PORT ANGELES — Celebrants across the North Olympic Peninsula celebrated July Fourth in ways as American as apple pie, with the nation’s favorite patriotic pastry highlighting the morning’s events on Port Angeles’ City Pier.
Parades were scheduled for Port Angeles and Forks, fireworks were slated for Port Angeles, Forks and Neah Bay, and a laser show was planned for Port Townsend, ending that city’s day commemorating the nation’s Declaration of Independence.
Bakers and organizers of Port Angeles’ third annual July Fourth apple pie contest gave substance mid-day Thursday to a saying that links America to the apple-filled dessert, morphed from the declaration by World War II soldiers who said they were fighting “for mom and apple pie” (https://tinyurl.com/PDN-ApplePie).
Edna Petersen, who organized the event with Leslie Robertson and helping hands from a pie posse of about 15 volunteers, had a straightforward answer for why apple pie was the baked confection of the day.
“Because it’s the Fourth of July,” Petersen said, draped in red, white and blue flag sweater.
Winners from among the 41 entries, and their prizes, were first place, Lacey Fry, $350; second place, Constance Farr, $150; and third place, Miranda Laidig, $50.
Judges for the event, sponsored by Olympic Game Farm, were Jeff Tocher, John Brewer, Laurel Hargis, Robert Beebe, Randy Johnson and Rick Teegarden.
The Port Angeles Fire Department won a side competition against the police department.
It featured two unidentified pies baked by members of each agency and judged by former Port Angeles Fire Chief Dan McKeen, former Port Angeles Police Chief Terry Gallagher and Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols.
Nichols was dubbed the “neutral” arbiter for judging the friendly and long-held rivalry between the agencies — another deep, widely held tradition.
“Both pies were winners, but there were differences as to ratings according to the criteria we were provided,” Nichols allowed.
In applying the standards, the fire department’s entry “edged out the competition in that it held together a bit better, the flavor was a little more rounded and balanced, and at the same time, the crust on the other one didn’t hold in the same way, in my opinion,” he explained.
“That was the defining factor between the two pies, and I know that’s a mouthful.”
Crust is key, contestants Julie Maxion and Cathy Hamilton said.
Hamilton, a Port Angeles native and Sequim resident, said she and her 8-year-old daughter baked their entry — they made an extra one for the family, of course — using grandma’s crust recipe.
“It makes it extra special,” Hamilton said, standing before a table with crust designs of latticework, hovering above it the sweet smell of baked apple.
“There’s a little extra love in that one, that way,” Hamilton said.
The Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce sponsored the day’s events in Port Angeles.
The parade, with about 70 entries, was to include a U.S. Navy marching band and a Port Angeles High School alumni marching band.
“I’m excited about that,” Abshire said Thursday morning while running around, he said, like a proverbial headless chicken.
“There are more marching bands in the parade than we’re used to, so that’s pretty cool.”
One of the judging categories for the parade is music.
“We’re trying to inspire people to do musical entries,” Abshire said hopefully.
The day’s schedule at City Pier included a hot-dog eating contest, with activities at the Gateway Transit Center, The Landing mall and Pebble Beach Park. Events were topped by a Lefties home run derby that was to precede the fireworks show.
In Sequim, the Sequim City Band presented its annual “Patriotic 4th” concert at the James Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the Forks Old Fashioned 4th of July week-long celebration included a Grand Parade downtown Thursday with a fireworks display at Tillicum Park scheduled for dusk.
Fort Worden Commons was the site for Port Townsend’s Old School 4th of July celebration, which was scheduled to include Olympic Games at 7 p.m.
Events were to include a watermelon-eating contest and a tug-of-war with a $1,000 grand prize for the winning team.
Live music and face-painting were to be topped by a laser show in lieu of fireworks.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].