Hilary Parker | 03/10/2016 | Insider Blogs |   

I Love a Parade: Where to see the best parades in Whatcom County, WA

[caption id="attachment_37712" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Girl at Blaine Old Fashioned 4th of July parade Old Fashioned 4th of July parade, Blaine. Photo courtesy of Heidi Shires[/caption]

One of my earliest memories is attending a parade at maybe age 4 or 5. I loved the colorful floats, the deafening marching bands, the beautiful dancers in fancy costumes.

I still love parades, and now I love watching my children take in the sights and sounds.

March begins parade season in Whatcom County with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, so what better time to provide a rundown of the major parades taking place this spring and summer.

Grab your lawn chair, sunglasses, windbreaker and a camera, and get ready to hit the parade route.

Bellingham St. Patrick’s Day Parade

[caption id="attachment_37708" align="alignright" width="300"]Save the Ales float, Bellingham St. Patrick's Day Parade Photo courtesy of Bellingham St. Patrick's Day Parade.[/caption]

March 12, 2016


The Bellingham St. Patrick’s Day Parade’s goal is two-fold: honoring local public safety personnel, and celebrating and inspiring sustainability. Put those two goals together and Bellingham is a cleaner, greener, safer place to call home.

The vibe is fun and casual for this parade, which runs from the intersection of Cornwall Avenue and Ohio Street (near Bellingham High), and then heads south on Cornwall, turning left at Chestnut Street and right on Railroad Avenue. The parade terminates just past Depot Market Square, and then the fun continues on Railroad at Boundary Bay Brewery with games and entertainment for all ages.

The parade is really community centered: Everyone is invited to don their green finery and join the parade – just line up in the staging area by 11:30 a.m. for the parade’s noon start time.

An added bonus at this year’s parade: My fellow Insider Blogger Todd Elsworth of Recreation Northwest is this year’s, Grand Marshal. Read his post about the Running O' the Green, which happens that morning.

Procession of the Species

[caption id="attachment_37719" align="alignright" width="300"]Procession of the Species Photo courtesy of Karen Benkarski[/caption]

May 7, 2016

4 p.m.

Celebrating Bellingham's connection to nature, the Procession is filled with fanciful critter costumes and creatures created in the weeks before the parade at community workshops.

Starting in front of City Hall and making its way to Maritime Heritage Park, this parade has just three rules: No words written or spoken; No live animals; No motorized vehicles.

Once the Procession is through, parade participants and spectators are invited to stay and make some noise at Maritime Heritage Park. This year, the Kuugana Marimba Band will be the featured musical guest.

Ski to Sea Junior ParadeJunior Ski to Sea Parade

Friday, May 20, 2016

6 p.m.

On the eve of the Junior Ski to Sea race, the community gathers to celebrate kids with a parade of their own. Anyone is welcome to participate: school groups, Scouts, sports teams and dance troupes  – along with Junior Race teams – are all counted among the participants.

Here’s an interesting fact about theJunior Parade: It started in 1920 as part of the Grand Tulip Parade, and continued on after the Tulip Parade ceased in 1930 due to the Great Depression. In 2020, the Junior Parade will celebrate its 100th anniversary.

The parade begins at the intersection of Cornwall and Kearney, with line up beginning at 4:30 p.m. The parade heads down Cornwall, terminating at Magnolia Street.

Blossomtime Parade

[caption id="attachment_37709" align="alignright" width="225"]Blossomtime Parade, Bellingham Jenny & Bill Cherry at the Blossomtime Parade. Photo courtesy of Bill Cherry.[/caption]

Saturday, May 28, 2016 Noon

The reincarnation of the Bellingham Chamber's original Tulip Parade, the Blossomtime Parade will celebrate its 60th consecutive year heralding springtime in Whatcom County in 2017. Best known as the "Ski to Sea" parade since the race by the same name also takes place the last weekend in May, the parade recently reclaimed its original Blossomtime moniker.

No matter what you call it, this is the biggest and best-known parade in the county. Be sure to show up early to get a good seat. And speaking of seats, be sure to bring a chair or blanket to sit on as this parade runs well over an hour.

All manner of wondrous sites is likely to pass you by during this parade. Not only will you find floats, fire trucks and horses traveling down Cornwall but I've seen camels as well!

The parade begins at Cornwall Avenue from Alabama to East Champion and ends at North State and York streets.

Lynden Farmer’s Day ParadeFarmers Day Parade, Lynden

Saturday, June 4, 2016

10:30 a.m.

If you or your little one loves tractors, this is the place to be! The Farmer’s Day Parade celebrates Lynden’s farming heritage, and this year celebrates the city’s 125th birthday as well.

Marching down tree-lined Front Street past Lynden’s tidy houses, this parade feels like a slice of old-time Americana. Catch the parade headed east between 10th and 3rd streets.

The Lynden Chamber asks folks to park anywhere north of Grover Street and walk south to find your perfect viewing spot on Front Street.

Sumas Community Days Parade

Saturday, June 25 11 a.m. Gather along Cherry Street as Sumas Days kicks off with a parade. Other events include a car show in the city park during the day and a fireworks show in the evening.

Want to participate in the parade? Just show up at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Sumas Avenue and Harrison Street.

Blaine’s Old Fashioned 4th of July

[caption id="attachment_37710" align="alignright" width="300"]Elvis at the Blaine Old Fashioned 4th of July Parade Elvis wows the crowd at the Blaine Old Fashioned 4th of July Parade. Photo courtesy of Heidi Shires.[/caption]

Monday, July 4, 2016


This may be my favorite parade in the county. I love 4th of July; I love parades; what could be better?

Blaine’s Old Fashioned 4th of July celebration is a day-long festival that not only features the parade but also a car show, street fair, and fireworks over the bay.

The parade, full of fire trucks, classic cars, and patriotic pride, runs along Peace Portal Drive from F Street to Boblett Street.

Everson Main Street Parade

Saturday, July 9, 2016 11 a.m.

More small-town fun is to be had in Everson as tractors, floats, collector cars, horses, and bicycles pass by along Main Street Everson. The parade starts at 11 a.m. at the Nooksack Middle School.

Bellingham Pride Parade

Sunday, July 10, 2016


A rainbow of color and characters, the Pride Parade celebrates the LGBTQ community but certainly isn’t limited to it. Folks from all walks of life march in and attend the parade, which runs along Cornwall Avenue from Ohio Street to Depot Market Square.

Whatcom Old Settlers' Parades, Ferndale

[caption id="attachment_37706" align="alignright" width="254"]Pioneer girl, Old Settlers Parade, Fernade Photo courtesy of Karen Benkarski[/caption]

Junior Parade – Friday, July 29, 2016, 6 p.m.

Grand Parade – Saturday, July 30, 2016, 11 a.m.

Celebrating the pioneer heritage of Ferndale, the Old Settlers' weekend is filled with activities for the family. Both the Junior Parade on Friday night and the Grand Parade Saturday morning highlight the city’s pioneer pride. And be on the lookout for Ferndale High’s award-winning marching band.

The Junior Parade starts right behind Rite-Aid on Alder Street. The Grand Parade starts at Washington Street and Golden Eagle Drive, makes its way to Main Street and ends at Pioneer Park. Stick around the park for more Old Settlers’ activities including live music, food and craft vendors.

Lynden’s Lighted Christmas Parade

Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, 6 p.m.

Bundle up for this parade, which takes place the first Saturday in December along Lynden's Front Street. It’s a fun, festive way to kick off the holiday season, with lighted tractors, fire trucks, floats, music and even an appearance by Sinterklaas.

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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