Before moving to Edmonds, I hadn’t really participated in the 4th of July in a while. The sizzle of a sparkler, that smell of the remaining smoke from my favorite firework (the spinning, color changing, pop-up Friendship Pagoda,) and finding the leftovers from my firecracker-loving uncle, who still always magically has one on hand, is what fills my early ’80s 4th of July childhood memories.
I didn’t get back into the swing of 4th-related activities until the neighbors filled us in not only about the kids parade — which explained why they were adding streamers and decorations to scooters and wagons — but also that our street’s proximity to Lynnwood allowed for that same kind of fireworks in the street in front of your house that I was used to. (Fireworks are now illegal in both Lynnwood and Edmonds.)
While I was late to the “Edmonds Kind of 4th” festivities, which started over 100 years ago, we now participate in and look forward to part of what is offered as the “annual all-day party” in Edmonds to celebrate the 4th. And this year, there is a new family-friendly July 4th event — a Baby Brackett 1k run, which is offered in addition to a 5K run that starts off the day’s festivities.
In fact, I was about to say that each 4th of July in Edmonds starts out with the “Beat Brackett 5k,” but in my experience, the true start of the 4th is putting out your chairs for the parade. In the past, people set their chairs out days ahead of the parade, but again this year, the mayor’s office is asking parade-goers to wait until after 6 p.m. on July 3 to put out chairs for 4th of July parade. This rule, the mayor’s office notes, “allows parade-goers to save seats while also keeping sidewalks safe for pedestrians.” Chairs or items left out ahead of this time will be removed by the Public Works Department and can be retrieved at the Public Works Building, 7110 210th St. S.W., during business hours. The city also asks you to “refrain from chaining or otherwise attaching chairs to each other and to stationary items such as trees, sign posts, etc..”
The Edmonds Chamber of Commerce calls the “Beat Brackett 5k,” which takes off from Edmonds City Park at 10:00, the “perfect kick-off to a full day of 4th of July festivities taking place in the heart of historic downtown Edmonds.” This year, the chamber is adding the “Baby Brackett 1k” which is great for families with small children who can’t go the full 5k distance. The 1k race, which cost $15 per family of four if you pre-register, begins after all the 5K runners, and Ol’ Man Brackett, take off from the starting line. All children participating will be rewarded at the finish line. If you’re planning on going to the parade after, this is a good way to have your kids expend some energy before staying semi-stationary while the floats pass by.
The “Beat ‘ol man Brackett” competition, based on Edmonds’ founder George Brackett, is a part of the yearly race — and Brackett-inspired ‘fake’ beards will be available for runners to don during the race. Once all 5k racers have left the starting line, ‘ol man Brackett takes off and while this special runner may don a big gray beard, he isn’t slow. Any racer that finishes before ‘ol man Brackett (the chamber says it was only 48 runners last year) will collect their wristband and a earn a chance to ‘be’ Brackett in next year’s race! There is also an awards ceremony with medals for top 5k finishers and a costume contest for the best “4th- themed” runner.
According to the chamber, racing in the “Beat Brackett” 5k helps fund the entire “Edmonds Kind of 4th” celebration, noting that “your race registration, business sponsorships and the Hazel Miller Foundation grant are all responsible for funding our independence day in Edmonds.” You can find details and register for the race by visiting BeatBrackett.com or by calling the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce at 425-670-1496.
The race is followed by the Children’s Parade at 11:30 a.m., which stages in the former IGA (now Ace Hardware) parking lot. This parade welcomes kids and families in the “best red, white, and blue holiday costumes, along with decorated bikes, scooters, strollers, and wagons.” There will be awards for “Best Bike/Scooter,” “Best Wagon/Stroller,” “Most Patriotic” and “Most Original.” This is always such a sweet event and since parade participants often throw candy, it’s fun for the kids on the sidelines to catch that candy and look out for friends.
The main parade follows at noon with a mix of “marchers, patriotic costumes, music, floats and classic cars from local businesses, bands, dance groups, civic organizations, police, fire and military groups, and even some Star Wars characters!” Until now, and only because I have a kid marching in the main parade this year, the Star Wars characters have been the biggest hit with my kids and, well, us. I always get a good picture or two and I get to make my insider Star Wars joke about my kids whispering “Execute Order 66” to the appropriate character. Click HERE for more information on both parades!
The July 4th evening celebration at Civic Field is much more about just getting a spot and waiting for the fireworks at 10 p.m.. We walked down to Civic Field a couple of years ago to visit friends camped out on a blanket with their kids, and I was surprised at all that was going on. It had that fun, community feeling I was lucky enough to get as a kid by playing with my neighbor friends without constant supervision. There will be over a dozen local food trucks and vendors so you can catch dinner there and even get your face painted. There is music on stage at Civic Stadium at 7 p.m. and the Brackett’s Beard & Mustache Contest will be held at 8:30 p.m.. There will be prizes for winners in the categories of Best Natural Mustache, Best Natural Beard, and Best Festive (where “natural or fake fur” is welcome!)
There is a lot to choose from in Edmonds on the 4th, whether you want to be out all day or just pick one event, which is more our speed. You can find all the information you need on EdmondsFourth.com!
— By Jennifer Marx
Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two young boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time. You can find her on Twitter trying to make sense of begging kids to ” just eat the mac n cheese” @jen_marx.