Marching bands, fire trucks and horses, as well as law enforcement vehicles, dance troupes, clowns, the Bellingham SeaHawkers and community walking groups will entertain the crowd during the 2017 Blossomtime Parade.
The parade begins at noon Saturday at the corner of Alabama Street and Cornwall Avenue, goes south on Cornwall, turns east on East Champion and then north on North State. The parade ends at North State and York streets. The parade route fills up fast with spectators, so choose your spot early to get the best view.
This year’s Grand Marshal is Whatcom Community College, celebrating its 50th anniversary. WCC will be represented by president Kathi Hiyane-Brown and a selection of WCC students.
“As Whatcom celebrates its 50-year anniversary, I am honored to serve as the Grand Marshal representing our college as a member of this special community,” Hiyane-Brown said. “Whatcom students, Willie the Orca and my three grandchildren will be joining me. I hope to see many friends along the parade route.”
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The parade committee opted not to pick a theme for this year’s parade to encourage parade entries that best represent their business or organization’s mission and message.
The Blossomtime Parade is a traditional hometown parade that began in 1920, when the then Bellingham Chamber of Commerce conducted a beauty pageant that accompanied the Tulip Festival Parade. Contestants were sponsored by local businesses that sold flowers to support their candidate. The business that sold the most flowers would have their contestant named the Tulip Parade Queen, while the other contestants served as her court. The tradition continued for decades and included the 1966 Queen, Kelli Linville, who grew up to become mayor of Bellingham.
The Chamber of Commerce canceled the parade during the Great Depression and World War II, and it was revived in 1947 as the Blossomtime Parade, which changed to the Ski to Sea Grand Parade, and then back to Blossomtime over the years.
Whether you watch for the high school marching bands, the floats, the antique cars and trucks, the police and fire vehicles, the clowns in little cars or the dance groups, there is something special for everyone at the Blossomtime Parade.