Fourth of July 7:30 a.m., I hit the streets of Forks early as I headed for Forks Outfitters and the parade registration table. As I drive down Main Street, many of the parade watching hopefuls already have staked out their parade watching areas with vehicles and chairs.
I drive by the Wentworth family staking out their parade watching claim in front of Dana’s Barber shop at about 7:35.
As I approach Pacific Pizza, I see nobody, great I am too early, but then no, I see Pat Soderlind, she has my table and I proceed to get set up for the onslought of parade entries. The “parade anxious” start registering even before 8 a.m.
The parade entries come in at a steady pace, no problems, then the PUD entry enters the parking lot and it is on fire. Well, just part of it, people run and seem to get it under control.
Royalty, logging trucks, horses, veterans, cars, service groups and a giant shopping cart all begin to get into place as the crowd begins to grow at the parade lineup.
The Tourist of the Day and all the parade honorees begin to converge and the excitement begins to build as people want to know where to go and what to do, I tell them all to go find Rod Fleck and he will get them lined up. Chairman Mark Soderlind, on his bike, rides around the parking lot. Soon Charlene Caldwell lines up the judges.
As the parade entry number goes over the usual 60-something, I can see we are headed for some kind of really huge parade!
At 11:45 a.m. I leave my parade registration post and head for the Forkestra float. There I find my fellow musicians warming up for the parade — Deborah Dillon, Dorothy Burr, Tina Matchett, Barb Nowicki (who had sliced half her finger off the night before, still showed up to play her violin) Cindy Bork, Edna Wade, Jim Stehn, (drove all the way from Grays Harbor to play, bringing a trumpet playing friend), Mike Tetreau and Chiggers Stokes.
As parade time approaches, parade entries get restless, especially a large shopping cart full of rowdy groceries. The main instigator seems to be a very large hotdog. At one point the hotdog seems to pick a fight with the can of Coke, but then they seem to settle down.
Finally it is noon and the Grand Parade is under way, as the Forkestra leaves the parking lot, Rod Fleck makes the hand motion of “grinding sausage” which is his description of organizing the parade, “It is like making sausage, something nobody should ever see,” and we head out on to Main Street.
There is quite a head wind and it plays havoc with our sheet music, which is secured with clothes pins. Our selections for the day are “Semper Fidelis,” “Grand Old Flag,” the “Original Thirteen” and “Beer Barrel Polka.” It is soon apparent the “Beer Barrel Polka” is a hit. At about the Forks Motel my sheet music for the polka is caught up in the wind and leaves my music stand — thank you to the parade watcher who rescued it and returned it to me.
With Marty Dillion at the wheel of the Forks True Value pickup and trailer we made it through the parade and just as we get to G Street to make our way back to Outfitters’ parking lot, we see the WEBPA train making its way down the parade route — that is when the first raindrops are felt.
Another Forks Old-Fashioned Fourth of July parade is in the history books, with well over 100 entries, I can’t wait to do it all over again next year!