optimism for next year’s event.

This year’s Kiddies Parade was coordinated by Stanwood High School’s Hayleigh Heggen and Shannon Shaw, who agreed that their senior project had been a fun learning experience.

“Everybody was really supportive in signing on,” Shaw said of the businesses and other organizations that she and Heggen asked to sponsor the parade, which allowed them to present prizes of coloring books and crayons, gift certificates for bowling, and gift baskets to the winners in the “Patriotic,” “Costumes” and “Wheels” categories.

Diana Kinney’s foster daughter, Josie Guizar, decided two days before the Kiddies Parade that she wanted to enter, so they spent $3 on chicken wire and a dollar on paper to turn her into a girl-sized firecracker, which earned her first place in the “Costumes” category.

“She’s already a firecracker,” laughed Kinney. “I was dreading how much work we’d have to do, but it was actually pretty fun and easy once we got into it.”

In the Grand Parade, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church won for the floats category, just as Union Bank did for the commercial entries, while the Playa Bonita Mexican Restaurant’s company of singers, dancers, instrumentalists and horseback riders galloped off with first place for the adult marching entries. Boy Scout Troop 92 topped the junior marching entries, while the Washington Army National Guard’s big rigs rolled over the competition to take first for the nonprofit entries. The antique and classic vehicles entries’ winners were led by a 1917 GMC truck.

After the Grand Parade, retired U.S. Navy Capt. Jerry Mathews reflected on his 44 years of military service in the context of the day’s patriotic holiday.

“Wars are a lot more dangerous now, I think,” said Mathews, who stood on the sidewalk of Olympic Avenue in his dress whites for the Grand Parade, as his fellow veterans passed. “There’s a lot more confusion today, but the majority of people still want to do the right thing.”

At Haller Park, the Rotary Club of Arlington announced 25 winners of $1,000 each, courtesy of the 25th annual Great Stilly Duck Dash, which Dale Duskin credited with raising more than $1 million over the course of its quarter-century history, including more than $75,000 this year alone for a new playground at Haller Park.

“What you see here now won’t be here a year from now,” Duskin said, just after the rubber ducks were fished out of the Stillaguamish River. “This will become a destination playground, that people drive 20-30 miles to come to, and that’s all because of all of you. Whether you win tonight or not, you’re all still winners, because you’ve won this for the community.”

The evening wrapped up with the Chamber’s fireworks show in the skies above the Arlington Boys & Girls Club, which Richard Sheppard and his family have turned out for faithfully for the past decade.

“Every year, we catch the parade and tailgate it for the fireworks,” said Sheppard, after his son Ryan had served up ribs from the barbecue in the flatbed of his truck. “This year’s fireworks were the best yet.”


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