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Arlington celebrates the Fourth of July

ARLINGTON — Community members didn’t let the threat of rain get in the way of their Fourth of July celebrations.

Despite drizzly conditions in Arlington on Sunday, thousands of residents still came out for the annual Independence Day events, which began at sunrise and concluded after dusk.

Pancakes in the Park

The festivities began at Haller Park, where volunteers from Snohomish County Fire District 21 served their 24th annual pancake breakfast.

Organizers used approximately 200 pounds of pancake mix during their breakfast event, which started at 7 a.m.

“I think it’s a great deal,” said District 21 Fire Chief Rick Isler. “The whole community gets behind the Fourth of July. This is a rural setting and most of the people here have a heart for America and what this day means to our communities and our country.”

Isler said that volunteers typically make about 1,000 breakfasts each year, adding that this year’s number was about the same.

After residents filled their bellies, they had a chance to watch the yearly Pedal, Paddle, Puff triathlon, during which athletes bikes, canoed and ran a combined 10 miles (see SPORTS, Page 25).

Kiwanis auctions

During the morning events, community members also were able to bid on dozens of items during the Kiwanis Club of Arlington’s live and silent auctions.

Proceeds from the two silent auctions and the live auction go toward Kiwanis scholarships for Arlington and Lakewood high school graduates.

Items ranged from lunch for four and a city tour with Arlington Mayor Margaret Larson to a six-piece patio set. Club members also held a 50-50 auction that raised more than $600.

Michael Prihoda, Kiwanis Club member and executive director of the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce, estimated that the auctions brought in about $8,000 — about the same amount brought in last year.

Parades

The biggest draws during the Fourth of July were two parades — the Kiddies Parade and the Grand Parade — which again attracted thousands of residents from across the area. The parades began at 4:30 p.m. on North Olympic Avenue.

Kelly Penny, parade coordinator, said that approximately 4,000 people came to watch the 97 combined entries in both parades, adding that organizers had about 20 more entries in the Grand Parade this year.

For the second consecutive year, parade volunteers held the Kiddies Parade right before the Grand Parade — a decision that Penny said has helped revive the youngster parade.

“The way it is now, how cool is it when you’re a kid and you have 4,000 of your fellow neighbors cheering you on?” Penny said.

Following the Kiddies Parade was the 117th Grand Parade, which as usual had a variety of vehicles and floats from local organizations, nonprofits and businesses.

“It’s very much community focused,” Penny said. “It’s something to be proud of.”

Parade organizers handed out 29 prizes based on different categories. The Grand Prize trophy for the Grand Parade was given to the Arlington Arts Council for its entry, while a Peter Pan float featuring characters from the movie “Hook” took home the Kiddie Parade Grand Prize trophy.

Penny thanked the 40 volunteers from the hospital, as well as local authorities, who helped put on the parades.

“They really have a good time,” she said. “Being able to do this is a total partnership. We couldn’t do it without the police and fire departments.”

Great Stilly Duck Dash

Community members had about an hour to grab a bite for dinner before the annual Rotary Club of Arlington’s Great Still Duck Dash began at 7:30 p.m.

John Peeters, Duck Dash chair and Vice President of the Rotary Club, said that volunteers sold 10,649 ducks and raised more than $45,000 total during the 22nd annual event.

During the event, several thousand rubber ducks are sold to community members and released into the Stillaguamish River at Lincoln Bridge. The yellow birds make their way down the river to Haller Park, where they are collected.

Residents who purchased the 10 top-placing ducks are awarded monetary prizes that range from $100 to $5,000.

Proceeds from the event benefit more than 15 local organizations and nonprofits.

Peeters said that this year’s Duck Dash exceeded his expectations.

“Everybody did a fantastic job,” Peeters said. “When that yellow cloud of ducks came around the corner, you could hear the excitement.”

A duck belonging to Christy Merritt finished first, while ducks purchased by Paul Buckey and Carol Jacques placed second ($2,000) and third ($1,000), respectively.

Duck Dash entrants whose ducks finish in fourth through tenth place received $100.

Peeters thanked the Boy Scouts and Arlington High School JROTC members who volunteered to help collect the ducks after the event.

“This is the hardest part of the evening,” he said.

Other winners include Andrea Barten (fourth), Yolanda (fifth, full name not available), Kurt Patterson (sixth), Jacob Parker (seventh), Jenny Burton (eighth), Greta Lulkovick (ninth) and Valinda Roehl (10th).

Fireworks

As the sky grew dark, residents made their way to the Arlington Boys & Girls Club where they were treated to the yearly Fourth of July fireworks show.

Shades of red, blue and yellow mortars and explosives erupted just after dusk, much to the delight of the thousand or so community members who brought their lawn chairs and blankets to watch the show.

Brett Martin, lead pyrotechnic operator of Chehalis-based Eagle Fireworks, which put on the show, said that the Arlington show was one of his personal favorites.

“It’s one of my favorites because there’s so much going on,” he said.

The half-hour show was paid for by a $5,000 grant from the city of Arlington’s hotel-motel funds.

The show was organized by the chamber.

“We have used a sponsor in the past,” said Prihoda, who introduced the show to spectators. “We don’t need a sponsor this year as we were able to receive the grant.”

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