From Admiral: Grand Parade debut; Summer Concerts at Hiawatha start this Thursday

July 23, 2012 at 11:57 am | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news, WS culture/arts | Comments Off

Two Admiral notes this morning – first, both the Admiral District Business Association made its debut in Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade, in which the Admiral Neighborhood Association marched too:

(Photo by Nick Adams for WSB)

(Photo by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)
(All of our West Seattle Grand Parade coverage can be seen here.) Second, the ANA-presented Summer Concerts at Hiawatha start in just three days! Thursday night, come hear The Local Strangers, live on the east lawn at Hiawatha Community Center (2700 California SW, but this is on the Walnut side of the site), free – bring your own blanket(s)/chair(s); show starts at 6:30. After this week, there are five more Thursday night shows – the schedule’s here (note that August 16th’s concert is at Alki Beach – it’s a SC@H tradition to have one there each year, since city cutbacks at Alki Community Center meant they can no longer present a summertime outdoor concert)

West Seattle Grand Parade, report #4: Rotary Kiddie Parade

July 22, 2012 at 12:20 am | In Rotary Club of West Seattle, West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

(Photos by Nick Adams for WSB)
Yet another facet of the interwoven events of Saturday, in connection with the West Seattle Grand Parade, was the Rotary Club of West Seattle-presented Kiddie Parade. Once again on Saturday, the proud participants marched down California from SW Genesee to Edmunds. Or rolled:

First, as usual, they mill about, which is almost as much of a spectacle:

Costumes usually abound:

Always lots of kids in the “main parade,” but this is a chance for little ones to enjoy the being-in-the-parade experience, even if they’re not part of a school, group, church, etc. that has an entry.

West Seattle Grand Parade, report #3: Officer John Bernasconi’s last ride

July 21, 2012 at 9:41 pm | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 10 Comments

(Photos by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
When Seattle Police Officer John Bernasconi pulled his motorcycle up to the curb near the start of the West Seattle Grand Parade route this morning, to join the Drill Team as its leader for one last ride, a colleague joked, “Hey, this is seniors’ parking.”

The officer laughed. Within an hour, there would be time for more somber emotions – though the hugs and handshakes began long before he and his colleagues reached the California/Charlestown intersection where a ceremony was planned to mark his last ride.

This year, he is retiring, not just from the Drill Team after 36 years (12 as Drillmaster), but from the force after 43 years. We told his story here on Thursday,

Though he has worked from the downtown-based Traffic Division, those who speak fondly of him include Southwest Precinct leadership past and present – Traffic Division vets – current commander Capt. Steve Paulsen, past commander Capt. Joe Kessler (who now leads the West Precinct and was at today’s ceremony), current operations Lt. Pierre Davis. “He is just the nicest guy” is something we heard often.

And fittingly for a nice guy, though the morning was a tribute to him, he brought the gifts – bouquets of flowers for his wife Cindy, daughter Alexandra (visiting from Australia), and his mom (visiting from California). Our nine-minute uncut video shows how the farewell unfolded:

(That video is by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand; for a shorter clip, see Christopher Boffoli‘s video here.)

What made this particularly unusual was the fact it was held during the West Seattle Grand Parade – Officer Bernasconi’s choice, because he is a native West Seattleite, and it’s where he and Cindy, married 28 years, raised 23-year-old Alexandra:

Then after applause and more hugs ..

…off he rode:

…while his teammates, and their counterparts from Vancouver, B.C. – who as shown in our long clip also stopped to pay tribute – continued the parade.

Video: 300 in 1st-ever pre-parade West Seattle Float Dodger 5K

July 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news, WS & Sports | 4 Comments

(Video of the race’s start and first 2 photos, by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
About 300 people ran and/or walked in the first-ever West Seattle Float Dodger 5K, a kind of opening act for the West Seattle Grand Parade, was a big success, reports Tim McConnell of West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor), which played a big role in making it happen. Tim and wife/co-proprietor Lori McConnell both participated, too, in costume (which was encouraged):

The race started under cloudy skies, but no rain:

The “float dodging” happened after participants walked/ran the first leg of the race, north from California/Charlestown to California/Lander, the starting line of the parade – where the West Seattle Hi-Yu float was parked, minus royalty, for them to run around:

(WSB photo by Tracy Record)
From there, they ran southbound along the entire parade route to the finish at California/Edmunds. The results are available online now – go here. The top male finisher was 29-year-old Mark Mandi, with a net time of 15:28; top female finisher was 30-year-old Bekka Martin, with a net time of 20:17. Other winners included the beneficiaries, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Rotary Club of West Seattle, whose members helped with race staging/organizing – here’s Gary Potter of Potter Construction (WSB sponsor) with some of the course markers:

(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
This was one of two Rotary events on parade morning – the other was the Kiddie Parade; photos from that are coming up. Run for Good Racing Company was a partner in making the Float Dodger 5K happen, too. So far, sounds like the first one won’t be the last – so watch for the registration announcement next year!

West Seattle Grand Parade 2012, report #2: The winners!

July 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

(Our 1st parade report is here; our pre-parade coverage is here)

(WSB video of the All-City Band, top Overall Trophy Winner today)
Just announced by West Seattle Grand Parade coordinators – today’s winners!

Clowns & Comics

1.       Seattle Seafair Clowns
2.       Keystone Kops

Performing Acts

1.       Pathfinder K-8 School (Unicycle Team)
2.       Lake City Vigilantes
3.       Seattle Seafair Pirates

Marching Bands

(Photo by Dan Holz)
1.       Kennedy Catholic High School Marching Band

(This photo and next one by Nick Adams for WSB)
2.       Seattle Seahawks Blue Thunder
3.       Pacific Northwest Drumline (Tie)

3.    Seattle Police Pipe & Drum Band

Drill Teams – Senior

1.       Electronetts High Steppers Drill Team & Drumline
2.       The Dolls Drill Team
3.       Super Steppers Marching Team

Drill Teams – Junior

1.       Electronetts Butterflies Drill Team
2.       Washington Diamonds Drill Team
3.       Daughters of Royalty Drill Team

Cars & Antique Cars

(Photo courtesy Lance Rasmussen)
1.       Pacific Northwest DeLorean Club
2.       Last Resort Fire Department
3.       Seattle Lutheran Schools


1.       Your Seattle City Light and the Northwest Tap Connection Dance Team
2.       Luna Park Café
3.       Seattle Public Utilities


(WSB video of part of the OLG parade entry)
1.       Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish & School
2.       Little Gym of West Seattle

(Photo by Nick Adams for WSB)
3.       WestSide Baby


1.       Marysville Strawberry Festival

Overall Trophy Winners

1.       Seattle Schools All-City Marching Band (see video atop this story)
2.       Chinese Community Girls Drill Team
3.       Sumner High School Marching Band

West Seattle Grand Parade 2012, report #1: First look

July 21, 2012 at 12:33 pm | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 10 Comments

(WSB pre-parade coverage is here; our report on the winners is here)

It’s 12:33 pm as we publish this – almost 2 hours after the West Seattle Grand Parade began with the Seattle Police Motorcycle Drill Team, almost 3 hours after the Float Dodger 5K preceded the parade down the course – and even here at the starting line, California/Lander, the parade isn’t over yet. About 10 minutes ago, the Seafair Pirates took their turn heading down the route, and we caught their first cannon blast on video (above). The very start of the route is a great place to watch – especially if you like to see a bit of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering; for parade participants (we’ve been in it three times), getting the signal to move onto the route is a thrilling moment – here’s Lora Swift from Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor), atop her Mini looking out of, of course, a coffee cup:

Just before we walked up to photograph the Hotwire entry, Lora e-mailed us this photo from HER viewpoint atop the cupmobile:

Sustainable West Seattle has, of course, a human-powered entry again this year:

And while the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums were marching for their first appearance in this parade, the U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flew over (as of the Monday night parade-lineup meeting, it had been requested, but it’s never a sure thing; an emergency might call for it) – it’s at the end of this short clip:

And of course there was royalty! One of the Seafair princesses was Kelsey Bills, representing West Seattle Hi-Yu in this year’s Seafair Scholarship Program for Women

Will she become queen? We’ll find out just before next Saturday night’s Torchlight Parade. Meantime, Hi-Yu’s appearance today will be in one of our upcoming reports.

ADDED 12:56 PM: Traffic note – the parade is over now at the NORTH end of the route, through the Admiral District, and from Admiral Safeway, we are seeing traffic moving again along California in this area. The parade still has some time to go in The Junction, though, so it won’t be fully reopened for a while.

ADDED 1:07 PM: The parade has now finished passing California/Charlestown, our crew at that intersection reports.

ADDED 1:56 PM: One more clip for this story – Nancy Woodland from WestSide Baby entering the parade route as Grand Marshal, followed by the WS Baby bus and volunteers (even chanting!), and then after a bit of a pause, Shirley Vradenburgh riding with the Orville Rummel Trophy for Outstanding Community Service:

In forthcoming reports, we’ll have much more parade coverage; we had four photojournalists covering today’s parade (including a team covering the mid-course farewell ceremony for SPD drill-team Drillmaster Officer John Bernasconi).

West Seattle Grand Parade 2012: Before the parade (including Float Dodger 5K)

July 21, 2012 at 8:44 am | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 5 Comments

(Scroll down for latest pre-parade updates till it all gets going around 10:30)

We’re starting West Seattle Grand Parade morning at Merrill Gardens-Admiral Heights (WSB sponsor), where the Seafair Pirates have just swept in for a “raid” (so says a sign on the front door) – and are serenading residents, staff, and West Seattle Hi-Yu royalty, with pirate songs (ending “We never put out to sea”) at the start of a big day. Here’s the Pirates’ leader, Captain Kidd (aka Lance English), with members of last year’s royalty:

One pirate appeared to be attempting to “borrow” this year’s Junior Court Queen Thea‘s pendant for their treasure chest … hmm:

In a couple hours, the Pirates will “sail” Moby Duck down California SW, cannon blasts, sword-sweeping and all. The road is closed from Admiral Way south, remember; the Float Dodger 5K starts from California/Charlestown at 9:45, while parade preps continue further north, with the route going southbound from SW Lander all the way to SW Edmunds.

9:19 AM UPDATE: California outside Admiral Safeway/Lafayette is starting to fill up with parade participants. Here’s the WestSide Baby bus, not only promoting tomorrow’s diaper drive but following WS Baby executive director Nancy Woodland, Grand Marshal for today’s parade:

Thirsty? Next to Admiral Safeway, Umpqua Bank (WSB sponsor) manager Kirk Mead and team are ready to offer bottled water:

Across the street, some logistics – parade co-coordinator Dave Vague (right) checked in with Josh Sutton, who’ll be driving the West Seattle Y (WSB sponsor) bus, about the banner that will be displayed to show the Y is a major sponsor of the parade:

The Seattle Police Pipes and Drums members, making their first West Seattle Grand Parade appearance, are gathering:

You’ll see them BETWEEN the two motorcycle squads (Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.). Meantime, we can guarantee this will be the biggest bus in the parade:

And yes, “RapidRide Man,” costume and all, will be on hand, the bus’s minders told us. Meantime, it’s getting closer to Float Dodger 5K start time down at California/Charlestown – we’ve got crews there too and expect to hear from them shortly. We’re going out to check on more arrivals, including, we expect, some parade-watchers in the Hiawatha vicinity.

9:44 AM: More than 250 runners/walkers are about to start the Float Dodger 5K – here’s a photo from our crew – it heads NORTH on California before turning around to head south to finish at California/Edmunds:

10:04 AM: The runners/walkers have all completed the first section of the course – they ran north to California/Lander and “dodged” the Hi-Yu float, which was parked in the intersection to play the role.

They’re now all headed south to the end of the parade route at California/Edmunds. (300 participants, we’re told!) Separate story with 5K video and more, later! P.S. (as of 10:08 am) – the Seattle and Vancouver B.C. motorcycle units have JUST arrived, and if you’ve been following our coverage, you know they have a special event ahead at California/Charlestown, as longtime Drillmaster for SPD, Officer John Bernasconi, a West Seattleite, relinquishes his command (he’s retiring this year) – added, we walked up just as he was arriving around 10:10:

As of 10:19 am, the motorcycles appear to be getting ready to leave – if you’re at California/Charlestown, get ready! Not sure when our next update will be – watch us on Twitter.

Check our parade preview from last night for more advance info; more pre-parade coverage to come.

West Seattle Grand Parade on Saturday! One final mega-preview

July 20, 2012 at 9:31 pm | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

It takes a village to build a float! The volunteers we found outside Tibbetts United Methodist Church (WSB sponsor) tonight are no doubt just one of many groups/businesses/organizations putting finishing touches on their floats, cars, signs, etc., for Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade. So it’s time for one final preview of what you’ll see tomorrow among the nearly 100 entries. Here’s what we have already reported (with links to our stories):

*Grand Marshal: Nancy Woodland of WestSide Baby – she’ll be in a car, followed by the famous “Stuff the Bus” school bus promoting Sunday’s big diaper drive
*Orville Rummel Trophy: Shirley Vradenburgh, recently retired from Seattle Lutheran High School
*Seattle Police Pipes and Drums’ debut, marching between motorcycle groups, with visiting Boston Police counterparts
*Last ride/ceremony for SPD Motorcycle Drill Team leader Officer John Bernasconi, a West Seattle native (you’re welcome to watch – 10:30 am or so at California/Charlestown)
*First-ever Float Dodger 5K precedes the parade (still time to register beforehand – run/walk starts at California/Charlestown at 9:45 am)

And now, from information gleaned while we sat in on the parade-lineup meeting this week (with Jim Edwards, Dave Vague, Doreen Vague, and Michelle Edwards working to put it all together), some of what else you’ll see along the parade route (California/Lander to California/Edmunds):

*More marching bands than ever – half a dozen as of the parade-lineup meeting – including the Seahawks’ thunderous Blue Thunder. (Michelle Edwards is a member but won’t be playing with them because she’s part of the coordinating team for the parade – without which, there would be chaos!) And of course, the famous, West Seattleite Marcus Pimpleton-directed All-City Marching Band. (Marching bands obviously have to be separated, making for a fun juggling challenge at the lineup meeting.)

*Your major parade sponsors are the returning West Seattle YMCA (also a WSB sponsor), West Seattle Podcast (the folks in the ex-Petco space, aka Sound Ad Group), and International Parking Management. (WSB is proud to be among the next tier of donors – thanks to EVERYONE who chipped in to help make sure the parade would happen.)

*The Admiral District will make its debut in the parade – the newly formed business group

*As always, the Rotary Club of West Seattle-sponsored Kiddie Parade will be seen in The Junction, leaving California/Genesee at 11 am, marching, walking, rolling down the rest of the parade route to California/Edmunds – all kids welcome to participate (details here – you can sign up online OR just show up at the starting spot after 10 am)

*19 community groups (schools, churches, nonprofits, youth groups, lots and lots of your West Seattle neighbors)

*13 drill teams (including the always awesome Seattle Chinese Community Girls’ Drill Team)

*Performing acts including new participant Joyas Mestizas and Pathfinder K-8‘s unicyclists

*VIPs including Seafair royalty (cheer for Kelsey Bills, who is representing West Seattle Hi-Yu in this year’s Seafair Scholarship Program for Women competition)

*A red-and-yellow RapidRide bus

*Of course, the Seafair Pirates and the West Seattle Hi-Yu Festival float, among others who participate every year (Art and Gloria, the World War II veterans who were last year’s Grand Marshals, are scheduled to return!)

*Remember, it’s NOT the “Hi-Yu Parade.” Hi-Yu is IN the parade. The festival sponsored the parade in its early years (the first parade was in 1934). But it’s the West Seattle American Legion Post 160 Grand Parade now.

*Judges will be spread out along the route – no truth to the perception that acts show off at California/Alaska because that’s where they ALL are. Announcer Joe is at that intersection, though.

*One last reminder – if you ignore a sign like this any time between early Saturday morning and mid-afternoon …

… you are in danger of getting towed. Restrictions kick in at 7 am, per signs like that one along California, and that road will be closed earlier than usual because of the Float Dodger 5K. Side streets used for parade staging are mostly “just” parking restrictions but that means serious enforcement too – the area is needed for staging before AND afterward. And remember that the area around Hiawatha will be even busier because tomorrow is Day 1 of the Mediterranean Fantasy Festival, which begins right around the time the parade does!

(WSB coverage will start early in the morning with pre-parade preps. Later on, if you get cool parade pix, please consider sharing them with us, via e-mail or Flickr or Facebook or Twitter, for potential inclusion in our coverage! Thanks!)

Historic event during West Seattle Grand Parade: Officer John Bernasconi’s last ride as SPD team’s Drillmaster

July 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 17 Comments

(Photo of Officer John Bernasconi, courtesy Cindy Bernasconi)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Seattle Police Officer John Bernasconi, the SPD Motorcycle Drill Team‘s Drillmaster, will do this Saturday what no one before him has done:

He will relinquish his leadership of the team in a ceremony during the West Seattle Grand Parade.

Officer Bernasconi is retiring this year, after 43 years on the force, where he serves in the Traffic Division. He is also the longest active member of the Motorcycle Drill Team, which he joined 36 1/2 years ago – in January 1976, becoming Drillmaster in 2000. And – he is a West Seattleite, born and raised here.

That’s why he has chosen to have the changeover ceremony during the West Seattle Grand Parade, instead of a parade later in the season, as has been customary, we are told, for those before him.

It won’t happen at the start or the end of the drill team’s performance in the parade – but right in the middle. And you’re welcome to watch – but you have to be in the right place!

Click to read the rest of Historic event during West Seattle Grand Parade: Officer John Bernasconi’s last ride as SPD team’s Drillmaster…

Got a convertible? 2 needed for West Seattle Grand Parade

July 17, 2012 at 8:10 pm | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

(WSB photo from just before the start of 2010 parade, in which we rode behind Post 160′s commander)
This Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade is suddenly short two convertibles for the VIP’s who ride toward the start – and organizers are asking if anyone out there in WSB-land can loan theirs. One is needed for Orville Rummel Trophy winner Shirley Vradenburgh (here’s our story from last night), and the other for parade-presenting American Legion Post 160‘s Commander Chris Shea, a Navy veteran riding in his final parade before a change of command for the Post. If you can loan one (or two!) convertibles to the parade, please contact co-coordinator Dave Vague ASAP – e-mail Thanks!

West Seattle Grand Parade countdown: Police Pipes and Drums’ debut

July 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

Our countdown to this Saturday’s West Seattle American Legion Post 160 Grand Parade continues with a brand-new entry:

Making their first appearance in the West Seattle Grand Parade this year are the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums. They practice at the Harbor Patrol facility on Lake Union, where we recorded that video last night. (They also participated in this year’s Seattle Police Memorial at Forest Lawn back in May.)

Their participation will change the first part of the parade a bit – the Seattle Police Motorcycle Drill Team will take off from the parade route’s California/Lander starting line at about 10:30, and instead of the Vancouver (B.C.) Police motorcycles being right after SPD, the Pipes and Drums will march … along with a special guest: The Boston Police Gaelic Column of Pipes and Drums. The West Seattle Grand Parade is the only parade in which they’ll participate; the Seattle and Boston pipers/drummers then have a big concert on Sunday night, along with even more visitors, from Delta, B.C. (The concert’s at 6 pm Sunday at Seattle Universityfull details here.)

The SPD Pipes and Drums are in their second year (their Boston mentors, in contrast, are in their 21st); they’re nonprofit, all-volunteer, supported but not financed by the department. And the group includes two West Seattleites:

The drum major, Scotty Bach, works in Criminal Intelligence at headquarters. One of the pipers is Michael Jongma, who’s with the Traffic Division:

And while he’s NOT a West Seattleite, we photographed Det. Mark Jamieson, who we usually talk with several times a week:

He is a member of the Public Affairs/Media Relations team downtown, so he’s often quoted in news stories – he and his colleagues find the info that us journalist types call to ask for. (They also write for SPD Blotter, tweet, appear on camera at major breaking-news scenes, etc.)

So look for the SPD Pipes and Drums this Saturday along California SW, between Lander and Edmunds, right after the SPD motorcycles (which start everything off at 10:30), marching with their Boston counterparts; then, see them Sunday night at Seattle U’s Pigott Auditorium (ticket info here).

West Seattle Grand Parade honors Shirley Vradenburgh with Orville Rummel Trophy

July 16, 2012 at 7:11 pm | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

As we continue counting down to Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade, presented by American Legion Post 160, we have news of another honoree who you’ll see toward the start of the parade: Recent Seattle Lutheran High School retiree Shirley Vradenburgh is this year’s winner of the Orville Rummel Trophy for Outstanding Service to the Community.

SLHS honored Shirley, a West Seattle native, just last month – as she retired – with its first-ever Ring of Honor Award. She spent 33 years as teacher and registrar/college counselor at Seattle Lutheran, after spending a few years away from West Seattle, while she studied and taught in the Midwest.

Her community service here has included myriad roles including youth ministry and volunteer work with local nonprofits. In particular, she is well-known at Providence Mount St. Vincent, and explains:

I began volunteering at the Mount in 1996 when my mother spent her last two years there. I went every evening to visit her and began helping at dinner time. After my mother died in 1998, I was back the next day, and I have continued most days since that time. I found the Mount to be a special place; the staff were very supportive, and I have enjoyed many friendships with residents and their families through the years. It is a delight to see the smiles on the faces of residents as I spend a few minutes visiting while I help serve their drinks and the evening meal. They enjoy hearing about my activities with the students or travels, etc. I also spend time visiting with other residents around the building. Spending time with teenagers and the elderly each day makes a great balance – both are amazing groups of people.

The Kiwanis Club of West Seattle celebrated Shirley as an Everyday Hero in 2008, and the Rotary Club of West Seattle honored her recently too. Now, Post 160 is honoring her with the award named after the man who led the Post as Commander when it was first presented, 1984, Orville Rummel. Last year, community advocate/volunteer Cindi Barker was the honoree. In 2010, your WSB co-publishers were honored to receive it; that year, we wrote about its history.

So come to the parade this Saturday and cheer for Shirley – the route is California SW from Lander to Edmunds, starting around 11 am, with the motorcycles as usual launching earlier, so don’t be last-minute if you’re watching from the start of the route!

West Seattle Grand Parade, 1 week away: WestSide Baby’s Nancy Woodland is Grand Marshal

July 14, 2012 at 10:41 pm | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

One week from today, California Avenue SW will be lined with spectators and filled with floats, marchers, and more, for the West Seattle American Legion Post 160 Grand Parade. And today, we learned that WestSide Baby executive director Nancy Woodland will be Grand Marshal, just one day before her organization’s big annual Stuff The Bus diaper-donate-a-thon (10 am-2 pm Sunday, July 22nd, in the AmericanWest Bank parking lot). The diaper drive’s signature bus will be in next Saturday’s parade right behind the convertible in which she’ll be displaying a well-executed parade wave (we saw a preview in the West Seattle Summer Fest Info Booth today). Note that this year’s parade timing will be a bit different for reasons including the first-ever Float Dodger 5K – which will start at California/Lander, the start of the parade route, around 9:45 am. The parade will begin with the Seattle Police Motorcycle Drill Team as usual – and then between the SPD motorcycles and their Vancouver, B.C., counterparts, you’ll see the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums with some guests from back east. In The Junction, the Rotary Club of West Seattle Kiddie Parade will precede the main part of the parade as usual (click the linked title to sign up now) – more parade previews here all week.

West Seattle Grand Parade organizers: It’s OFFICIALLY on!

May 20, 2012 at 4:13 pm | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

(WSB photo from last year’s Grand Parade; Stuff the Bus, by the way, will be on 7/22 this year)
First came the warning the West Seattle Grand Parade was in danger of cancellation without sponsors/donations to cover costs including the road-closure barricades that the city used to bankroll – then came word that enough people stepped up, it looked like the parade was saved – and today, parade co-coordinator Dave Vague sends official final word it’s on for July 21st, along with thanks to donors and sponsors old and new:

Thanks to the spectacular generosity of the West Seattle and Greater Seattle communities we have donations enough to now hold the parade as scheduled on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 11:00 AM! Inquiries and support came from all over Seattle and even as far away as Chicago.

In addition to the individual donations made by many of you we have three great organizations sponsoring the American Legion’s West Seattle Grand Parade this year:

Our returning sponsor from last year – the West Seattle Y, and two new great sponsors this year – Sound Advertising Group and International Parking Management! A huge thank you for all of your participation, we really can’t do it without you.

Along with the parade rolling forward, we can now also reveal something new this year – the Float Dodger 5K run that will take place up and down the parade route just before the parade. Clowns, pirates, princesses and now sweaty runners! What a day this will be!

We’ve mentioned the new Float Dodger 5K before – but if you haven’t signed up yet, this is a great time to go ahead and jump in – you can do it here or in person at West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor). P.S. Sound Advertising Group, if you don’t recognize the name, is the business that’s currently in The Junction’s former Petco storefront.

Update: Donations save the day for West Seattle Grand Parade!

May 9, 2012 at 11:45 am | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

(WSB photo from 2011 West Seattle Grand Parade)
“Thanks, everyone, for your support of this wonderful West Seattle tradition!” says West Seattle American Legion Post 160 Grand Parade co-coordinator Jim Edwards, reporting good news today: They’re received enough sponsor pledges and community donations “to move forward with this year,” two days after putting out a last call for $ help. In addition to the barricade costs – $7,000, as previously reported – they also deal with an even-higher cost for other elements of producing the parade, including permits, trophies, and liability insurance; Jim notes, “At a time when our veteran community has grown smaller with the passage of the elder members of the American Legion, it will be wonderful to help reduce the burden on the Post.” Jim and the other volunteers who coordinate the parade are still catching up on tallying the donations and figuring out where things stand, as well as planning for the future to avoid a donation-drive panic EVERY year – so they don’t have a detailed update yet, but wanted to get this news out. Go ahead and mark your calendar for July 21st (and if you’d like to run/walk the parade route, register now for the first-ever Float Dodger 5K before the parade!).

P.S. Another reminder that one of the West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day (maps here) sales this Saturday is a benefit for the parade, at Legion Post 160 – sale #140.

No West Seattle Grand Parade? $3,500+ needed to save it

May 7, 2012 at 10:20 pm | In How to help, West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 39 Comments

(WSB photo of 2011 West Seattle Grand Parade)
Organizers of the West Seattle American Legion Grand Parade – the one that thousands watch every July as dozens of floats and bands and community groups walk and roll and march down California SW – say they’ll have to cancel it if nobody steps up to contribute $3,500 so they can cover the costs. We’ve mentioned the donation drive earlier this year; here’s the latest from parade co-coordinator Dave Vague:

We want to thank everyone in the community who has donated to help put on the West Seattle parade so far this year, however, we’re still $3,500 short of the funds needed to put the parade on this year. As you know, we now are responsible for the cost of the street barricade signs and the bid has come in at $7,000, and so far we have only been able to raise half that amount. If we are unable to raise the additional money needed by June 1 we need to cancel the parade this year.

This was to be the parade’s 79th year, and as added excitement, it includes a 5K run before the start.

We are in desperate need in finding a sponsor or donor for the remaining funds by the end of May.

If anyone would like to donate or become a parade sponsor, contact Jim Edwards ( or Dave Vague (

You can donate online via the official parade website, too. If you’ve missed our previous coverage – this is the second year the city has required groups to pay the cost of street-closure barricades; last year, the quote was about $3,000, and this year it’s up to $7,000. The parade does not charge entry fees and changing that wouldn’t help, because then they would have to pay more to get a different type of permit. If the parade doesn’t get canceled, it’s set for July 21st.

ADDED TUESDAY MORNING: Forgot to note that one of the West Seattle Community Garage Sale Day sales this Saturday is a benefit for the parade – it’s sale #140 on the map, at parade-presenting American Legion Post 160, 3618 SW Alaska in The Triangle.

West Seattle Grand Parade sign cost doubles: $ needed

March 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm | In How to help, West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 16 Comments

(WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli from 2010 West Seattle Grand Parade)
An update to our story from last month about the West Seattle Grand Parade seeking your help again this year: Parade coordinators now have the price estimate for the signs that the city no longer provides, and it’s almost double last year’s cost! This is the second year the city has required event presenters to pick up these costs, and without $ help, the parade is in jeopardy. Here’s the update from parade co-coordinator Dave Vague:

The 79th Annual West Seattle American Legion Grand Parade is in need of community support to happen this year. The parade is currently scheduled for Saturday, July 21, at 11:00 AM. However, to run the parade, we are in desperate need to raise funds. Our largest expense started last year when the Seattle DOT required us to fund the cost of our own No Parking barricade signs. The initial bid last year was $3,000 and ended up being about $3,700. The bid we have secured for 2012 for the same signs as jumped to $7,000!

One of our sponsors from last year has agreed to fund a similar amount this year, which means we still need to raise $5,000 in the next four months. If you would like to donate or sponsor the parade this year we can use your help.

Donations can be made at the West Seattle American Legion Grand Parade website:

Or you can contact the West Seattle American Legion Post 160 directly at (206) 935-9407.

For more information, please contact Dave Vague or Jim Edwards

As noted in previous reports, the parade cannot charge entry fees, or else it will have to pay an even-higher fee to the city for its permits. As do many local businesses, WSB supports many community events, so we’ve just chipped in again for this one. Whether you can give $10 or $1,000, we challenge you to join in too.

West Seattle Grand Parade: Can you chip in again this year?

February 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

Before you can see pirates and floats and royalty and classic cars and community groups strolling and rolling down the West Seattle Grand Parade route in midsummer, it takes a lot of work by West Seattle’s American Legion Post 160 parade coordinators – andm again this year, it’s going to take some monetary help from the community.

You might recall that last year was the first year that the city required organizations like Post 160 to cover the costs of no-parking signage along the parade route. It’s not cheap. This year, they’ll have to do it again. So Dave Vague asked us to share the request for your help:

The West Seattle American Legion Grand Parade is set for Saturday, July 21, 2012. Like last year, we are needing to turn to the West Seattle community to raise funds to help us put the parade on. We are trying to raise $5,000 this year to cover the expenses of putting up the street barricades, city permits, and trophies for the winning entries.

Donations can be sent to:
West Seattle American Legion Post 160
3618 SW Alaska St
Seattle, WA 98126
(206) 935-9407
or you can donate online at the parade website:

The parade doesn’t charge entry fees – if it did, it would have to pay a much higher price for permits, which would wipe out any benefit and any way of making a dent in this cost. They secured some community sponsorships last year, but individual donations also can make quite a difference in keeping this decades-old tradition alive. (The online-donation link goes to a page with a PayPal button; you can use PayPal without having a PP account – just scroll till you see the “pay with credit card” option.)

West Seattle Grand Parade, report #6: The vehicles

July 24, 2011 at 9:06 pm | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | Comments Off

(All WSB coverage of the West Seattle Grand Parade is archived here, newest to oldest)

From motorcycles at the start to DeLoreans at the end – a last-minute entry by the Pacific Northwest DeLorean Club (which won an award!) – Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade showcased a wide variety of vehicles. Though we published plenty of parade coverage yesterday, before/during/after, we still have a few roundups in the works, and this is one of them – click ahead for some of the vehicular highlights! Click to read the rest of West Seattle Grand Parade, report #6: The vehicles…

West Seattle Grand Parade, report #5: Rotary Kiddie Parade

July 24, 2011 at 12:10 am | In Rotary Club of West Seattle, West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 1 Comment

If you watched Saturday’s West Seattle Grand Parade from north of Genesee, you missed out on the freeform fun of the WS Rotary Kiddie Parade, which invites any and all local kids to travel the three blocks south of Edmunds, between the motorcycle drill teams and the rest of the parade. Kids walk, bike, ride in wagons and strollers, and even perform – the Denny International Middle School Marching Band is part of it – here’s our video of the Kiddie Parade in its entirety, recorded at California/Alaska:

Leading the parade and carrying the flag was Sue Lindblom, West Seattle Rotary president and owner of longtime WSB sponsor Illusions Hair Design.

West Seattle Grand Parade 2011, report #4: Hi-Yu represents!

July 23, 2011 at 11:11 pm | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle Hi-Yu Festival, West Seattle news | Comments Off

(All WSB parade coverage is archived here, newest to oldest.)

While it’s not the “Hi-Yu Parade” any more, it wouldn’t be the West Seattle Grand Parade without the West Seattle Hi-Yu Festival float and volunteers. West Seattle is the last neighborhood in the city with a community float, and every year, Hi-Yu chooses a new theme for its float and button (always open to public suggestions, so watch for the announcement here and on the Hi-Yu Facebook page in wintertime!). This year, it’s “Sparkling Seattle.” The current Junior and Senior Courts rode on the float in today’s parade, while the newly coronated Junior Court whose reign starts this fall carried another Hi-Yu banner in the West Seattle Rotary Kiddie Parade:

(From left, the incoming Junior Court’s Princess Elena, Queen Thea, and Princess Amanda.) Along the parade sidelines, HI-Yu volunteers sold buttons as a fundraiser as usual, and Hi-Yu president Tim Winston wanted to share these words of appreciation:

Hi-Yu is very appreciative of all the people who bought Hi-Yu buttons and pins today along the parade route and, for that matter, all the people who purchased buttons and pins earlier in the month at Pirates Landing, Summer Fest, Concert in the Park, etc.. We thank all for their support! Proceeds help both the Scholarship and Float Programs. The Festival does not happen without the support of our community. Thank you so much!

West Seattle Grand Parade 2011 report #3: The winners!

July 23, 2011 at 3:59 pm | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

(NOTE: We’re continuing to add video/photos to this story through Sunday evening)

West Seattle American Legion Post 160 Grand Parade organizers have just sent the list of winning entries from the nearly 80 in this year’s parade – including, in its parade debut, the Sustainable West Seattle solar/human-powered Trikeceratops winning the “Community” category! Parade organizers also are thanking sponsors West Seattle Christian Church and West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) and other donors (listed here, including WSB). Co-coordinator Dave Vague says, “It appeared we had one of the most well-attended parades in years.” And the winners are:

Overall Winners

1st – Seattle Schools All-City Marching Band (video above, as they entered the parade route)
2nd – Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish & School
3rd – Marysville Strawberry Festival Float


Legion Trophy – Marysville Strawberry Festival, MaryFest, Inc. “Berrywood” (video above)

Alki Trophy – Sequim Irrigation Festival (video above)
Judges Trophy – Puyallup Daffodil Festival “Spirit of Adventure”
Festival Trophy – Port Orchard “Fathoms of Fun”


1st – Sustainable West Seattle (see top photo)

2nd – Hope Lutheran Gospel Outreach (photo above)

3rd -Cub Scout Troops of West Seattle (video above)

Performing Acts

(Pirate photo courtesy of Byron, principal of Textura Design & publisher of Bike Hugger)
1st – Seattle Seafair Pirates
2nd – Lake City Vigilantes
3rd – Evergreen Tang Soo Do Academy


1st – Seattle Seafair Clowns
2nd – Keystone Kops
3rd – West Seattle Shrine Club Clowns

Marching Bands

1st – Calgary Round-Up Band (video above)
2nd – Kennedy Catholic High School Band
3rd – Pacific Northwest Drum Line


1st – Luna Park Café
2nd – Seattle Public Utilities
3rd – Hadlock Towing

Cars & Antique Cars

1st – Last Resort Fire Department
2nd – Pacific Northwest DeLorean Club
3rd – Seattle Lutheran Schools

Drill Teams – Jr

1st – Baby Dangerettes Drill Team
2nd – “Jr. Electronetts” Babynetts Drill Team
3rd – Emerald City Divas Drill Team

Drill Teams – Sr

1st – Seattle Chinese Community Girls Drill Team (video above)
2nd – Sweet Mahogany Drill Team
3rd – Electronetts Drill Team & Drum Squad

We’ll be adding more images to this – and we have more post-parade reports to come – including spontaneous sights along the way.

West Seattle Grand Parade 2011, report #2: It’s under way!

July 23, 2011 at 10:47 am | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

10:47 AM: The West Seattle Grand Parade has just officially begun with the motorcycle drill teams – Seattle Police first, followed by Vancouver (BC). Just so you know – it’s on – hundreds of people volunteering their time to put on a rolling show! California/Lander to California/Edmunds (with the Rotary Kiddies Parade leaving California/Genesee ahead of the motorcyclists’ arrival – photo added below, Rotary president Sue Lindblom leading the Kiddies’ Parade):

11:23 AM: And the rest of the parade has now begun.

(First Seafair Pirates cannon shot of the parade!)
12:44 PM: It ended a few minutes ago at the north end of the route – with the Pacific Northwest DeLorean Club!

The parade is still continuing, of course, down toward The Junction. This end is about to reopen to traffic, police are announcing via loudspeaker, but avoid California for a while on the south end of the parade route, to SW Dawson, since that’s where floats and other entries are breaking down and regrouping. Miss the parade? Check our Twitter feed for as-it-happened photos (we’re adding a few to this) – and we’ll have other reports later with highlights, video, and more. (We’ll also be heading off to the Alki Art Fair!)

West Seattle Grand Parade 2011, report #1: Pre-parade setup

July 23, 2011 at 9:31 am | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | Comments Off

9:31 AM: We’re in the heart of the West Seattle Grand Parade staging zone on California by Lafayette Elementary – and as a Seafair Commodore noted, it’s very different this year, without the old Safeway lots for staging. The big floats are here already – that’s the sparkling purple Sequim Irrigation Festival float. Not far away, the Tibbetts United Methodist Church (WSB sponsor) parade entry:

Watch its front end in the parade – it includes a plug for their Facebook page! The Hi-Yu “Sparkling Seattle” float is of course here too:

Meantime, we checked the scene along the route, as we headed north:

Chairs are out in many places, especially The Junction. California is closed from Hanford to Admiral; the rest of the stretch will be closed shortly. We spotted parade co-coordinator Jim Edwards on a quick motorcycle run to inspect the route (looks like most were heeding the NO PARKING signs – remember, this is the first year American Legion Post 160, which puts on the parade, had to foot the bill itself, and luckily some community sponsors came forward – look for the banners in their honor during the parade).

Back here at the north end of the route, it’s time for some to rehearse, like All-City Band members on the field by Hiawatha:

And we spotted parade Grand Marshals Art and Gloria Peters arriving:

ADDED 10 AM: More photos as the staging zone really starts to fill up – here’s Art with Lts. Pierre Davis and Ron Smith from the Southwest Precinct:

Courtesy of Our Lady of Guadalupe – you’ll be seeing stars!

On the side streets: Here’s how you get a tow truck ready to bring up the rear in the parade:

And here’s an entry that won’t need towing – solar- and human-powered, from Sustainable West Seattle:

Again, the parade runs along California from Lander (Lafayette/Admiral Safeway/Hiawatha) to Edmunds (south end of The Junction – Terrible Beauty/7-11), officially starting at 11 (but the motorcycle drill teams will get going a bit earlier) – get your seat if you want to see it in person!

ADDED 10:39 AM: One last round of preview photos before the parade starts shortly – first, Orville Rummel Trophy winner Cindi Barker with her mate Ron Zuber, who’s riding in a separate convertible as the new Commander of the West Seattle VFW Post:

And leading off the parade as always will be the two motorcycle drill teams – here are the visitors from Vancouver, for whom this is their only local parade appearance:

We’ll post a separate update when the parade starts – just in case you’re waiting, or else wondering when it’s under way because you need to get around town – then complete coverage, with video, afterward.

West Seattle Grand Parade 2011, hours away: Getting ready

July 22, 2011 at 11:26 pm | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

Less than twelve hours till the West Seattle Grand Parade, presented by American Legion Post 160, and tonight we’ve heard from two of the new participants – Above, Patrick from Sustainable West Seattle shared a shot of SWS and Alki Bike and Board crews “putting the finishing touches on Trikeceratops, our human & solar powered float for the Grand Parade.” And Debbie Stern e-mailed to say her daughter Becca Stern, a student at Madison Middle School, is “so excited to get to march in front of her home town”:

Becca (center, in red poncho) is captain of the Li’l Señoritas, the younger squad affiliated with La Señoritas, drill teams that are marching in the West Seattle Grand Parade for the first time. (Debbie notes that unlike La Señoritas, Li’l Señoritas do NOT have sabers!)

If you missed our earlier parade previews – scroll down this page for our entire (newest-to-oldest) WS Grand Parade coverage archive; the parade starts at 11 am from California/Lander and proceeds southbound on California to Edmunds at the south end of The Junction. The road closes a couple hours ahead of time, and side streets in the Admiral area on both sides of California are staging areas, so note that even if you are not going to see the parade, cars and buses will be affected till early afternoon. We’ll be out in the staging areas with advance coverage here on WSB tomorrow morning, and of course full coverage afterward.

P.S. Two more notes – we’re reminded that the motorcycle drill teams roll as early as 10:30, so don’t wait till the last minute to get your parade spot along California. Plus, the Kiddie Parade from Calif/Genesee gathers at 10, and if you’re anywhere near there, $3 gets you a hot dog or veggie dog from Furry Faces Foundation‘s Dogs 4 Cats at Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor, and parade participant, 4410 California SW), 11 am-1 pm.

West Seattle Grand Parade tomorrow! Lineup highlights today

July 22, 2011 at 10:14 am | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

(2009 WSB photo by Christopher Boffoli)
At this time tomorrow, 77 entries will be getting into place for the 2011 edition of the West Seattle Grand Parade, presented by American Legion Post 160. The post’s Junction headquarters are where parade coordinators gather to rough out the lineup – we sat in on that meeting this past Monday night. But after two hours of intensive discussion – with parade co-coordinator Dave Vague using his Father’s Day gift iPad, and parade co-coordinator Jim Edwards checking a table full of the actual entries, while Doreen Vague handled logistics regarding judging – the final plan still had some tweaking to be done, before one last meeting last night. The lineup includes:

*2 motorcycle drill teams (this is the only local parade where you see the Vancouver, B.C. team too – they’re in the top photo)
*More than half a dozen floats, including West Seattle Hi-Yu‘s “Sparkling Seattle” and visitors from as far away as the Sequim Irrigation Festival float
*4 marching bands, including the famous Calgary Roundup Band, back for the first time in a few years
*More than half a dozen drill teams, including the saber-wielding Las Senoritas
*Community entries including a few new ones, such as Sustainable West Seattle, and longtime participants including schools, churches, Scouts, community groups
*Commercial entries including Hotwire Coffee (WSB sponsor)
*The full Seafair contingent, including their new (as of last year) float and, of course, the Pirates
*As announced here earlier: 2011 Grand Marshals Art and Gloria Peters, and 2011 Orville Rummel Trophy winner Cindi Barker

The parade starts at 11 am Saturday from California/Lander and travels down California till the route ends at Edmunds on the south end of The Junction (here’s the map on the parade’s official website). Side streets along California at the north end of the route are part of the staging area, so in the early morning hours tomorrow, you’re going to want to steer clear of there. Kids are invited to join in the West Seattle Rotary Kiddie Parade gathering at 10 am at California/Genesee (more here). And remember, the parade’s not over till you see the tow trucks! (They’re entry #77.)

West Seattle Grand Parade countdown: Parking/traffic reminders

July 20, 2011 at 10:16 pm | In West Seattle Grand Parade, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

The “no parking” signs are up, looking ahead to Saturday, when the American Legion Post 160-presented West Seattle Grand Parade will not only close California from Admiral to Edmunds (the parade starts a block south of Admiral, at Lander), but also will restrict parking on that stretch and some side streets near the start of the parade route, starting at 7 am. There’s one big difference this year – Post 160 had to pay thousands of dollars for signage that the city used to handle, so community sponsors have pitched in, and you’ll see them acknowledged in big new banners. But otherwise, parade coordinators told us at the official pre-parade lineup meeting (that’ll be a separate preview story!) that the restrictions are pretty much the same as in years past, and if your street is affected, the signs are now in place (the one in our photo is at the start of the route by Lafayette Elementary). The pre-parade staging also is minus the former back parking lot of Admiral Safeway, but some of the vehicles that used to queue up there, like convertibles with Hi-Yu Senior Court candidates, aren’t a factor this year since the competition has moved to the fall (you’ll still see current royalty on the Hi-Yu “Sparkling Seattle” float). So who IS in the parade, you ask? Some old favorites, and new additions – more on that tomorrow! It all starts at 11 am Saturday, southbound on California from Lander to Edmunds (here’s the map),

« Previous PageNext Page »

All contents copyright 2005-2015, A Drink of Water and a Story Interactive. Here's how to contact us.
Entries and comments feeds. ^Top^