This year's Ski to Sea Blossom Time Grand Parade will feature a parade marshal with many years of community service, and will include a Bellingham athlete who jumped to prominence in February at the Winter Olympics in Russia.
The parade grand marshal will be Rick Sucee, a Bellingham police lieutenant active in the American Legion, Bellingham Police Association, Bellingham High School Alumni Band and many other volunteer and community organizations.
"He has volunteered with Ski to Sea for as long as I can remember," said Maria Dahl, who has helped Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry host the parade for 17 years and has been parade director for seven years. "He gives selflessly to the community, not because of his position but because of who he is."
Sucee, a Bellingham native, has a long history with the parade, from watching it as a youngster, to marching in it as a school-age trumpet player, to helping organize it and judge entries after he joined the Police Department in 1974. Now he can add grand marshal to his parade résumé.
"I thought that was a tremendous honor," Sucee said. "I really was speechless at first."
Also appearing in the parade will be Angeli VanLaanen, the first Bellingham-born Winter Olympian and Bellingham's first female Olympian.
VanLaanen, a 2004 graduate of Bellingham High School who first took to the slopes at Mt. Baker Ski Area, competed in the Olympic debut of women's freeskiing halfpipe.
While she approached the Olympics ranked fifth in the International Ski Federation women's halfpipe rankings, she finished out of the medals in 11th place.
The parade took on its new official name in 2013. Long ago, the event was called the Blossom Time Parade, until that parade's demise in 1973. However the emergence of the Ski to Sea race in 1970 generated enthusiasm for the return of a community parade.
While the name is new, the parade lineup will feature many traditional entries, including high school marching bands, business and community floats, car clubs, youth groups, police departments and veterans' organizations.
And, of course, camels. Last year, Camel Safari, a camel-riding business at 5435 Sand Road, near Bellingham, made its inaugural appearance in the parade.
This year's parade theme is "Rolling Forward Together, the Wheel of Whatcom."
"All of us working together is what propels the Wheel of Whatcom," said Dahl, a broker at Windermere Real Estate. "We're all in it together."
Now, if only the weather will work together with the parade. To be sure, Dahl checked the weather forecast for parade day, May 25.
"I believe it's warm," she said. "It's always our hope that it's warm and dry."
IF YOU GO
When: Noon Saturday, May 24.
Where: The parade starts at Cornwall Avenue and Alabama Street and continues south on Cornwall. The route makes a left at Champion Street and another left at North State Street, before ending at York Street.
A list of entries for the Ski to Sea Blossom Time Grand Parade as of May 1. More entries are still possible for the parade in downtown Bellingham on May 24.
Acme Ice Cream
American Legion Auxiliary
Assumption Catholic School
Bellingham Backpack Marimba Band
Bellingham Circus Guild
Bellingham Elks Lodge No. 194
Bellingham Middle School Band/Whatcom Educational Credit Union
Bellingham Roller Betties
Bellingham Sister Cities Association
Bellingham/Whatcom County Firefighters Local 106
Blaine High School
Burned Children Recovery Foundation
Consumer Awareness Advocates
Dancing For Joy, School of Dance w/Jubilee Dance Company
Lions Club MD - 19 International
Knights of Columbus
Little Caesars Pizza
Marysville Pilchuck High School Marching Tomahawks
Miss Whatcom County Scholarship Program
Mount Baker Theatre
Northwest Washington Community of the Deaf
Northwest Washington Theatre Group
Port of Subs
Relay For Life/American Cancer Society
Rodeo Cowgirls Drill Team
Shayne Simpson's Martial Arts and Fitness
Silver Reef Hotel Casino Spa
Skagit River Shakespeare Festival
Whatcom Community College
Whatcom County Auditor
Whatcom County Dairy Women
Whatcom County Fire District No. 7
SOURCE: BELLINGHAM/WHATCOM CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY
Reach Dean Kahn at 360-715-229 or firstname.lastname@example.org .