ARLINGTON, Wash., July 10, 2023—Thousands of people turned out for the Arlington Hometown Celebration at Legion and Haller parks to exercise their right for freedom to celebrate the annual Fourth of July festival.
From pancakes and parades to the Great Stilly Duck Dash and a dazzling fireworks show, there were plenty of events and attractions to keep families and fair-goers in a festive mood.
After a pancake breakfast fundraiser in Haller Park hosted by Youth Dynamics, the festivities got off to a running start – literally – with the Pedal, Paddle, Puff Triathlon. Other activities included the Kiwanis Auction supporting local youth scholarships and food vendors. The Arlington Runners Club hosted the Stilly Beer and Wine Garden in Haller Park.
Festival-goers spent the rest of the day with a slate of activities split between downtown and down by the Stillaguamish River, with an Lifeway’s Old-Fashioned Carnival and kids games in Legion Park as part of the hometown fun.
The sunny day drew an outpouring of people, many dressed in patriotic red, white and blue, and waving or wearing the old stars and stripes.
In the Kiddies Parade, children donning Independence Day fashion walked or bicycled along Olympic Avenue, flanked by parade watchers. The Most Creative award went to a motorized cart with a string of attachable carts connected centipede-style, with each one decorated in 4th of July bunting and carrying a child. Other Awards were granted for Most Patriotic, Best Costumes and Best Wheels
The Grand Parade kicked off with a police escort and mixed military honor guard, a phalanx of fire vehicles along with mascots Sparky the Fire Dog and Smokey Bear, an appearance by Arlington Mayor Barb Tolbert, followed by the Boy Scouts and several service club parade entrants.
For the Arlington Arts Council, their participation in the parade was bittersweet. Members celebrated 20 years of making the community a premier art town in Snohomish County, while also showcasing a moving display of art to pay tribute to Arlington’s doyenne of art, Sarah Arney, council president, a longtime supporter of art, and a local reporter who covered art extensively. In further remembrance, art lovers walking the route wore berets that were a common fashion choice of Arney.
The crowd was generally supportive of all the parade entries, waving and cheering. Those good feelings took a little turn, however, when the Arlington Pride entry passed by. The nonprofit that supports celebrating diversity and supporting the LGBTQ+ community featured alpacas, a costumed unicorn and marchers waving multi-colored flags. Marchers stayed stoic and smiled, while a smattering of “boos” and repeated shouts of “Leave our kids alone” and “Get out of here” could be heard in pockets of otherwise welcoming parade-goers.
As the Great Stilly Duck Dash wagon and Rotarians on foot made a swing through the parade selling last-minute Duck Dash tickets, the rush was on to see that every child got their own bill-shaped duck caller on a necklace. The cacophony of noisy duck calls became as droning of vuvuzelas at a World
The back end of the parade carried the low throbbing sound of classic and new tractors as a reminder of the traditional and continued importance that agriculture and farming play in the Arlington and Stillaguamish Valley region.
Overall, the parade provided a solid mix of entertainment with floats, colorful costumes, marching bands, first responder and historic vehicles and other mainstays that make the holiday parade a traditional favorite in the Stilly Valley.
At the river, the yellow ducks representing the Rotary Club’s annual Stilly Valley Duck Dash made good time floating downriver after a front-end loader dumped them from atop Lincoln Bridge into the south fork of the Stillaguamish River toward the finish line at Haller Bridge.
Tickets buyers lined the bridge to give their ducks added motivation to cross the finish line first and into the waiting nets of Rotarians. The duck dash is one of the club’s largest and most visible annual fundraisers.
Rotary streamed the end of the race live, and announced the Duck Dash Winners this year on Facebook. They included: 1st Place $4,000-Khristy Sikorski, 2nd Place $2000-Ross, 3rd Place $1,000, Nick McCallan and $500 prizes each to Mike Mulligan, Carol Somes, Margaret Dunnington. Chris Cammock and Kim Keefe.
A fireworks show at the Boys & Girls Club ended the event.