Antique fire trucks are just part of the old-fashioned charm of the Maxwelton Fourth of July Parade. It’s seeking donations to stay afloat. File photo

Antique fire trucks are just part of the old-fashioned charm of the Maxwelton Fourth of July Parade. It’s seeking donations to stay afloat. File photo

Whidbey Island parade struggles to keep afloat

Modern fundraising is being used to help sustain the future of the July Fourth tradition.

MAXWELTON — A century-old neighborhood parade that prides itself on old-fashioned fun is turning to new-fangled fundraising to stay afloat.

A GoFundMe account for the Maxwelton July Fourth parade is seeking $5,000 for the event, a South Whidbey tradition that annually attracts some 2,000 people.

It’s hosted by the Maxwelton Community Club comprised of 200 families in the South Whidbey beach community. Members decided to try online crowd fundraising after reviewing expenses and finding they top $5,000.

“The prices for things have just about tripled,” said organizer B.J. Hoogerwerf. “Without outside help we will not be able to continue this parade.”

Peering down the rising cost of insurance, food, portable toilets, reserve deputy service and shuttle service, club members considered many options.

“We almost canceled it,” Hoogerwerf said. “Then we said, ‘Let’s think this through.’”

Members decided to save money by canceling shuttle buses that had provided free rides from a parking area to the parade route.

“They’ll be no shuttle service,” Hoogerwerf said. “However, there’s still parking at the little brown church. People will have to walk maybe half a mile to the start of the parade.”

Sales from a hot dog booth and $1 buttons had sustained the event for years but can’t anymore, Hoogerwerf said.

“People just don’t realize what it takes to do this,” she added. “I think a lot of people think the county pays for it. They don’t. We do.”

In its 103rd year, Maxwelton’s summer event has managed to retain its authentic rural flavor of yesteryear with antique fire trucks, tractors, hayrides, gunny sack races and goats, pigs and geese walking the parade route.

Generations of families come out, many of them attending reunions that revolve around the event.

The parade is a refreshing spur-of-the-moment unplanned affair. It only accepts entries for 90 minutes before its noon start. Last year, 233 entries ambled down the road for the hour-long procession of flag-waving organizations, floats, vehicles, bicycles and walking groups.

Richard Grubb has been named this year’s Grand Marshal.

There are no bouncy houses for post-parade activities but instead old-time games, such as three-legged races, sack hops and egg tosses.

Hot dogs can be had for $3.

Every year, it sponsors an art contest for children 14 and under to design a button. Many people proudly wear their button collection to show their Maxwelton Independence Day loyalty.

Any profit from the all-volunteer Maxwelton celebration had gone to charity in years past, said Harriet Arnold, who helps coordinates the parade.

“We were able to do that until last year,” she said. “But we can’t afford to do the parade the way we’ve always done it.”

Arnold also set up a Facebook page for the organization.

The Maxwelton Fourth of July Parade always takes place on the actual day of the Fourth of July. This year that’s a Wednesday, which may mean fewer people coming out mid-week, Hoogerwerf predicted.

“But it’s a political year, so maybe they’ll be more parade entrants.”

_______

This story was first pulished in the South Whidbey Record.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More than 200 entrants comprise the Maxwelton Independence Day Parade that’s viewed by an estimated 2,000 people, many coming from off island.

More than 200 entrants comprise the Maxwelton Independence Day Parade that’s viewed by an estimated 2,000 people, many coming from off island.

Maxwelton Community Club organizers Harriet Arnold (left) and B.J. Hoogerwerf.

Maxwelton Community Club organizers Harriet Arnold (left) and B.J. Hoogerwerf.

More in Northwest

King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterburg (File Photo)
King County Prosecuting Attorney vows to protect reproductive freedom

Dan Satterberg joins over 80 prosecutors from around the country in their pledge.

Fedor Osipov, 15, flips into Steel Lake in Federal Way during last year's heatwave on June 28, 2021. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
Heatwave expected to hit King County

Temperatures will likely reach 90 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday, June 26, and Monday, June 27.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII: Examining Auburn police officer’s grim tattoos

Episode 5 in special podcast series that explores Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

t
Sound Transit Board approves Julie Timm as new CEO at $375,000 per year

She replaces Peter Rogoff who left in May after board voted to replace him

t
Statewide task force to tackle organized retail crime rings

Group brings law enforcement, prosecutors, retailers together to combat growing problem

t
Sound Transit committee recommends Julie Timm as next CEO

She is CEO of Greater Richmond Transit Company in Virginia

COURTESY PHOTO, Sound Transit
Courtesy of Hazardous Waste Management Program.
Study: Lead exposure linked to kitchen cookware from Afghan refugees in King County

The issue was first noticed in Afghan children in King County, but more communities may be at risk.

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn, who is running for U.S. Congress in the 8th District, speaks to supporters in March. Photo courtesy of Dunn’s Facebook campaign page
Against the grain: Reagan Dunn holds the torch for King County conservatives

What it means to be the top Republican in a liberal King County government.

Assistant Secretary of Health Michele Roberts (left) and Health Secretary Umair Shah.
As COVID trends up again, state officials ‘strongly recommend’ masks

There are no new mandates in Washington. But “we really have an opportunity to get ahead of this.”

Screenshot of April 5 Edmonds City Council meeting. Inset (L-R): Mayor Mike Nelson and council members Kristiana Johnson, Will Chen, Neil Tibbott, Diane Buckshnis, Vivian Olson, Susan Paine and Laura Johnson. (City of Edmonds)
After long debate, Edmonds bans homeless people from living outside

The criminal law is unenforceable if no shelter is open within 35 miles. The City Council approved it over public outcry.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.