BELLINGHAM - It was a grand day for a parade.
Kids with green snow cones basked in the 75-degree heat. Old-timey fire engines spat out exhaust as they chugged along Cornwall Avenue. Baton twirlers glistened with sweat.
For two hours the Ski to Sea Grand Parade rolled toward downtown Bellingham, while a crowd of thousands took it all in from the sidewalks Saturday afternoon, May 26.
Spectator Ed Carson of Laurel hoisted a large American flag, in honor of his military family, on his sleeveless shoulders.
"It's awesome," he said. "The sun sure brought the people out."
Hopefully, he said, it'll stick around for tomorrow's big race.
Down the block Matt Dealy, 16, sat on a homemade bike with his helmet on and watched the floats sail by the Public Market.
"I think I like this one, the logs," he said, gesturing to a giant logging truck loaded with 80-foot-long tree trunks. A tacked-on banner advertised the Deming Logging Show.
More than 100 entries trickled along Cornwall, starting at noon.
A mondo slot machine had come up all sevens. Bicyclists wore yellow chicken suits.
The queen of the Lynden Rodeo rode a horse coated in pink and purple glitter. Dozens of women in hot pink shirts jazzercised in unison.
Firefighters played "Scotland the Brave" on the bagpipes and drums. A living Iwo Jima Memorial posed in the back of a Johnson's Towing truck that was draped in camouflage netting.
The Bellingham High School alumni band, marching for the last time, closed out the parade to the rising, sparkling tune of "Swing March."
As they rattled by, two teen girls kissed each other goodbye on the cheek.
"See you at the carnival," they said.
And the band kept thumping the drums as they turned onto York Street, then into an alley, until they could see the baseball diamond of their alma mater. They halted, rapped on the snares for a couple more bars, and closed out with one final, "Rah! Rah! Rah!"
Linda Short, the middle of three generations to play in the band, looked around for her son.
"That's it," she said, holding her clarinet in the air. "That's the finale."
Reach Caleb Hutton at email@example.com or call 360-715-2276.