During a day that fluctuated between muggy heat and a few sprinkles of rain, the crowds in Anacortes showed up in force for the annual Fourth of July celebration.

After the annual Town Photo, the city hosted a patriotic program featuring singers as well as speakers from Anacortes and sister city Sidney, B.C.

“Bless the constitution and these United States of America,” Anacortes Town Crier Richard Riddell said.

Mayor Laurie Gere said she loves the Fourth of July because it’s a time to pay respects to the forefathers and their strength of spirit and unfailing courage.

Their vision culminated in being the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” she said.

Gere said it’s also about looking at what could still happen.

“It is a day to look forward to tomorrows that are bright with opportunities still to be explored and obtained,” Gere said.

She gave a shout out to former Councilwoman Erica Pickett, who served as the grand marshal in the parade. Pickett served in public office for the city for 34 years.

Gere also paid tribute to those military personnel serving in active duty to help keep the country free.

Kenny Podmore, Sidney’s town crier, also thanked the U.S. military.

“These amazing people put their lives at risks 24 hours of the day, protecting not only you and your beautiful country but other countries throughout the world,” he said.

Sidney Mayor Steve Price talked about the partnership between Sidney and Anacortes.

Before he and Podmore visited Anacortes for the Fourth of July, Gere and Riddell went to Sidney to join in a Canada Day celebration.

Price said attending each other’s events is an ideal way to continue to strengthen the relationship between the two cities.

“As communities we share many similarities,” he said.

That includes the maritime history of the communities, fishing and the ferry that links them.

Both cities have a ton of city and country pride, Price said.

After the patriotic program, the parade went down Commercial Avenue delighting the crowds. Prizes went to the best floats and the best marching groups.

Evans Funeral Chapel’s float, which featured a horse-drawn carriage carrying a flag-draped coffin (empty, according to the driver), took the top prize. Second place went to the Anacortes Robotics Booster Club, and third went to Anacortes Public Library.

The best marching group award went to Anacortes High School Varsity Cheer, followed by a second place award for the Twisted Pixies and third for the Anacortes Brewery van, which included several volunteers dressed as beer bottles.

Later in the day, the Port of Anacortes hosted the Rock the Dock concert, which featured a lot of dancing. Some sprinkles of rain between the bands (Old Town Tonic and the Pop Offs) cleared out the crowds a little, but by dark, people had filled the grass and the areas along the beach Seafarers’ Memorial Park to watch the fireworks display.

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