Arlington's 4th of July parade returns to Olympic Avenue

Crowds were four to six people deep as people waited anxiously for big trucks along North Olympic Avenue for the Fourth of July Grand Parade, Friday, July 4, with brand new flags on the new street. - SARAH ARNEY The Arlington Times
Crowds were four to six people deep as people waited anxiously for big trucks along North Olympic Avenue for the Fourth of July Grand Parade, Friday, July 4, with brand new flags on the new street.
— image credit: SARAH ARNEY The Arlington Times

ARLINGTON Ice cream, pies, parade floats and fireworks were all part of the city of Arlington's first Fourth of July celebration since the reopening of Olympic Avenue.

Grand Parade on Olympic Avenue

After last year's construction diverted the Fourth of July Grand Parade to French Street, crowds were literally pacing the sidewalks for the Grand Parade's return to Olympic Avenue.

The Grand Lodge of Washington's "Masonic Family" float won both the "Best in Show" and first place in the "Floats" categories, followed by "Not Your Mama's" Arlington Garden Club in second place and the Arlington Arts Council's "Cows on the Moooove!" in third.

Arlington Youth Cheer walked away with first place in the "Marching Units" category, followed by the Stilly Valley Little League in second place and the Arlington Rotary's "Duck Dash" in third.

Arlington Hardware and Lumber's "Cedar Stump of military Honor," bearing the flags and emblems of all branches of service, was awarded first place in the "Commercial" category, while El Gitano's orchestra-on-the-roll took second place, with Biringer Farms' giant strawberry coming in third.

Cascade Valley Hospital's "Under Construction," with a back-hoe on a flatbed, was awarded first place in the "Speciality" category, while Jean Olson's "Wagons Ho!" took second place, with the Arlington Free Methodist Church's "Outrigger Island Trek" coming in third.

In the "Political" category, it was Val Stevens in first place, Mary Hargaret Haugen in second place and George Appel in third. In the "Antique and Classic Vehicles" category, Sam Esperson's 1915 Model T Ford placed first, Harold Eastbury's "Cascade Two-Cylinder Club" placed second, and Dr. John Maxwell's "Classic Car" placed third.

Eating contests at the Local Scoop

The Local Scoop's seventh annual ice cream eating contest was followed by its first pie eating contest, and both attracted far more spectators and contestants than last year's event.

The ice cream eating contest divided its competitors into two age groups, 5-7 and 8-10, but all the children were required to eat a half-gallon each of their chosen flavor of ice cream. Children ages 5-7 were given eight minutes and small spoons to polish off as much ice cream as they could, while those ages 8-10 were only given six minutes and not allowed utensils of any kind.

In the 5-7 age category, 7-year-old Deacon Mongar beat Luke Green and Avery Perdue by leaving only one pound nine ounces remaining on his plate, which put him only an ounce ahead of Green.

"I just found out about this today," said Mongar, who credited his success with eating a large lunch to stretch out his stomach. He was still asking his parents if he could finish the rest of the ice cream on his plate, even after time was called.

"I didn't just have a brain-freeze, I had a heart-freeze," he added.

In the 8-10 age category, 9-year-olds Gabe Green and Erik Fleming tied for their win, by leaving behind only one pound six ounces on each of their respective plates, and defeating Samantha and Rosalyn Goneria, Madison Green and Noulan Mongar in the process.

"I was just hungry," said Green, who was nonetheless coughing at the end because of how much his head hurt.

"I didn't have anything else to eat today, besides half a pancake," said Fleming, who consumed ice cream with such abandon that there were trails of it all the way up to his elbows.

In the newly-minted 11-and-up pie eating contest, mom Shawna Stone took son Isaac Sandoval to school, by eating more chocolate creme pie than him, adult Matt Thiele and Local Scoop employee Cassie Wyatt. When served a four pound, four ounce pie, Stone left behind only three pounds three ounces, in spite of having to eat almost entirely hands-free.

All the winners received gift certificates from the Local Scoop.

Fireworks at Quake Park

The annual fireworks show at Bill Quake Memorial Park drew loyal crowds from around town and even out of state.

David Rose has lived in Arlington eight years, while Margaret Rose has been a resident for three years, but they've both caught the past three consecutive fireworks shows. They were joined in their lawn chairs this year by David's mother, Brenda Killian, a former Marysville resident who now lives in California.

"It's a good show," David Rose said. "The lack of traffic means you can get out quick."

"We used to bring the kids, but they've abandoned us for their cooler friends," Margaret Rose laughed. She echoed David's sentiments about the comfort and convenience of the Arlington fireworks show, especially when compared to the one in Everett.

"The crowds are horrendous in that marina," she added. "It's impossible to get in or out."

Killian has seen fireworks shows at Disneyland and other locations in California, but in her opinion, "This compares to any of those shows, because you don't have to watch it from blocks away."

Mike Conner and Diane Jochimsen, both 11-year Arlington residents, had only seen the fireworks show at Quake Park twice, but they'd already found a favorite spot to park their pickup truck.

"It's very safe," said Jochimsen, as she petted her and Conner's dog Mosby. "There are a lot of activities her for kids. We've brought grandkids a couple of times. Now, we just get our regular spot early and bring some books to read."

The Lara family has made an art form out of coming well-prepared to the fireworks show. Deb and Mike Lara have lived in Arlington 10 years and attended five fireworks shows in town during that time, with sons Nick, 8, and Jake, 4.

"Each year has gotten more elaborate," said Deb Lara. "At first, we just sat in the truck, but you don't get a good view through the windshield, so next year, we sat in the back. It was a bit uncomfortable, so we brought a foamy mattress next time. Now, everyone has their own blanket, junk food, soda and games."

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