BRINNON — Roughly 150 people and more than 70 Brinnon and Quilcene children gathered along a street in Brinnon to see a parade and small concert in honor of Loyalty Day on Friday.
The parade, which lasted just a few minutes, was full of representatives of local businesses, law enforcement, politicians and community groups.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office led the parade in style in a vintage police car, and members of Brinnon Fire Rescue threw candy from firetrucks and other rescue vehicles.
Veterans from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 91 from Tacoma as well as the local Post 10706 from Brinnon also marched along with the children.
County Commissioner Kate Dean participated.
After the short parade, parade participants and community members gathered in front of Johnston Realty, 40 Brinnon Lane, to watch performances by community members and a group of students from Quilcene.
The students from kindergarten through third grade performed “My County ’Tis of Thee,” “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and a short skit on what patriotism means.
The Quilcene School District has been busing students south for this event for as long as Quilcene School Principal Gary Stebbins can remember.
“It’s just a tradition,” Stebbins said. “It give the kids a chance to perform and it connects the two communities.”
Loyalty Day was designated a holiday in 1958 by then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It is meant to celebrate loyalty to the United States and the heritage of American freedom.
The holiday’s official designation is May 1, but for 28 years, Brinnon has been celebrating on the last Friday of April.
“It’s good for the community and good for the kids,” said Ernie Muir, quartermaster of the Brinnon VFW post, which helps coordinate the event each year. “It’s good to bring them up patriotic.”
“This is the best parade in America,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Dave Stanko, who has participated in the parade for the past four years.
“We like to honor our veterans down here and honor the public service of the fire service.
“I think it’s great. This is real America.”
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at [email protected].