West Seattle Hi-Yu says this might be the end after 80+ years, unless you care enough to help

(July 2016 photo of what might be the last West Seattle Hi-Yu float – photo by Jim Edwards)

ORIGINAL REPORT, 10:27 AM: After more than 80 years, West Seattle Hi-Yu – the last Seattle neighborhood organization with a traveling parade float – might be history.

Hi-Yu’s been pleading for community support and warning that it can’t continue without some emerging.

It apparently hasn’t, according to this announcement that just arrived, which concludes with one last opportunity to get involved:

The newly elected West Seattle Hi-Yu, Inc. officers on the board have decided to not have the Hi-Yu float go to the Issaquah Salmon Days parade on Oct. 1st and discontinue attending the Fauntleroy Fall Festival and Alaska Junction Fall festival and not have any of the Jr. Court, Teen Ambassador or Sr. court scholarship programs this upcoming year.

Due to the lack of volunteers and West Seattle community and business financial support, the West Seattle Hi-Yu, Inc. will be taking a break from all activities for a year or more to reorganize.

Unless there is a lot of community support the West Seattle Hi-Yu Summer Festival will have had its final year ending on Sept. 30, 2016, after 82 years of existence,

The archives of West Seattle Hi-Yu, Inc. history will be turned over to the Southwest Seattle Historical Society.

Thanks to all of the past Hi-Yu volunteers and court members for their involvement over the years. The scholarship programs will be discontinued. We know the experiences have been beneficial to those who have participated in the various community events and parades over the years.

We wish the best to the reorganizing team.

Jay Murray, West Seattle Hi-Yu president 2014-2016
Joanne Murray, West Seattle Hi-Yu historian, 2014-2016

The next meeting will be on Monday Oct. 3, 2016 at the West Seattle Library in the Admiral district at 7 pm in the community room on the lower level. If you are interested in the future of West Seattle Hi-Yu, come to the meeting and voice your opinion.

ADDED 1:32 PM: As discussed in comments, Hi-Yu does NOT produce the summer parade. But the reorganization could have effects on it. Here’s a statement we just received from Michelle Edwards on behalf of the parade committee:

Despite the possible reorganization of West Seattle Hi-Yu, the West Seattle Grand Parade will continue to be produced by the West Seattle Rotary Club Foundation and will be held on July 22nd, 2017 at 11am. The only impact to the West Seattle Grand Parade will be the possibility of losing visiting festival parade floats and entries, as there will no longer be a West Seattle float attending festivals around the region. This impact will be addressed by the West Seattle Parade Committee in 2017. We wish the best to the West Seattle Hi-Yu team. – West Seattle Parade Committee

21 Replies to "West Seattle Hi-Yu says this might be the end after 80+ years, unless you care enough to help"

  • Todd September 28, 2016 (11:46 am)

    Wow. With all of the new businesses coming to West Seattle, it’s hard to fathom a long standing local tradition and community organization could not get enough support from the business community to keep it going. I really hope this does not turn out to be true.

  • nw September 28, 2016 (12:20 pm)

    Change the name is Easy Street parade you might get all kinds of support 

    • WSB September 28, 2016 (12:26 pm)

      Hi-Yu does not produce the parade, and it hasn’t been named the Hi-Yu Parade for a long time. The parade itself is produced currently by the West Seattle Rotary Club Foundation, and before that, by American Legion Post 160. Hi-Yu is a separate organization. Even just creating and operating the traveling parade float – which appears in the West Seattle Grand Parade as well as others around the region – is a huge undertaking, though, and that’s not all the organization does. – TR

      • nw September 28, 2016 (12:54 pm)

        Thanks for clarification

  • nw September 28, 2016 (12:57 pm)

    I think Seattle maybe a nw thing just does not know how to engage in parades from am audience point of few, that’s been my observations at least. Your suppose to whistle and clap folks when the floats and parade participants go by!

  • Jim September 28, 2016 (2:17 pm)

    Hi-Yu Association started in 1934. It was a group that stemmed from the American Legion Post 160 They ceased business in 1937. The West Seattle Parade also started in 1934 by the American Legion, has carried on uninterrupted by changes in Hi-Yu. In 1949 a group of businessmen and service club members created West Seattle Hi-Yu Inc. Now known as the West Seattle Hi-Yu Summer Festival. The original members of the Hi-Yu Association signed over rights to the name at that time. The group had a Board of Trustees made up of ten representatives of many of the service clubs of West Seattle. In addition to those ten was a Board of Directors made up of three members of the Trustees and the elected Executive Board. And last but not least was the Executive Board who performed the day to day business of the organization. For many years they also had a paid coordinator who kept the wheels on the track year to year. 

    This organization was no different than Daffodil Festival, Strawberry Festival and so on. But what I noticed that changed over the years was the dropping out of service clubs. Service clubs have dwindled over the years in West Seattle. And with it went the structure and support of Hi-Yu. Furthermore, if you walk in to a high school in the region of the Daffodil Festival in the Puyallup Valley, you will see pictures of every Daffodil Queen who ever came from that school, hanging on the wall in the lobby entrance of the high school.  A wonderful tradition that carries on to this day. But here in West Seattle we are a part of the big city. Some people will blame those changes on that high level bridge. Here political correctness rules, and traditions go by the wayside, just like our high school symbol the Indians. Opportunities for Hi-Yu to change direction have come and gone. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the group.

    • Verde September 28, 2016 (2:36 pm)

      “Here political correctness rules, and traditions go by the wayside, just like our high school symbol the Indians. “

      Yeah, no. Some things do need to change, and beauty [only] queens and racist mascots are part of that. However, that’s no reason why an organization such as Hi-Yu can’t continue to evolve with the times and still keep up their traditions such as community service and outreach, scholarships, supporting and mentoring young people’s educational and career goals, and so on.  And that’s what they do and should be supported in continuing to do. I hope the community rallies for them and they continue their good work.

  • People September 28, 2016 (2:40 pm)

    So no more street festival in July? I would miss that, but couldn’t the junction association take that over if they wanted? Other than that, I guess I still don’t understand what would be missed besides a float.

    I don’t mean to poo-poor the organization,  I just have never understood what it is besides a float and waving queens!

    • WSB September 28, 2016 (2:44 pm)

      The street festival is a West Seattle Junction Association event; Hi-Yu is a participant.

  • People September 28, 2016 (2:52 pm)

    Thanks! Maybe it’s just a victim of being from a bygone era. I love the idea of the service organizations,  but think there are just so many more choices and opportunities for participating in the community, socializing and doing service today without having to join a club.

  • Jim September 28, 2016 (3:09 pm)

    @Verde Please note I said  Indians ” symbol”. The racist mascot was done away with in the 70’s. That’s why the football helmets had a WS on them not an Indian with a tomahawk. The Indians “symbol” was approved by the local Duwamish tribe in 1978. And as a person who holds an indian status card, I had no problem with it. As far as support of Hi-Yu I have not been an active volunteer for the group for a number of years, but I have continued to pay my membership for the past 35 years. 

  • Blog Fan September 28, 2016 (4:21 pm)

    @ Verde  I would like to provide more info about the Senior Court of WS Hi-Yu…the young ladies applying had an extensive application to complete, which comprised of information on every aspect of their schooling – grades, sports, awards, school support.  They also had to provide info on community support and participation, and volunteering outside of their community, if they did that.  Up until the last few years, they had multiple events where they were judged by community leaders.  The scholarship program was not seen as a beauty pagaent.  The organization, through the judging process, crowned the candidates on the above criteria, and not on beauty. 

  • wesad September 28, 2016 (6:24 pm)

    I miss the West Seattle I grew up with. =(

  • Jennifer La Counte September 28, 2016 (7:14 pm)

    I’m so sad to see the Hiyu festival go away after all these years. The service clubs represent a big portion of the festival and help these young women and help play a part in our wonderful summer fest! I personally take pride in being a past royal court member and spent several summers giving back! It’s a great experience to travel to other festivals seeing displays of other courts of years past displayed pridefully! Yes, we have wonderfully painted scenes on some buildings around our West Seattle Junction. But where I ask is our pride displayed of our past courts played to traveling courts when they come during them summer fests? This helps them keep coming back! Where’s our service clubs? What happened to do the days when we were asked to run because we were senior girl of the month from of service club because of the work we had been doing? Let’s find those young women! Proud of heritage in west seattle !!!! Proud to be a Miss West Seattle Hi-Yu! Thank you to the West Seattle Eagles for sponsoring me and being their very first Queen ! 

  • Susan J. September 28, 2016 (10:10 pm)

    Is anyone else seeing a trend amongst us? Our local school is challenged with getting younger parents to step up and volunteer, we are seeing a decline in community involvement of our new residents who are moving in…it is finally biting us in the butt, this new generation who expects everyone to do everything for them are here. Stinker! We should give them a trophy?

    • WSB September 28, 2016 (10:39 pm)

      Susan, I have seen more new residents turn up as first-time community meeting participants than not-so-new ones beyond the handful who have been involved forever. If every single community group got a handful of additional people involved, whatever their age, however long they have or have not been here, the crises would be over, whether they were longtime residents or new arrivals. I confess from time to time, and will again now, that I paid little attention to community matters for our first 15 years here, before we wound up doing this. I got up, went to my TV job downtown, came home 11 or so hours later, hung out with husband and kid. We can analyze it to death but the bottom line is, does anyone care enough to offer a few hours here, a few hours there? Some groups we’ve covered have tried to be very specific in what they need – someone with X skill, someone with Y skill. Is that the kind of information people are looking for before deciding if they can help? Or?

      As for “new generation” … they are mischaracterized. (I have a 20-year-old son who is far more engaged and insightful than I was at his age.)

      Anyway, the challenge is laid down by the folks who’ve been trying to keep this going. If you care, show up. It doesn’t mean you’re going to be roped at the door and committed to some sort of major task list. Even if you just have ideas to bring, you’d be appreciated. We’ll do what we can, which is, to cover whatever happens. – TR

    • sam-c September 29, 2016 (8:11 am)

      I think it is the high cost of living, requiring people to work, that makes it difficult to volunteer.  I volunteer for (2) different things/ organizations, and wish I could more, but already feel stretched too thin.

      I get home from work with the kids in tow, to make dinner at 6 (if I’m lucky) or 7 (depending on if there are after school sports).  Then you spend a precious 2 hours with your family each weekday before you rush them through homework and go to bed)   There was one week where we weren’t home 3 nights of the week (meetings at school and another meeting where we were volunteering) until after 8pm.  By the end of the week, everyone was in a bad mood, no-one could find anything and the house was a wreck…..

  • ClayJustSayin September 29, 2016 (9:52 am)

    About the political correctness of not using ‘racist’ symbology: it may be well and fine to eliminate Indian symboligy where improperly used.  The trouble with that is at some point we have gone beyond ‘proper’ into actually removing references to them as a people.

    Tell me what is proper about that?

  • Gatewood September 29, 2016 (10:31 am)

    It seems obvious that beauty queens with flowing dresses and tiaras aren’t West Seattle favorites. Why can’t Hi-Y get rid of this since it has nothing to do with community service? And those of you bemoaning the younger generation, my daughter has to do 160 hours of service to graduate high school. The float with the waving princesses should be retired.

  • gina September 29, 2016 (5:39 pm)

    The reorganization and reimagining may create something better for the future.  The 4th of July Admiral kids parade could merge with the West Seattle kids parade if the big parade vanished, or could be part of the street festival.  The Pirate’s landing could become a Fremontesque parade along Alki. Crazy thoughts, but think of what draws big crowds around here.

  • Blog Fan October 4, 2016 (6:42 pm)

    @Gina  Just some more history…the Seafair Pirates Landing is organized by the Seattle Seafair Pirates now, not West Seattle Hi-Yu.  Hi-Yu participates at the event.  It was once organized by Hi-Yu but a few years back, the event was moved by Seafair to Golden Gardens in Ballard.   Once it came back to Alki Beach, the Pirates organized the event.   It is a long standing summer tradition in WS for the pirates to land on Alki.  Many were happy to see the event come back to WS.   

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