Street project impacts Arlington Festival

ARLINGTON Three events are cancelled in this years Arlington Festival schedule due to the reconstruction of North Olympic Avenue, but the festival will go on, nonetheless.
There will be no carnival, no street fair nor a Kiddies Parade.
The festival will definitely be different this year, said David Boulton, a downtown Arlington business owner who is also president of the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce.
Logistically, it will be a challenge due to the street project, he said. Luckily the Kiwanis Club had already moved its auction from Legion Park down to Haller Park a few years ago, so we dont have to worry about that, said Boulton who is also a member of the Kiwanis Club.
Traditionally presented by the local chamber of commerce with help from various community groups, the Arlington Festivals events are organized by many different community groups.
While the two major pre-Fourth of July events are cancelled (the Kiddies Parade and the carnival) the Fourth itself will go on much as usual, starting in Haller Park. The fun activities in Haller Park begin with the Pedal, Paddle, Puff, a triathlon race that begins at 9:30 a.m. with registration starting at 8 a.m. and Pancakes in the Park, from 7 a.m. to noon, to help the racers and spectators stock up on carbs for the busy day.
In recent years, the Rotary Club of Arlington has contributed toward creating a day-full of events at Haller Park to build momentum for its Great Stilly Duck Dash. The Duck Dash will go on as usual this year, starting with a big boom on the Stillaguamish River at 7:30 p.m.
The Kiwanis Club Auction starts at noon in Haller Park and a new event, a pie-in-the-face game is proposed by the Arlington Athletic Association after the auction. In recent years, the Rotary Club has added music in the park to entertain the crowds while waiting for the duck race after the parade in the evening.
The citys assistant community development director, Bill Blake, is coordinating the triathlon this year but Blake is seeking someone to take over that event.
The Arlington Runners Club is considering it, but hasnt made the commitment yet, said Sarah Hegge, the citys parks and recreation manager. Hegge explained the role of the city in the Arlington Festival.
We dont present any events officially, but the citys various departments help out in many ways, Hegge said.
The parks department and the street department help prepare for events by clearing cars and traffic from streets and parks with signs prior to the events; the police department manages traffic during most of the events and the fire department supervises fireworks at the Boys and Girls Club as well as helping clean up after the parade.
The citys airport management office is also very busy helping with the Arlington Fly-In, which is presented by the Northwest Experimental Aircraft Association.
Hegge herself organized a planning meeting in February, calling all event planners together to resolve any challenges presented by the street project. Presenters of the Kiddies Parade, the Arlington Fire Department Auxiliary had already decided at that time to cancel the Kiddies Parade this year, as did the street fair committee.
Robin Miller said the Downtown Merchants decided to cancel the street fair because it would be too confusing to try and present it in a different location.
We plan to bring it back with a big splash next year, Miller said.
For many years, the Grand Parade was organized by the Chamber of Commerce, but last year it was adopted by Cascade Valley Hospital and Clinics. Parade coordinator Kelly Penny said the hospital employees have taken on the project as a service to the community.
We see this project as an opportunity to be involved with the community, Kelly said. It makes sense, too, since, as one of the communitys largest employers, the hospital has a large staff of potential helpers. Penny worked with city officials to identify the best possible alternate route for this year only. The parade will make a complete turnaround in its adaptation to the closed street, following French Avenue, heading north from Haller Middle School, ending at Division Street.
Penny is excited to report that the SeaFair Pirates will be in the parade this year. She invited them last year, but they were already booked elsewhere.
Merchants, businesses, community groups, musical groups, dancing groups and individuals are all invited to march in the parade. Its free for most, but cost $25 for commercial entries and $100 for political candidates.
Registration forms for the parade are available at City Hall, 238 N. Olympic Ave., at the chamber office, at 3710 168th St., at Cascade Valley Hospitals marketing office, 330 S. Stillaguamish Ave., and at The Arlington Times, at 233 N. Olympic Ave.
Following the parade, crowds will have a short walk from the end of the parade back down to Haller Park for the Duck Dash.
The festivals Fireworks on the Fourth was moved to the Arlington Boys and Girls Club two years ago when neighbors around its former location complained and the Chamber of Commerce continues to make that 130-year old tradition happen by recruiting financial donations to pay for the fireworks, an essential part of celebrating Americas Independence Day. The city has already offered to pay a half of the $5,000 bill, so the chamber is seeking another $2,500.
The dream is to have one donor support the event every year, Morse said.
We could even name the event after the donor.
As the host for the fireworks, Boys and Girls Club Director Bill Kinney always welcomes volunteers to help clean up after.
Morse is also busy helping plan the golf tournament, which occurs a month before the festival, on Friday, June 8. The golf tournament is a significant fundraiser for the Chamber and has been coordinated for more than 10 years by Tarin OBrien of Arlington Travel. Opportunities for sponsors and golfers are still available. Call the Chamber office at 360-659-5453.
Following the Fourth of July, the festival continues as usual with the Arlington Fly-In at the Arlington Airport, the third largest fly-in in the United States. The fly-in attracts more than 50,000 visitors to Arlington some arrive by plane, others by car.
The temporarily cancelled street-fair was introduced in 1989 as an attraction to get the fly-in visitors into historical downtown. The Downtown Arlington Merchants have discussed continuing the shuttle into town even without the street fair.
The Chambers executive director, Sharon Shaw acknowledges the efforts of all those groups who help present the Arlington Festival for the community each year.
The festival is a very important tradition in Arlington, Shaw said. It brings a lot of people to town and helps build community. It brings old timers together with newcomers to have fun and make new memories.
Boulton agreed.
I say kudos to the city for stepping up and helping us keep it all together amid all the complications, Boulton said.
Its really neat to see the city and the hospital employees and all the community groups and the Chamber work together to make the festival happen.
As per tradition, the Chamber will help parade organizers choose the grand marshal for this years parade. Anyone who has a suggestion should call the chamber office at 360-659-5453.

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