The Grand Old 4th of July annual community celebration on Bainbridge Island (population 24,000 and a 35-minute Washington State Ferry ride across Elliot Bay from Seattle) is produced and sponsored by the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce, with the help of dozens of volunteers and a handful of loyal sponsoring businesses.
We attended this year’s celebration with one of my college roommates (who lives on Bainbridge Island) on Tuesday, July 4th, 2017. This was a really classical all-American community celebration of American Independence Day and provided entertainment from sunup to sundown. The celebration included a traditional pancake breakfast and an all day street fair with vendors offering food, hand-crafted art, local business and non-profit information booths, and talented young artisan vendors. The Street Fair included more than 20 food vendors; international cuisines were well represented, with Peruvian, Thai, Asian fusion, Bavarian, Vietnamese, and Middle Eastern choices. During the day there were also foot races (to benefit Bainbridge Youth Services), the 2nd annual young artisan marketplace, a classic car show, a beer and wine garden, pony rides, a big purple slide, a fireworks show after dusk and, the most popular event – a mile-long hometown parade at 1 p.m.
We had the opportunity to enjoy the street fair, listen to a Barbershop Quartet sing old and new songs, and then eat excellent Malaysian fare while listening to a local band and watching young kids throw balls to dunk members of the Bainbridge High School water polo team in the dunk tank. The highlight of the afternoon was the hometown parade (see photographs). All in all, a wonderful glimpse of old-fashioned patriotism and community spirit in America.
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