Whidbey Island hosts a wealth of July 4th attractions

— Created June 29, 2022 by Melanie Hammons

By Melanie Hammons

From north to south and points in between, there’s no lack of activities around Whidbey Island in July. The bonus attraction is, some of these get going before the July 4th holiday, and some even last all summer long.

American Roots
Music sets the mood for everything Americana-related this month. From the north end of the island, beginning Saturday and runningthrough August 27, Deception Pass State Park announces the popular 2022 American Roots Concert Series. Now in its 16th year, come enjoy a variety of musical traditions including jazz blues, Latin, Brazilian, Bluegrass, Sea Shanteys, steel pan, Celtic, and mariachi. Opening the concert series Saturday, the park welcomes Miho and Diego, with their bold blend of Latino, Japanese and American music, featuring the “quera,” a traditional Andean flute, and the marimba.

These free concerts are in the outdoor North Beach Amphitheater of the Park, from 7 – 8 p.m. Deception Pass Park staff would like to remind everyone attending that cars must display a current Discover Pass in order to park there for free. For more information, see www.parks.wa.gov/1245/American-Roots-2022-Concert-Series.

Oak Harbor Festivities
Oak Harbor plans a multi-faceted Independence Day celebration as well, which runs Saturday through Monday. Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Vicki Graham, says the holiday’s events begin in Windjammer Park Saturday at the Ship Wreck Shores Splash Park. All sorts of food trucks will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The customary street fair Sunday and Monday, July 3 and 4, begins at 10 a.m., and features merchandise vendors and arts and crafts. The fun builds from there with a parade that starts at 11 a.m. on July 4.

Beginning at 8 p.m. on July 4, attendees can look forward to an evening of music billed as family-friendly entertainment by the band False Sense of Security. The group, sponsored by the local Ace Hardware store, promises a show that will be “Rockin’ live in Oak Harbor.”

The evening culminates in the always much-anticipated fireworks show, which usually begins sometime after dark.

“We encourage everyone to come out and safely have some fun,” Graham said. She said more information about Oak Harbor’s July 4 celebration can be found at the website www.oakharborchamber.com or on the Chamber’s Facebook page.

Blue Fox Fireworks
For those who enjoy movies plus a fireworks show, be sure to check out what the Blue Fox Drive-in, 1403 Monroe Landing Road in Oak Harbor, has to offer. Social media manager Kelsey Bratt says this is the drive-in’s third year of featuring a July 4 fireworks show, a tradition she said they’re glad to continue. Following the fireworks, stick around for a double feature to round out the evening. The first show will be “Minions,” with the second feature to be announced soon.

Those interested in viewing Blue Fox’s fireworks must pay the $10 car reservation in advance. Box office opens at 4 p.m. Admission prices per person will be collected upon arrival, and the staff requests that people arrive at their allotted time slot. For more information about admission, or additional questions, please refer to the website bluefoxdrivein.com/4th-of-July.

Pet friendly, no-fireworks fun
With at least two scheduled fireworks shows in the works, it’s nice to know there are alternatives for those who are more into peace and quiet. Mark your calendar for Sunday, July 3. From 3 to 9 p.m. at Freeland’s Greenbank Farm, Tammy Cox of Whidbey Island Markets has announced a veteran/pet friendly event and community picnic. It is a no-fireworks celebration intended to give veterans, trauma survivors, pets, and others a chance to relax and enjoy themselves.

“This is the first year we’ve been involved in something like this,” Cox said. “But I’ve been approached several times by people who said a no-fireworks picnic would be greatly appreciated by many individuals. There’ll be opportunities to grill food, share meals, throw Frisbees, fly kites, etc.” she said. In keeping with that same spirit, attendees are asked to not bring weapons, political clothing or signage to the event.

Since this is a pet-friendly event, there will be several fun dog contests from 4 to 6 p.m., such as Best Woof, Best Begging Face, etc. All nonprofits devoted to military personnel services or pet welfare are invited to come set up informational displays or fundraisers. Registration is required, but there is no charge. Food trucks, veteran-owned businesses, or those with wares related to veterans or pets are invited as well; there is a small charge of $10 – $30 for these, and registration is required. For more information, or to register, see the website whidbeyislandmarkets.com.

Maxwelton Parade is back
South Whidbey rightfully lays claim to one of the longest running July 4 parade events island-wide. Only during the two World Wars and the recent pandemic has the Maxwelton Independence Day Parade in Clinton ever been canceled. Harriet Arnold, a supporter and organizer, in fun calls the one-eighth-mile route “the world’s shortest parade.”

“Everyone is invited to participate. It begins at noon, starting from Swede Hill Road, and ends at Dave Mackie Park. Registration starts at 10:30 a.m.; there’s no cost to participate, and afterward, there’ll be fun family games in the ballpark,” said Arnold. She added there will be shuttle bus service available.

For more information about the Maxwelton Independence Day Parade, send any questions to maxweltoncc@outlook.com. See also the Facebook page for Maxwelton Community Club.