There’san old-fashioned 4th in store for you

Published on Thu, Jul 1, 2004 by ivian Bleecker

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There’s an old-fashioned 4th in store for you

By Vivian Bleecker

During a weekend when the country is celebrating its independence, Blaine Chamber of Commerce organizers are standing united in a collective effort to welcome out-of-towners and north county denizens to the streets of Blaine for its annual “Old Fashioned 4th of July.” They promise that this year’s festival will have something for everyone – from music of the golden era and rock ‘n roll to community theater performances and a grand parade to food, family fun, and fireworks to end the evening.

The Independence Day celebration (which replaced Blaine’s Sky Water Festival of the ’90s) is expected to draw about 5,000 visitors again this year and that had chamber organizers meeting one last time Tuesday night at the Pizza Factory to iron out the details and make final adjustments to the programming.

Carroll Solomon, office manager of the Blaine Visitors Information Center and chamber of commerce secretary, said the committee began working in March “though we should have probably started in January (or August),” she surmised. “We’re in panic mode right now, worrying about having enough” (vendors or parade entrants or street barricades or trash bins or seating arrangements or electrical outlets or cars for dignitaries) or, well, it’s going to happen!” she said after the short-handed committee discussed the ‘to do’ list. “People wait until the last minute every year,” she grinned, “and somehow it all works out.”

The July 4th festivities get underway early Sunday morning as chamber organizers and city officials begin blocking off streets and setting up for the street fair and “Show and Shine Car Show.” The street fair (from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) will feature some 35 venders along downtown H Street from Peace Portal to Harrison, peddling everything from aromatic and tasty treats to hand-crafted jewelry, art, paintings and other crafts.

The car show will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. along H Street and will feature more than 100 vehicles from various decades. The fan-favored Dunk Tank sponsored by the Boy’s and Girl’s Club is back this year as well as pony rides, face painting, cartooning, and a three-point shooting contest for kids and adults alike.

New this year will be Blaine’s Community Theater doing a spoof of Shakespeare’s play entitled, “Hamlet, the Tomato Show.” The $2 admission comes complete with over-ripened tomatoes for the peasantry groundlings to throw at sub par actors during two “wonderfully horrible” afternoon performances at 2:30 and 4 p.m.
The stage area will serve as a sitting arena for weary families to take a breather, eat some lunch, and listen to music or catch the various performances scheduled from noon on. In addition to musical performances, a one hour show by Sardis Wildlife will feature eagles and other wild birds in the “Raptor Show” at 2 p.m.

All events stop on stage, however, for the 1 p.m. Grand Parade down Peace Portal Drive. It is the only parade in the county on July 4th and features state dignitaries, local businesses, families, charities, public safety, and other nostalgic float entries.

Despite crossing her fingers and pleading for good weather, chamber president Pam Christianson remained confident, saying “it will be a fun day” for the entire family. “This event, like the Bite of Blaine, will continue to grow every year … people just love a parade, especially a hometown parade,” she said.

The day’s grand finale and spectator highlight will be the famed firework show over the water between Blaine and Semiahmoo. The $11,000 firework display sponsored by the chamber is paid for through fundraisers and donations throughout the year, and the Old Fashioned 4th’s vendor’s fees, Christianson said. The traditional July 4th splash of lights and colors will last about 25-minutes with the first blast off slated for 10 p.m.

Putting the hard work, time commitment, interrupted sleep and stress aside, Christianson and Solomon agree the event is worth it. “It’s very gratifying to see everyone so happy and smiling and having a good time with their family,” said Christianson. “The chamber has made such strides in the last six or seven years; we’ve come so far and become such a positive aspect in this community … I don’t want to see it go away,” she said, agreeing with Solomon on their committee’s united effort, “a lot of this we do because no one else will; I love to hear people yell for me when I’m on the parade route,” Solomon said. “I just love to live in a small town.”