Attending Tumwater’s Fourth of July parade is sort of like running into an old, familiar friend each year. The same organizations enter floats year after year, and the order they march in is similar.
But it’s a tradition of family fun that many look forward to. On Thursday, hundreds of people lined Capitol Boulevard in Tumwater to take in the annual spectacle. People in the crowd said the Fourth of July is a time for family to gather and to support the troops.
The parade routine is familiar: Tenino’s motorcycle drill team warms up the festivities just before 11 a.m. as a color guard made of Boy Scouts and U.S. Marine Corps veterans stands by. Then, with the boom of a cannon that always manages to catch the crowd off-guard, the gathered masses on Lee Street walk out onto Capitol Boulevard and it’s officially a parade.
Boy Scouts passed out American flags to children. A convoy of military vehicles followed, with a cavalcade of politicians coming behind, including Tumwater Mayor Pete Kmet, Lacey Mayor Virgil Clarkson and Thurston County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela.
All of Thurston County gets into the act, because the parade is not just Tumwater’s, but the key Independence Day celebration in the whole county.
The winner of the parade’s comic award was the Thurston County Fair van, speckled with white and black like a Holstein. Fake cow patties fsll out of the back of the van and, modeling responsible animal ownership, a woman with a shovel scooped the faux poop.
The parade had just shy of 100 entries this year, said Stephanie Klein, an administrative assistant for the city of Tumwater. There were nine horse groups, which is a record, she said. This year’s grand marshals were Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s 17th Fires Brigade, led by Col. Ken Kamper.
The parade — which took place under dry, overcast skies and temperatures in the upper 60s — was a crowd pleaser.
Eric and Shanie Cohen of McCleary brought Madilyn, 7, and Cody, 5, to take in the show.
“I think it’s a good parade,” Eric Cohen said. “We’ve gone to a lot of festivals around the area.”
The day is about supporting the troops, he said. It was his second time attending the Tumwater parade.
Lance Hillman of Johnson Point was attending for the first time.
“It’s adorable,” he said. “I like that everybody’s representatives come out and stuff.”
Hillman’s wife, Amber, said their Independence Day plans involved “blowing stuff up.” “Lots and lots of firecrackers,” Lance Hillman added, while their children — Dustin, 8, Lukeus, 4, and Connor, 2 — were taking in the scene.
The city of Tumwater and unincorporated Thurston County still allow personal fireworks during the holiday, while neighboring Olympia and Lacey do not.
Jacquie Harris said her family just moved to Lacey and was looking for something to do, so they came to Tumwater. To her, the Fourth of July means hanging out with friends and family, she said.
She came to the parade with her husband, Dave, and three children — Caleb, 6, Taylor, 4, and Izzy, “almost 2.”
Parade Award Recipients
Grand Marshal’s Award: 17th Fires Brigade led by Col. Ken Kamper.
Dale O. Johnson Founder’s Award: Kiperts Korner Feed.
Music in Motion-Grand Sweeps: Capital Lakefair Float.
Music in Motion-Sweeps: Black Hills High School Dance Team.
Theme Award: Thurston County 4-H.
Veteran’s Award: U.S. Marine Corps League, Olympia Detachment #482 and Boy Scout Troops.
Floats-Grand Sweepstakes: Girl Scouts of Western Washington.
Floats-Sweepstakes: Twin Star Credit Union.
Huggable Loveable Pet Award: Thurston County 4-H.
Most Impressive Animal-Grand Sweepstakes: Mini Horse & Cart.
Most Impressive Animal-Sweeps: Grays Harbor Mounted Posse Indoor Pro Rodeo Court.
Comic Award: Thurston County Fair.
Community Award: Kiperts Korner Feed.
Community Youth Award: Thurston County 4-H.
March/Dance/Drill-Grand Sweepstakes: Black Hills High School Cheerleaders.
March/Dance/Drill-Sweepstakes: DancerZone 360.
Mounted Drill-Grand Sweepstakes: American Made Rodeo Drill Team.
Mounted Drill-Sweepstakes: Tumwater High School Equestrians.
Mounted Drill Scooper Award-Grand Sweepstakes: Grays Harbor Mounted Posse Indoor Pro Rodeo Court.
Mounted Drill Scooper Award-Sweepstakes: Healing Hearts Ranch & Heart Strides Therapeutic Riding.
Trucks/Equipment-Grand Sweeps: Kiperts Korner Feed.
Trucks/Equipment-Sweeps: Tumwater School District Stuff the Bus.
Cars-Grand Sweepstakes: 1906 Holsman “Horseless Carriage.”
Emergency Response Unit Award: East Olympia Fire Department.
Classic Cars-1st Place: Tom Neff’s 1940 Ford Sedan.
Classic Cars-2nd Place: Vern Steele’s 1924 Dodge Touring Sedan.Matt Batcheldor: 360-704-6869 firstname.lastname@example.org @MattBatcheldor Source: City of Tumwater