It was a perfect weekend, or we should say, a magical weekend for a party. A big party. A party that spilled from the basketball courts at the newly named Aubrey Davis Park to art in the Wells Fargo parking lot to Luther Burbank Park for fireworks. The city had everything tidy and trim for the big weekend. Staff and dozens of volunteers came together to organize and manage the biggest day on the Island calendar. Volunteers and vendors were ready, offering everything from snow cones to fine art.
But the Grand Parade is the centerpiece of the weekend. People bring chairs and gather early along 78th Avenue S.E. Small children spill into the street to get the best view. In it, we see everyone from strangely dressed adults representing the Island’s Community Fund to wriggling wiener dogs to local celebrities waving from fine cars. There are Girl Scouts and drill teams, cheerleaders and tiny children on tiny John Deere tractors. There is the 60-plus member Mercer Island Community Band with celebrated percussionist Bert Pound on the cymbals. There are Hometown Heroes and politicians, Boy and Girl Scouts, karate kids and more. After the parade, the crowds stream into Mercerdale Park to pay respects to our veterans, then on to the street fair.
Along 77th Avenue S.E. and S.E. 32nd Street, fairgoers nibbled and crunched, and waited willingly in line for something cool to drink. It is rare that Islanders can emerge out of the gray for no other reason than to have a good time. As they perused the offerings on the street, neighbors commiserated about this and that or what absolutely needed to be done here and there. There was both serious talk and lots of laughter. Those with differences could converse and be civil, surrounded by the evidence of everything that is good about living in a small town.
It did not matter that tolling looms or that the price of gasoline is still over $4 a gallon. We were all there — staying home, enjoying ourselves and our community, its parks and our neighbors and friends.
Everything we needed was right here.