by Gayle Picken
Want to get to know the heart and soul of a small town? Visit during the 4th of July when the locals gather to celebrate Independence Day with time-honored traditions, parades featuring their local businesses and kids, and annual festivals, concerts and competitions that embrace the town’s unique heritage and history.
Here are seven small town 4th of July celebrations worth a day trip!
Let us know which one you go to … we know you’ll have a blast!
1. Sedro-Woolley Loggerodeo and Chainsaw Carving Contest
Sedro-Woolley along Highway 20 is known as the “Gateway to the North Cascades.” The week-long Loggerodeo event starts with a carnival, car show, beard contest, and street dance. On July 4th, you can watch the Grand Parade featuring log trucks, floats, bands, equestrian, antique cars and tractors and local clubs and businesses. It’s a big parade and last almost 2 hours! You’ll also want to spend some time watching world-class chainsaw artists carving sculptures for the longest-running International invitation-only chainsaw carving competition in the country!
Other events include a rodeo where cowboys and cowgirls compete in events like barrel racing, steer wrestling, team roping and bull riding, and logger demonstrations including log rolling, axe throwing, speed climbing.
Info & Schedule: loggerodeo.org
2. Anacortes 4th of July Parade and Rock the Dock
Head the West on Highway 20 and onto Fidalgo Island where the maritime town of Anacortes celebrates life and work at sea. In the morning, the town gathers for its annual Town Portrait and then at 11:00 am you’ll be treated to a fly over and parade on Commercial street. At 5 pm, you can head over to Rock the Dock, a free community concert at at Seafarers’ Memorial Park followed by fireworks show at dusk.
More info: anacortes.org
3. La Conner – Old Fashioned July 4th and Hometown Celebration
Come by car or cruise in on your boat! The historic town of La Conner hosts an old fashioned 4th of July with a community parade at Noon on 1st Street followed by a community picnic at Pioneer Park with hot dogs, three-legged races, and watermelon eating contest. In the evening, enjoy an outdoor concert at La Conner Marina with a Beer & Wine Garden and a spectacular fireworks show to finish the night!
The evening event is a fundraiser for the Rick Epting Foundation for the Arts that supports La Conner School Music Program for underserved kids. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase. (Photo above by Nancy Crowell)
Info: La Conner 4th of July Celebration
4. Aberdeen SPLASH Festival and Tall Ships Tours
Celebrate on the waterfront at Aberdeen’s Morrison Park on the Chehalis River with live music, family entertainers, food and craft vendors, free inflatable rides & games, and a spectacular fireworks show over the river at dusk. Historic tall ships, Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftan, are open for dockside tours at Grays Harbor Historical Seaport. And for an unforgettable experience, sign up for the Fireworks Sail.
More info: https://splash.aberdeenwa.gov/
5. Stanwood – 4th of July Parade and Ice Cream Social
How about an old fashioned parade on a brick road? Stanwood’s 4th of July parade on the West end of town has been going on for 44 years and brings together children, adults, musicians, Veterans, Scouts, antique cars, floats, fire trucks and wagons. The parade starts at 11:00 am and don’t be late! It’s a quick one! At 11:30, you can join a short program and awards presentation at the Floyd Norgaard Cultural Center. Then enjoy the free Ice Cream Social at Noon!
More Info: http://www.sahs-fncc.org/
6. Arlington July Fourth Frontier Days
Activities go on all day long in three locations in historic Arlington. Start with a pancake breakfast at Haller Park, followed by the Pedal, Paddle & Puff Triathlon. If that sounds too serious, you could opt for the Foam 5K fun run. Celebrating community service, the Kiwanis are hosting an auction and the Rotary presents its annual Great Stilly Duck Dash where you purchase raffle tickets and the winners are determined by floating rubber ducks down the Stillaguamish River with raffle ticket numbers assigned to each duck.
Downtown you can join an old fashioned fourth celebration at Legion park with kiddies parade followed by grand parade and then head over to the Boys & Girls Club for a fireworks display at 9:00 pm.
More info: https://www.facebook.com/ArlingtonJuly4/
7. Pioneer Days in Cle Elum – 4th of July Weekend
The 4th of July has been celebrated in Upper Kittitas County since the opening of the coal mines in 1890’s. Carrying down the tradition through generations of coal miners and loggers, the annual Pioneer Days event on 4th of July weekend pays tribute to the pioneers of the community.
Festivities include Fireworks on the 4th, Grand Parade on Saturday, Pioneer Village Street Fair, 3-on-3 basketball, horseshoes, cornhole tournaments and live music. Sunday morning is the Fireman’s breakfast, youth fishing derby, 5K & 10K runs and bocce ball tournament!
More info: ukcpioneerdays.com