Redecker: Finishing summer on a high note as school nears

jredecker@theolympian.comSeptember 1, 2013 

Labor Day weekend may not be the end of summer, but for most families, it’s the end of summer vacation and time to get back into the routine of school. Before we leave summer festivities behind, though, let’s look back on some family fun in Thurston County.

I’ve been to plenty of Pet Parades, the annual promenade of children and animals dressed in fanciful costumes, but this year was the first time I was there as a grandmother.

I brought my 3-year-old granddaughter and 1-year-old grandson to the 84th annual Pet Parade. It was nice weather, and sidewalks were lined with families, visiting and waiting for the first tones of the police escort to announce the beginning of the show. The concept of a parade was a little beyond my grandkids, but there was no mystery about people throwing candy to them or the cute dogs, cats, chickens, pony and even a llama.

After the parade we walked to the waterfront, bought ice cream and strolled the boardwalk, taking a tour of the historic tug Sandman. (You can see it and plenty of other tugs at Harbor Days, which continues today.)

My granddaughter was fascinated by the water fountains that have a ground-level option for dogs. She was bemused by the Kissing Statue. And both kids loved the playground by Harbor House farther down the boardwalk.

For days afterward, she asked her mother to go to the parade and the playground.

We write a lot about the troubles in Olympia — vacant storefronts, development conflicts and issues with street people. But on that sunny August Saturday, downtown was about families and friends enjoying the best the city has to offer.

Now, about back to school. In today’s paper, you’ll find a story outlining changes district by district to help prepare you and your kids for the coming year.

Also, with the start of the school year, our weekly Student Spotlight will resume. This feature highlights the accomplishments of a local teen, who is nominated by a family member, employer, teacher or other adult mentor. Send your nominations to education reporter Lisa Pemberton at (For more details, see the box elsewhere on this page.) We’ll start publishing them as soon as we get a few in the pipeline.

Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of this amazing summer. And thanks for reading.

Jerre Redecker is senior editor of The Olympian. Contact her at

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