Blossomtime Parade, and its earlier incarnations, will mark their centennial in four years, but the 2016 parade is already getting in the mood with this year’s theme, “Making Memories.”
The parade starts at noon Saturday, May 28, at Cornwall Avenue and Alabama Street and follows its usual route into downtown.
Bellingham’s traditional hometown parade started in 1920, when the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce held a beauty pageant in conjunction with the Tulip Festival Parade. According to today’s Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry, which is presenting the 2016 parade along with Sanitary Service Co., contestants in the beauty pageant were sponsored by businesses that sold flowers to support their candidate. The contestant for the business that sold the most flowers was named Tulip Parade Queen, including Kelli Linville, the 1966 queen who is now Bellingham mayor.
We thought he was a great example of what our community is all about.
Shelli Jones, about grand marshall David ‘Mac’ McMaster
This year’s grand marshal is David “Mac” McMaster, a relative newcomer to Bellingham but someone already with a memorable legacy of community service. A combat veteran in the Vietnam War, McMaster served in the Marines from 1969 to 1987, and finished his military career with the Army from 1989 to 1995.
A Bellingham resident for nearly 16 years, he is commander of the Marine Corps League in Bellingham and a trustee of VFW Post 1585 in Bellingham. He also was adjutant of American Legion Albert J. Hamilton Post 7 in Bellingham, and for many years coordinated Whatcom County’s Toys for Tots holiday campaign.
This notoriety is all very new to me.
David ‘Mac’ McMaster, grand marshal
“We thought he was a great example of what our community is all about,” said Shelli Jones, marketing coordinator at the chamber. ‘Toys for Tots makes Christmas memories come true for a lot of local children.”
McMaster said he was, in turn, surprised, humbled, and honored to be asked to be grand marshal.
“This notoriety is all very new to me,” he said. “I love this community. ... I’m proud to be an adopted son of Bellingham.”
Along with the floats, fire trucks, dance troupes, horses, and clowns, the 2016 parade will feature the Vancouver Police Pipe Band. Formed in 1914, it’s the oldest non-military pipe band in British Columbia, and the longest continually serving police pipe band in the world.
Two years ago, for its centennial, the band performed the Changing of the Guard at the Royal Palaces in England, the first non-military pipe band to perform the honor.
For people who can’t watch McMaster, the pipe band, and the rest of the parade in person, Bellingham’s BTV Channel 10 will film it for later showings.
If you go
When: Noon, Saturday, May 28
Where: The Blossomtime 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.
Here are entries for the Blossomtime Parade as of April 29.
▪ Lummi Stommish, Lummi Nation
▪ Kona Ice Bellingham
▪ Think Local First Be Local Bees, Sustainable Connections
▪ Voyager Middle School Marching Band
▪ Little Caesars Pizza
▪ Daughters of Norway
▪ Alaska USA Federal Credit Union
▪ Bellingham United FC, Whatcom Sports Recreation
▪ Bellingham Jazzercise
▪ Sister Cities Ambassadors, Bellingham Sister Cities Association
▪ Relay For Life of Whatcom County, American Cancer Society
▪ Northwest Community of the Deaf - Bilingual Language
▪ Bellingham Harborview Lions Club
▪ Northwest SilverStars
▪ Bellingham Senior Activity Center
▪ Ferndale High School Cheer Squad
▪ The Dance Studio
▪ Whatcom County Fire District No. 7
▪ Ford coupe 1930
▪ Kilowatt Kitty Sanitary Service Co.
▪ Gear Heads of Whatcom County
▪ The Magic Van, Make.Shift
▪ Sons of Norway Viking Ship
▪ Remembering Narnia, DFJ School of Dance
▪ Marysville Pilchuck Marching Tomahawks
▪ Miss Whatcom County 2016
▪ Meridian High School Marching Trojans
▪ Children’s Co-Op Preschool: Where Families Grow Together
▪ Ferndale High School Marching Band
▪ Deming Logging Show
▪ Bellingham Technical College
▪ Judd & Black Appliance
▪ Fairhaven Ladies of the Evening Society
▪ Bellingham Fire Department
▪ Sehome High School “Mariner” Marching Band
▪ Fourth Corner Elites
▪ U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
▪ Squalicum High School Marching Band
▪ Red Raider Marching Band, Bellingham High School
▪ Lynden Christian Band