Parade and sunshine make for enjoyable Fourth of July in Tumwater

At the ripe age of 101, Berdelle Christiansen knows exactly how to make an enjoyable Fourth of July. All you need is some nice weather, a parade and a picnic.

The Thurston County resident had all three Saturday as she and her family celebrated the holiday.

Christiansen and other spectators lined the sidewalks of Capitol Boulevard in Tumwater for the annual Fourth of July parade — a tradition in the city for 25 years.

This is how she’s always celebrated the holiday, even as a child in South Dakota.

“Back then, everybody celebrated,” Christiansen said. “There was always a big parade and a big picnic.”

This year, the Tumwater parade’s theme was “Just Kicking It,” and members of the Tumwater Soccer Club served as the grand marshals. About 60 young athletes walked in the parade, dressed in their soccer uniforms and kicking soccer balls.

Rachel Smalley, 16, walked with the group handing out candy and information about the club.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Smalley said. “I think the younger kids especially are having a good time.”

Club president Jeff Smalley, Rachel’s father, said the group landed the grand marshal position by luck, since they matched the theme so well. “We’re really happy to be here,” Smalley said.

The parade featured a mixture of children and adults showing off their talents, horses, and interesting cars. A group of Girl Scouts gave high fives to nearly everyone they passed. The Tumwater High School dance team danced to “Party in the USA,” and the Black Hills High School dance team performed to a medley of songs.

A string of emergency vehicles from all over the county drove with flashing lights and blaring sirens, while firefighters and law enforcement officers waved at the crowd.

But Christiansen’s favorite feature of the parade were the dozens of old cars that traveled the parade route.

“I always love a good parade, and this is a good parade,” Christiansen said.