West Seattle, Washington
Interspersed with the many community groups and businesses in Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade – four traditional motorized parade floats:
West Seattle is the only neighborhood in the city that still has its own traveling parade float, kept going year after year by the volunteers of West Seattle Hi-Yu. Earlier this summer, they put out a call for help – without it, they can’t keep going. And without Hi-Yu traveling to other parades, this one won’t get reciprocal visits from others in the region. This time, for the first time in a while, the Port Orchard Fathoms O’Fun float came from across Puget Sound:
The Marysville Strawberry Festival float has been a yearly favorite:
And the Daffodil Festival float from Pierce County, too – a wider view is in our report on the parade winners; here’s a close-up detail:
In our first report, we showed you the two police motorcycle drill teams that start the parade every year, including the Vancouver, B.C., officers whose appearance here is a Seattle-area exclusive. When both teams finished their shows, they stopped in The Junction to applaud each other:
We got some questions yesterday about a “motorcade” on the bridge … it wasn’t a motorcade, just the teams getting to and from the parade!
P.S. A few notes – The Chinese Community Girls’ Drill Team, usually a WSGP favorite, wasn’t here this year because the Renton River Days Parade was at the same time – this year brought some conflicts because it has five Saturdays … Next Saturday (July 30th), the region’s biggest parade of the year, the Seafair Torchlight Parade, happens downtown, and some of the participants you saw yesterday will be there – besides the Seafair contingent, also West Seattle Hi-Yu and the All-City Band. The night before Torchlight brings the Band Jam warmup, hosted by All-City, back to Southwest Athletic Complex here in West Seattle – free, 6:30 pm, all welcome, full preview to come!
Behind the scenes and on the route, participants and volunteers, it takes hundreds of people to create a parade. Here are some of them, before and during today’s West Seattle Grand Parade:
That’s Clay Eals, executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, whose three-plus decades of working in and for West Seattle made him a great choice for the Orville Rummel Community Service Trophy, explained in our June report announcing his selection. The Grand Parade always has a Grand Marshal, too, and this year it was the Schmitz Family, represented by Dietrich Schmitz and his mother Vicki Schmitz Block:
The family’s legacy includes the donation of Schmitz Park and its namesake nearby elementary school as well as Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook on Beach Drive. (Here’s video of the Schmitz Family members and Eals toward the start of the parade.)
Also driving the parade route … longtime West Seattle community advocate Pete Spalding behind the wheel of the West Seattle Food Bank van:
Did you see the classic O’Neill Plumbing (WSB sponsor) truck in the parade? We caught up earlier with Tim and Todd O’Neill:
Members of another well-known local family, the Menashes, were seen waving from the Seafair Commodores‘ boat float:
And Potter Construction (WSB sponsor) was in the parade too – proprietor Gary Potter is a supporter also through his participation in the parade-presenting Rotary Club.
Another local entrepreneur was seen skateboarding – Greg Whittaker from Mountain to Sound Outfitters worked the crowd in The Junction, with his parade entry nearby:
The West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) is a parade sponsor as well as participant:
Riding with the Seafair Scholarship Program for Women candidates in convertibles, the immediate past West Seattle Hi-Yu Senior Court Queen Kelly Crum, who is vying for Miss Seafair.
This year’s winner will be announced before the Torchlight Parade downtown one week from tonight. Royalty was also in view before the parade, the “Pirates and Princesses” breakfast at Brookdale Admiral Heights, just north of the parade route, honored the longstanding tradition of hospitality for visiting parade-float participants. West Seattle Hi-Yu Senior and Junior Court members posed with Seafair Pirates, whose land-borne vessel Moby Duck was at the ready outside:
And then there are the parade’s longtime volunteer co-coordinator, including Dave Vague (below right) at the check-in table on the northwest corner of California/Lander:
And co-coordinator Jim Edwards was visible on his motorcycle riding up and down the parade route, checking on how things were going, communicating with other amateur-radio operators embedded along the way .. we also caught him making a photo stop when the motorcycle drill teams were done:
The riders’ end-of-parade ceremony is part of another report still in the works.
A small but festive contingent made their way down California from Genesee to Edmunds after the motorcycles and before the rest of the Grand Parade.
Among those looking on – Ringo the bulldog:
Here’s video of the Kiddie Parade’s start:
If you have little ones who would enjoy parading past the crowd, make plans to be part of it next year – just show up at the starting line by quarter till 11 or so.
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) July 23, 2016
(All-City Band getting ready for the parade with a performance for residents and Seafair Pirates at Brookdale Admiral Heights)
You don’t see them during the West Seattle Grand Parade – and that’s the point! Judges are all along the route, and when the parade’s over, the winners are announced. Here’s today’s list, with some photos/video and more to be added:
OVERALL PARADE WINNERS
1st – Seattle Schools All-City Marching Band
2nd – Westside Baby – Stuff the Bus
3rd – Port Orchard Fathoms O’ Fun Float
1st – Kennedy Catholic High School Marching Band
DRILL TEAMS, SENIOR, AND CHEER SQUADS
1st – Electronettes Drill Team & Drum Squad
2nd – The Lady’s of Elegance Drill Team
3rd – Seattle Lutheran Cheer Squad
DRILL TEAMS, JUNIOR
1st – Butterfly Electronettes Drill Team
2nd – The Princesses of Elegance Drill Team
3rd – Diva Upgrade Drill Team
1st – Joyas Mestizas – Seattle Mexican Folk Dance Youth
2nd – Pathfinder K-8 School Unicycle Team
3rd – Seattle Seafair Clowns
CARS AND ANTIQUE CARS
1st – West Seattle Lions Club
2nd – Soil Science Products
3rd – 1942 American LaFrance Fire Engine
1st – The Little Gym of West Seattle
2nd – Ronald McDonald
3rd – PCC Natural Markets
1st – Our Lady of Guadalupe Church & School
2nd – Seattle Lutheran High School
3rd – Southside Revolution Junior Roller Derby
1st Place – WS Hi-Yu Royalty Trophy – Daffodil Festival
2nd Place – WS Rotary President’s Trophy – Marysville Strawberry Festival
3rd Place – WS Rotary Foundation Trophy – Fathom’s O’ Fun, Port Orchard
1st Place – Holy Rosary School
2nd Place – Hope Lutheran Church & School
Lots more parade highlights to come! (We usually aren’t done until early Sunday, so please check back.)
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) July 23, 2016
10:49 AM: This year’s West Seattle Grand Parade is officially under way. The Seattle Police Motorcycle Drill Team has just headed down the parade route southbound from California SW south of SW Lander, and will be followed by the Vancouver, B.C., Motorcycle Drill Team (which doesn’t appear in ANY other parades in this area).
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) July 23, 2016
More than 70 entries will follow. Lots of photos and video later – in the meantime, if you’re not watching, remember that California SW is closed between Admiral and Edmunds until the parade is over and everyone’s packed up, and there are restrictions on some side streets too.
12:30 PM: The parade is over at the north end, still heading south to The Junction.
1:20 PM: The parade has ended in The Junction, too. Our photos/video will be in separate reports later.
(WSB file photos)
Another quick peek at what and who you will see in Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade! Two junior roller-derby teams are set to roll down the route – Southside Revolution and Seattle Derby Brats. So are the unicyclists from Pathfinder K-8.
Seattle Fire Engine 29 from The Admiral District is on the lineup, as is a 1942 American LaFrance Fire Truck. And WestSide Baby‘s new #StuffTheBus bus too. Hundreds of people walking, riding, rolling. Many are your neighbors – so clap, cheer, hoot, holler. Here’s what you need to know, whether or not you’re going:
*Road closures and no-parking zones start kicking in on California between Admiral and Edmunds and on some side streets at 7 am, lasting as late as 3 pm
*The morning spectacles begin with the Float Dodger 5K, leaving Hiawatha Playfield at 9:30 am – online registration is closed but you can sign up during packet pickup 3-7 pm today (Friday) at West Seattle Runner (2749 California SW; WSB sponsor) and be part of this costumes-encouraged run!
*10:30 is when the motorcycle drill teams – Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. – will start leaving from the starting line, so if you’re watching from Admiral, don’t be late
*11 am, otherwise, is the official parade start time from California/Lander
*After the runners and motorcycles are clear, the Kiddie Parade walks and rolls down an abbreviated route from California/Genesee to California/Edmunds starting at (update) ELEVEN AM – kids are welcome to participate, just show up before then!
*Bring a trash bag so if you’re hanging out on the curb and there’s no trash can conveniently nearby, you can pack it in/pack it out (or take your empty containers home to recycle, for example)
Have a great time! More later today (Friday), and then our Saturday coverage starts early …
We noticed this evening that the no-parking signs have arrived for Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade – both the parade route itself, down California SW from Lander (in The Admiral District) to Edmunds (in The Junction), and side streets. Take note of the signs so you aren’t caught by surprise on Saturday – all the ones we saw today are marked 7 am to 3 pm, and tow trucks DO get called out on parade morning for vehicles whose drivers ignore the signs.
As we’ve been mentioning, the parade has more than 70 floats, bands, groups, performers, and characters signed up. The official start time is 11 am, but the motorcycle drill teams – Seattle PD, and Vancouver, B.C., Police, who come to West Seattle as a Puget Sound exclusive – take off as early as 10:30 am.
New participants this year include Pacific Science Center and the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, whose executive director Clay Eals is this year’s Orville Rummel Community Service Trophy winner – honored at last night’s Concert in the Park – and will ride toward the start of the parade, as will the Grand Marshals, the Schmitz Family.
Find your spot along the route – or, participate in the fundraising, costumes-encouraged Float Dodger 5K (9:30 am – sign up here!) or Kiddie Parade before the WSGP (show up at California/Genesee, where the Kiddie Parade starts at 11). The parade is presented by the West Seattle Rotary‘s Community Foundation.
THURSDAY P.S. Jon asked in comments about the bus reroutes. They are now on the Metro site and will be in our remaining previews as well as parade-day coverage.
That’s part of the parade info we confirmed while sitting in on the annual lineup meeting last night with Jim Edwards, Dave Vague, and Doreen Vague. Every year, the week before the parade, they meet to review printed information about the entries and to arrange them in an order that makes sense for maximum enjoyment. You wouldn’t want to put two marching bands back-to-back, for example. Speaking of which – you’ll see the excellent All-City Marching Band, led by longtime director and newly appointed Denny International Middle School assistant principal Marcus Pimpleton, as well as Kennedy Catholic High School‘s band and the PNW Drumline:
This year’s parade has 70+ entries – fewer than last year largely because of a calendar quirk – July has five Saturdays this year; this parade is usually the third Saturday, not the fourth. But you’ll have many returnees to cheer for, including Joyas Mestizas:
The parade’s official starting time is 11 am from the north end of the route at California/Lander – but the motorcycle drill teams start before then (as early as 10:30 am). You can pick a spot anywhere along California; the route ends at Edmunds on the south edge of The Junction; keep in mind there’s still a lot of construction, especially south of Admiral, so you might want to scope out your ideal spot ahead of time. The Grand Parade is presented by the West Seattle Rotary Club Service Foundation, and it’s an official Seafair-sanctioned event, so you’ll see Seafair parade marshals helping local volunteers, as well as Seafair parade favorites including the Pirates and Clowns.
Also remember two special events before the parade – you might even want to participate in one if that’s not already part of your plan: The Float Dodger 5K takes off from Hiawatha Playfield, near the start of the parade route, at 9:30 am – register now, or go to West Seattle Runner (5K presenter and WSB sponsor) to sign up in person before Saturday – details are in our most-recent preview. Then at 10 am, West Seattle kids are invited to walk, ride, or roll in the Kiddie Parade, which goes south on California from Genesee to Edmunds. Our countdown continues tomorrow!
(WSB photo: Girl Scout Troop 45180 in last year’s Grand Parade)
Just making sure that you know we are now one week away from the West Seattle Grand Parade – 11 am Saturday, July 23rd, it starts in The Admiral District, at California/Lander, and heads south on California to The Junction, where it ends at Edmunds about two hours later. In the week ahead, as is a WSB tradition, we’ll bring you a closer look at who and what you’ll see.
It’s not just a day for sitting and watching – before the big parade arrives, kids have the chance to participate in the Kiddie Parade, which travels a shorter route in the heart of The Junction:
The Kiddie Parade goes from California/Genesee to California/Edmunds starting around 10 am Saturday, with the Junior All-City Band scheduled to participate as well as the West Seattle Hi-Yu Junior Court. And all this follows the Float Dodger 5K run:
(Float Dodger 5K: WSB file photo)
West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor) presents the Float Dodger 5K at 9:30 am on parade morning – this year, it will start and finish on the track at Hiawatha Playfield, which is right next to the start of the parade route at California/Lander. It’s a benefit for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society and West Seattle Food Bank – costumes encouraged! – and you can register online right now. (Or register tomorrow or any time this week in person at West Seattle Runner, 2743 California SW.)
With this year’s West Seattle Grand Parade less than three weeks away – July 23rd – the Grand Marshals have just been announced – the Schmitz Family:
The West Seattle Grand Parade organization has selected the Schmitz Family as the 2016 Grand Marshals of the parade for their generations of public service and generosity to the West Seattle community.
Dietrich and Vicki Schmitz (WSB photo above) will represent the extended family in the parade, which steps off on July 23rd at 11:00 am on California Ave SW from Lander to Edmunds. Dietrich is a great-grandson of Ferdinand and Emma Schmitz and the son of Alan (deceased) and Vicki Schmitz.
German immigrants Ferdinand Schmitz and Emma Althof married in Seattle just after the Great Fire of 1889. They spent their honeymoon sleeping in a tent, like other Seattleites made homeless by the fire. Ferdinand became a successful businessman. He acquired choice shore and timber properties in West Seattle, which contributed to a large, multi-acre family homestead. He served on the City Council and on the Park Commission Board.
From their homestead, Ferdinand and Emma donated most of the acreage for Schmitz Preserve Park, which lies east of Alki Point. The park contains one of the last stands of old-growth forest in the city and will remain in its natural state forever.
After Ferdinand’s death, Emma donated 17 acres at 4503 Beach Drive SW for the Emma Schmitz Overlook, offering stunning views of the Olympic Mountains.
The four Schmitz children continued their parents’ legacy of public service and generosity to the West Seattle community. After Emma’s death, together the children donated 7 acres adjacent to Schmitz Preserve Park upon which Schmitz Park Elementary School was built.
Individually the children continued their parents’ legacy as well.
Dr. Henry Schmitz was dean of Minnesota’s School of Agriculture, Forestry, Home Economics, and Veterinary Medicine and became the 24th President of the University of Washington. The university’s administration building, Schmitz Hall, was named in his honor. Ferdinand Schmitz Jr. was an executive of PACCAR, President of Smith Berger Industries and a longtime supporter of Lighthouse for the Blind. Emma Schmitz Hartman was a board member of United Way and the Salvation Army and National President of the Camp Fire Girls. Dietrich G. Schmitz, a lifelong West Seattle resident, was president of Washington Mutual Savings Bank for 33 years and sat on the boards of the Boeing Company for 30 years and the Seattle School Board for 33 years, the longest tenure in school-board history. Alan Schmitz, Dietrich’s son, also a lifelong resident of West Seattle, was an Eagle Scout, Scoutmaster, banker, small businessman, 30-year Rotarian, and, later in life, a fitness instructor for senior citizens.
For generations, the Schmitz Family has acted in large and small ways to make the West Seattle community a better place in which to live, an example of public service to which we may all aspire.
You can cheer for the Grand Marshals, and Orville Rummel Trophy recipient Clay Eals, from any spot you choose along the parade route on July 23rd. More previews as parade day gets closer!
(WSB photo, 2015, Clay Eals @ announcement of new owner for Alki Homestead)
Congratulations to Clay Eals – author, historian, heritage advocate, and journalist – who has just been announced as this year’s recipient of the Orville Rummel Trophy for Outstanding Service to the Community. It’s awarded each year in connection with the West Seattle Grand Parade, presented by the Rotary Club of West Seattle, this year on Saturday, July 23. The official announcement continues:
Eals is perhaps best known locally as editor of the “West Side Story” history book and for his leadership of the successful drive to secure city landmark status for the Admiral Theater and, more recently, as executive director of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.
He is a lifetime member of and volunteered in many roles for the historical society since its founding in 1984. In 2013, the organization’s board hired him as its first executive director. Besides staff oversight of the historical society, he is directly responsible for its volunteer recruitment, fundraising and outreach.
(2014 photo by David Hutchinson)
During his tenure as executive director, the organization has restored, raised, and unveiled the Admiral totem pole at its 1904 “Birthplace of Seattle” Log House Museum on Alki, culminating in a 2014 ceremony drawing 1,300 people, including 950 schoolchildren. The historical society also facilitated the transition of ownership and in-progress restoration of the beloved 1904 Fir Lodge/Alki Homestead and staged “Group Hug” photo events for the Homestead (1,000 schoolchildren in 2015) and the Admiral Theater (750 schoolchildren earlier this month):
(Photo by Jean Sherrard, courtesy Southwest Seattle Historical Society; click here to see full-size version on SWSHS website)
In that span, the organization broadened its ranks of donors, sponsors, members and volunteers, strengthened the collection and exhibit operations of its museum, built its annual Champagne Gala Brunch to capacity crowds at Salty’s on Alki, revived and revamped its annual “If These Walls Could Talk” home tours, and created two ongoing monthly series: “Words, Writers, & West Seattle” featuring local authors at Barnes & Noble Westwood Village and “SouthWest Stories” featuring local history speakers rotating among the Seattle Public Library’s five branches on the peninsula.
Along the way, the organization won honors from the Association of King County Historical Organizations for Best Single Impact Event (for the 2014 totem unveiling) and from the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce as Nonprofit of the Year for 2015.
(WSB photo, 2015, Westside Award for SWSHS as Nonprofit of the Year)
Eals’ earlier achievements came during and immediately after his 15 years as an editor, reporter and photographer for four Northwest newspapers.
During his five years as editor of the West Seattle Herald and White Center News (part of Robinson Newspapers), the papers produced “Bridging the Gap,” a 104-page special section in 1984 that chronicled local transportation history and the opening of the high-level West Seattle Bridge, and followed that by publishing in 1987 the first local history book, “West Side Story,” which took its inspiration from “Mr. West Seattle” Normie Beers. A yearlong project that involved the papers’ entire staff and scores of volunteers, the 288-page “West Side Story” remains the definitive account of local community heritage.
Soon after his departure from Robinson Newspapers in 1988, Eals was elected president of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society board to succeed founder and first president Elliott Couden. In his first month of three years in that position, faced with the imminent closure of the Admiral Theater, Eals involved others, including local elected officials, in staging a closing-night picket event that led to an intensive community campaign that six months later secured city landmark status for the moviehouse, whose lobby operated as the Portola Theater starting in 1919 and which was expanded and opened as the 1,000-seat showcase Admiral Theater in 1942.
Because of its landmark status, the Admiral was saved from potential demolition. It reopened in 1992 under the new ownership of the Gartin family, which owns it to this day. It will undergo a massive renovation this summer, including conversion to four screens and the exposure of long-covered underwater auditorium murals, while preserving the building’s historic features.
Over the years, on behalf of the historical society, Eals also served on Earl Cruzen’s “Murals of Seattle” team in 1989-1993, led several yearly “Homes with History” tours in the 1990s, participated in the 1994 campaign to secure Alki voter approval of the historical society’s purchase of the building that became its museum, emceed dozens of society events and worked to deepen the organization’s partnership with South Seattle College. After a fire damaged the inside of the city-landmark Fir Lodge/Alki Homestead, he represented the society in a coalition of four heritage organizations behind a “This Place Matters” effort to ensure preservation and restoration of the log building one-half block from the museum.
The society’s most recent campaign, to seek city landmark status for the Campbell and Hamm buildings in the West Seattle Junction, stems from the yearlong West Seattle Junction Historical Survey, for which Eals participated on the steering committee.
In his professional life in addition to his journalistic positions, Eals worked 13 years as an editor and writer for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, five years as communication officer for the Encompass children’s services nonprofit in North Bend, and two years as a journalism teacher and adviser at South Seattle College.
As an author, he wrote and secured publication of two books, both biographies, on child film actress Karolyn Grimes (Zuzu in “It’s a Wonderful Life”) in 1996 and singer/songwriter Steve Goodman (“City of New Orleans”) in 2007. He also wrote for and designed a third book, “Rain Check: Baseball in the Pacific Northwest,” in 2005.
Eals, who turns 65 in July, was born in Seattle, grew up on Mercer Island, and secured a journalism degree from the University of Oregon in Eugene. “My mother was born and raised in West Seattle, across the street from the wading pool at Hiawatha Park, and when I was a child we often visited my grandparents,” Eals says, “so I developed my love for West Seattle at an early age.” He and his wife, Meg, moved to West Seattle in 1982. They live in the North Admiral neighborhood. They have a daughter and granddaughter who live in Philadelphia.
“Looking back, I think that in my professional and personal roles I have evolved into a pied piper,” he says. “This reflects my belief that no matter what we think about how or why we are all here on this earth, we are not meant to be hermits. We are meant to connect with other people, to engage and inspire them – and to appreciate the gifts of those who came before us. We stand on the shoulders of giants. And no matter what we pursue and how we spend our time, it’s not about the physical things, but rather it’s about bringing people together, in real time, for common purpose.
“One of my favorite words is the verb ‘champion,’ and my favorite phrases include ‘a sum greater than its parts’ and ‘making something out of nothing.’ What all of that means is that we accomplish anything in this life only when we build relationships with others. And over the years, I have been fortunate to collaborate with a great number of extraordinary people. When you come down to it, it’s all about gratitude.”
ABOUT THE ORVILLE RUMMEL TROPHY: It’s named after the man who founded the parade in 1934, Orville Rummel – lots of background in the story we published the year we were honored with it, in 2010. The award was first presented in 1984. Here’s the full list of recipients from 1984 through 2015:
1984: Charles and Ann Gage
1985: RB Chris Crisler Jr.
1986: Morgan and Carol McBride
1987: Margaret Miaullis
1988: Charles Jung
1989: Aurlo Bonney
1990: Katie Thorburn
1991: Dorothy Poplawski
1992: Dan Wiseman
1993: Virgil Sheppard
1994: Dorene Smith
1995: Doris Richards
1996: John Kelly
1997: Dick Kennedy
1998: Jim Edwards and Barbara Edwards
1999: Lt. David E. Cass
2000: Husky Deli/Miller Family
2001: Stephanie Haskins
2002: Forest Lawn
2003: Sue Lindblom
2004: Edgar and Ann Phipps
2005: Karen Sisson
2006: Walt DeLong
2007: David and Doreen Vague
2008: Tim St. Clair
2009: Morey Skaret
2010: West Seattle Blog
2011: Cindi Barker
2012: Shirley Vradenburgh
2013: Judy Pickens
2014: Earl Cruzen
2015: Donn Weaver
2016: Clay Eals
The summer’s biggest weekend is just a memory – but before we totally move on, one last West Seattle Grand Parade photo gallery, the biggest of all – more of the people, your neighbors, who paraded down California SW at midday Saturday!
Cora boogied her way down the route for the West Seattle Amateur Radio Club again this year – but did you know, the tower replica behind her was flashing Morse Code all the while? A little hard to see in the sunshine, but a WSARC rep we talked to before the parade thought you should know.
This year’s Orville Rummel Trophy for Outstanding Community Service recipient, former West Seattle Big Band director Donn Weaver (backstory here), got a visit from his WSBB successor, parade co-coordinator Jim Edwards, in The Junction:
Weaver also is a former longtime music teacher at West Seattle High School, which had an entry in this year’s parade, the cheer squad:
Seattle Lutheran High School sent its cheer squad to the parade too:
**30+ MORE PHOTOS AHEAD!**
Continuing our photo coverage of Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade:
The Seafair participants in the parade always include the Scholarship Program for Women contenders, and this year they include Lorelei McFadden (above), last year’s West Seattle Hi-Yu Senior Court Queen. She’s in the running to become the 66th Miss Seafair; the winner will be announced Tuesday night. This year’s Hi-Yu royalty, of course, rode in the parade on their “Around the Sound” float:
Before the parade, local and visiting royalty enjoyed breakfast at Brookdale Admiral Heights, which was invaded for the occasion by the Seafair Pirates, who snagged a photo-op outside with the reigning Miss Seattle, Taryn Smith, a 2015 graduate of West Seattle High School:
And away from the buffet table at breakfast, we found out what a pirate really does before getting down to a day of plundering, pillaging, and parading:
(Thanks to Anne Weglin at Brookdale for the pirates-and-princesses tip.) More parade photos to come – here’s what we’ve published so far:
Long before the Rotary Club of West Seattle took over presentation of the WS Grand Parade, it started shepherding the annual Kiddie Parade, a chance for local kids to head down a few blocks of the parade route and show off for the crowd along California between Genesee and Edmunds. The tradition continued today, with dozens braving the hotter-than-usual temps this year:
We think we saw a superhero:
And of course, heroic grownup assistance is vital to successful parade participation:
As is music!
More parade reports to come – here’s what we’ve published previously:
(UPDATED SUNDAY MORNING: Float winners added)
(WSB photos by Tracy Record and Patrick Sand)
During the West Seattle Grand Parade, a lot happens behind the scenes. While parade staffers get the entries out of the gate at the north end of the route, pacing them depending on a variety of factors, there’s more going on along the route – volunteer ham-radio operators are communicating what’s going on at various points along the route, and at secret points along the way, judges are reviewing the entries as they pass. That leads to a list of awards we publish post-parade each year – here it is:
2015 West Seattle Grand Parade
Produced by the West Seattle Rotary Foundation
OVERALL PARADE WINNERS
1st Seattle School All-City Marching Band
2nd Luna Park Cafe
3rd WestSide Baby – Stuff the Bus
1st Kennedy Catholic High School Marching Band
2nd Pacific Northwest Drumline
CARS & ANTIQUE CARS
1st Friend to Friend America
2nd West Seattle Lions Club
3rd 1942 American LaFrance Fire Engine
1st Hotwire Coffee (both photos above)
2nd Mountain to Sound Outfitters (above)
3rd Spring Free Trampoline (above)
1st Our Lady of Guadalupe
2nd Delridge Grocery Co-op
3rd Calvary Chapel
DRILL TEAMS, SENIOR
1st The Lady’s of Elegance Drill Team (see video here)
2nd Electronetts Drill Team & Drum Squad
3rd Seattle Chinese Community Girls Drill Team
DRILL TEAMS, JUNIOR
1st The Princesses of Elegance Drill Team (see video here)
2nd Washington Diamonds Drill Team
3rd Butterfly Electronetts Drill Team
1st Joyas Mestizas – Seattle Mexican Folk Dance Youth
2nd Seafair Clowns
3rd Seafair Pirates
(added Sunday) FLOATS
1st Place – WS Rotary Foundation Trophy – Marysville Strawberry Festival
1st Place – Hope Lutheran Church and School
2nd Place – Holy Rosary School and Sun Dancers
Still adding LOTS MORE photos (and some video to come) of the winning entries. And we have other parade stories in the works – the Kiddie Parade too!
And it's on! pic.twitter.com/O2RZeXobbJ
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) July 18, 2015
10:47 AM: The West Seattle Grand Parade has begun, with the motorcycle drill teams – Seattle Police and Vancouver (B.C.) Police – on their way from California/Lander. At the Junction end of the route, you’ll see the Kiddie Parade first (leaving California/Genesee at 11 am). California between Admiral and Edmunds is closed until the parade’s over in early afternoon. We’ll have lots of video and photos afterward! (Also some along the way on Twitter at @westseattleblog.)
12:29 PM: At the start of the parade route, in The Admiral District, it’s just wrapped up, after an hour and a half. We have a crew at the Junction end of the route too, so we’ll update you when it ends there. Meantime – as paradegoers walk past us, we’re hearing their reviews. Including, “That was a nice little parade.” And: “I wanna be in the parade next year!” Here are a couple clips we uploaded along the route – the Seafair Pirates:
And the first drill team on the route, the Lady’s Of Elegance and Princesses of Elegance:
This year’s Grand Marshal, King County Executive (and lifelong West Seattleite) Dow Constantine, tweeted this photo as he showed daughter Sabrina how to do the “parade wave”:
Now the road’s fully open here on the north end of the route. But be careful till it’s all over. Now on with the rest of a big day – more parade coverage (photos and video) to come later.
1:14 PM: Our crew in The Junction says the parade is now all over.
Just hours until the West Seattle Grand Parade, and that means it’s time for last-minute prep! One of the entries you’ll see features representatives of local community councils – among them, Morgan Community Association, whose leaders have been working on the hats they’ll wear – here’s one modeled by president Deb Barker:
Since the group is MoCA for short, therefore coffee cups – get it? Meantime, local businesses will roll down the parade route too, including Potter Construction (WSB sponsor):
Potter shared the photo of Fran and Karl Coy decorating the truck for tomorrow. (Any other parade-eve photos to share? E-mail us! email@example.com)
In all, more than 90 entries are set to walk, march, roll, and motor on down California. We have late word that kid-entertainment favorite Bubbleman will be among them – along with unicyclists, trampoline jumpers, cannon-firing pirates, marching bands, drill teams, all sorts of fun. New to West Seattle? Don’t miss it! Not new to West Seattle? Don’t miss it! A few reminders from our previous publication of the parade-daybasics:
WHEN: 11 am start from California and Lander, headed to California and Edmunds, about a mile and a half. (Bus reroutes, parking restrictions, and road closures are staggered.)
BUT FIRST: The Seattle Police and Vancouver (BC) Police Motorcycle Drill Teams are first. So if you’re going to watch from the north end of the route, be in place 10:30 or so.
GET OUT ON THE ROUTE, #1: Run the parade route before the parade by participating in the Float Dodger 5K, 9:30 am start from in front of West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor), 2743 California SW. If you’re not registered yet, you can sign up before the run.
GET OUT ON THE ROUTE, #2: Be in the Kiddie Parade! It leaves California/Genesee at 11 am, headed down the south end of the parade route.
REMEMBER THE ROUTE CLOSES: As early as 6 am in some spots – take a close look at your nearest NO PARKING sign – parking restrictions kick in on the bus-rerouting streets, as well as the route itself.
WHO’S WHO: Marty Riemer announces the parade in The Junction; County Executive Dow Constantine is Grand Marshal. Former West Seattle Big Band director Donn Weaver is the Orville Rummel Trophy for Outstanding Service to the Community recipient. Judges are in various secret spots along the route, and award winners will be announced afterward. See you there!
(WSB photo: All-City Band in the 2014 West Seattle Grand Parade)
As we reported after the parade lineup meeting earlier this week, looks like 90+ entries will march and roll their way down California SW this Saturday morning in the West Seattle Grand Parade. The basics:
WHEN: 11 am start from California and Lander, headed to California and Edmunds, about a mile and a half.
CAVEAT: The Seattle Police and Vancouver (BC) Police Motorcycle Drill Teams go first. So if you’re going to watch from the north end of the route, don’t be later than 10:30 or so.
GET OUT ON THE ROUTE, #1: Run the parade route before the parade by participating in the Float Dodger 5K, 9:30 am start from in front of West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor), 2743 California SW. (Online registration just closed, but you can stop by WS Runner tomorrow 3-7 pm or sign up pre-race on Saturday.)
GET OUT ON THE ROUTE, #2: Be in the Kiddie Parade!
(WSB photo: 2014 Kiddie Parade participant)
It leaves California/Genesee at 11 am, headed down the south end of the parade route.
REMEMBER THE ROUTE CLOSES: As early as 6 am in some spots – take a close look at your nearest NO PARKING sign – parking restrictions kick in on the bus-rerouting streets, as well as the route itself.
WHAT’S NEW: New entries include a trampoline company whose owner plans to jump (dressed as a pirate!) as the trampoline travels down the route; giant “Cakewalk” puppets from Fremont; Pacific Northwest Drumline is back “after a 2-year hiatus”; and more …
WHO’S WHO: Marty Riemer announces the parade from the heart of The Junction; County Executive Dow Constantine is Grand Marshal. Former West Seattle Big Band director Donn Weaver is the Orville Rummel Trophy for Outstanding Service to the Community recipient.
BIZFLOATS: Local businesses are fun to cheer for, and those you’ll see will include our flagship sponsor Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (with four-wheelers, two-wheelers, and, we’re told, bubbles), Luna Park Café, Spud, Little Gym, PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor), West Coast Entertainment (on Segways) …
*Drill teams (including the famous Chinese Community Girls’ Drill Team)
*Even a Metro bus
Pick your spot anywhere along the route (but remember there’s a lot of construction on California south of Admiral, so some traditional spots are construction zones now, especially on both sides of the 3800 block). If you are a fan of peeking behind-the-scenes on big events, be at the start of the parade and watch organizers coordinate getting everybody out onto the route; if you come down early enough, you can watch the arrivals, see visiting floats and performers get themselves organized. Whatever you choose to do, be part of a long-running tradition (and bring water – forecast calls for the return of warm weather).
On the east lawn at Hiawatha Community Center last night, they sat on the lawn and soaked up the sound of the West Seattle Big Band during this year’s Hi-Yu Concert in the Park – here’s a two-song section of the show:
Midway through, it was time for a special presentation – the band’s former longtime director Donn Weaver was honored with the Orville Rummel Trophy for Outstanding Community Service in advance of this Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade:
Find out more about Weaver and the Orville Rummel Trophy in our Tuesday story.
He was presented with the trophy in view of neighboring West Seattle High School, where he taught music for decades, with students including his successor as WS Big Band director, Jim Edwards:
Edwards is also a co-coordinator of the parade, in which Weaver will ride toward the start with the trophy; the parade is this Saturday (July 18th), leaving California/Lander in The Admiral District around 11 am, headed southbound to California/Edmunds in The Junction. Meantime, after the presentation, the band played on:
And on the sidelines, a couple danced:
The Big Band’s main mission is to raise money for school music programs. You can track the band’s public gigs via its online calendar – next up, the Ballard Locks this Sunday (July 19th) at 2 pm.
(At right in our video, Donn Weaver directing the WS Big Band at 2013’s Concert in the Park)
By Randall Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
“A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things.” – President Obama
When Donn Weaver, the 2015 recipient of the Orville Rummel Trophy for Outstanding Service to the Community, received as a seventh grader the gift of a trumpet from his older brother, he certainly could never have imagined he would someday be honored for sharing his love of music with the West Seattle community.
Yet, honored shall he be, at tonight’s Hi-Yu Concert in the Park featuring the West Seattle Big Band, an organization for which Weaver served as director from its inception in 1996 until stepping down this past winter, and then he’ll carry the trophy in this Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade, whose committee chooses the honoree.
The band initially was formed as a collection of a “baker’s dozen” of band alumni brought together to play at a West Seattle High School reunion.
“They asked for a band to play, so we contacted as many former members as we could. We had a rehearsal and played the reunion,” recalls Weaver. “At the end of the reunion, they got together in a huddle in the lunchroom and they told me they decided they wanted to have the band keep going. So I thought, “Well, we’ll just make it into a swing band,” and it’s been going ever since.”
The all-volunteer band quickly grew into the 18-piece unit that has been entertaining crowds throughout West Seattle ever since, while also raising thousands of dollars for the music programs of local public schools.
Born in Onalaska in southwest Washington, Weaver first arrived in Seattle to attend the University of Washington. where he earned his BA in music education in 1954. His career eventually brought him to West Seattle High School, where he taught from 1966 until 1978.
When Weaver first started at WSHS, there were just eleven students in the band. By the time Weaver moved on to new challenges, taking him to Franklin, Rainier Beach, and Ingraham high schools, the program was flourishing with more than 80 members.
“It was phenomenal how it blossomed,” says Weaver, downplaying his own role in helping build the school’s program. “High-school kids love a challenge.”
One person who does not underestimate Weaver’s contributions to not only the WSHS program, but also to the community at large, is former student Jim Edwards, who worked closely with Weaver in the West Seattle Big Band before succeeding his mentor as its director (he’s also a Rummel Trophy recipient, with wife Barbara Edwards, in 1998).
“Donn’s years at West Seattle High School, while a paid position, are not representative of your normal band director,” says Edwards. “He had a record of building strong programs wherever he taught. In 1978, his last year at West Seattle, his combined instrumental performing groups had a total of 72 performances out of a 180-day school year.”
It was Edwards, a member of the West Seattle Parade Committee and longtime co-coordinator of the parade, who nominated Weaver for the Orville Rummel Trophy before recusing himself from the decision-making process due to the long-term personal ties between the two men that has spanned several decades.
“When I first knew Jim, he was in elementary school and in the summer music program,” says Weaver. “I used to get a kick out of him because the trombone he played was bigger than he was!”
While there may be no more-fitting testimony to Weaver’s legacy than to have a former student nominate him for a prestigious community award while also continuing his work with the Big Band, Weaver always defers to the power of the music to move young and old alike, as seen repeatedly at his many performances.
“Music is worthwhile,” says Weaver. “If someone asked me to prove it was worthwhile, I wouldn’t know what to tell them, but I have seen it.”
You can applaud Donn Weaver for his decades of community service at tonight’s Concert in the Park – again, 7 pm, east lawn of Hiawatha (2700 California SW, but the concert’s on the Walnut side), free! – and when he rides in the West Seattle Grand Parade on Saturday, starting 11 am from California/Lander and proceeding southbound along California to the south end of The Junction at Edmunds.
ABOUT THE ORVILLE RUMMEL TROPHY: It’s named after the man who founded the parade in 1934, Orville Rummel – lots of background in the story we published the year we were honored with it, in 2010. The award was first presented in 1984. Click ahead for the full list of recipients from 1984 through 2015:
West Seattle Grand Parade co-coordinator Dave Vague joked that it must be like watching sausage being made, or paint drying, to sit in on the annual lineup meeting at which parade entry forms go from paper to pixels to a plan. Nonetheless, they let us sit in on it anyway (best place to get parade-preview info) – and tonight at Pershing Hall in The Triangle, (from left in the photo above) he, Doreen Vague, Michelle Edwards, and Jim Edwards crafted the tentative running order for this Saturday’s parade.
More than 90 entries right now, including ones in which you’ll see people, as they roll down the route:
…and of course dancing, marching, riding on floats, etc. Did we mention cannon-blasting, too? Yes, classic parade stars including the Seafair Pirates are back – along with other Seafair faves (Clowns, Commodores, Scholarship Program candidates including last year’s West Seattle Hi-Yu Queen Lorelei McFadden). And this year’s Hi-Yu royalty will be on their “Around the Sound” float.
The parade, presented by the West Seattle Rotary Service Foundation, starts at 11 am Saturday at California/Lander and continues to California/Edmunds in The Junction. But don’t just show up at the last minute – for one, the Vancouver (BC) and Seattle Police motorcycle units tend to start sooner; for two, before all that, you can cheer on the Float Dodger 5K runners (or even better, be one of them – then take your place to parade-watch – you can register here), who leave California/Charlestown at 9:30 am. More parade-day info as the week rolls on toward Saturday, and our morning traffic reports will include reminders about street/parking/bus changes too.
We’re counting down all week to this year’s West Seattle Grand Parade – 11 am Saturday (July 18th), rolling southbound on California SW from SW Lander to SW Edmunds – and this afternoon, parade organizers have just announced this year’s Grand Marshal: West Seattle born-and-raised King County Executive Dow Constantine.
(Constantine in another parade of sorts – with Schmitz Park students headed to Log House Museum totem-pole dedication June 2014)
He’s a graduate of West Seattle High School – the campus is steps from where he’ll ride onto the parade route Saturday as Grand Marshal – and is midway through his second term as King County Executive, which was preceded by service on the King County Council and in the State Senate and House, to which he was first elected in 1996. He and wife Shirley Carlson are raising their 1-year-old daughter Sabrina in the same neighborhood where he grew up. (added) His reaction to the Grand Parade Grand Marshal news: “The West Seattle Parade has been a highlight of our family’s summers my whole life. I’ve walked the parade as a Scout, marched in the school band, and appeared as both a candidate and as an elected official. This is the community that raised me, so being asked to serve as Grand Marshal of the parade means a lot to me personally.”
As for the parade itself, a little more background from the just-in announcement:
At this time the parade is scheduled to have more than 80 entries, including parade floats, marching bands, and the only appearance of the Vancouver Police Motorcycle Drill Team, as well as the Seattle Police Motorcycle Drill Team.
The West Seattle Parade Committee is a community service committee of the West Seattle Rotary Club Service Foundation.
We’ll be counting down to the parade all week with more information – and remember that it’s preceded by the 11 am Kiddie Parade – just be at California/Genesee and ready to roll southbound! In addition to Grand Marshal Constantine, another parade VIP has been selected, as previously mentioned here – longtime West Seattle Big Band leader and former WSHS music teacher Donn Weaver, who’ll receive the Orville Rummel Trophy for Outstanding Community Service at tomorrow night’s 7 pm Concert in the Park with the WSBB on the east lawn at Hiawatha. More pre-parade info to come!