SEDRO-WOOLLEY — On the morning of Independence Day, people donning red, white and blue mingled along the streets of historic Sedro-Woolley for the climax of the 71st annual Loggerodeo.

Early risers lined up for the 42nd annual Great Sedro-Woolley Foot Race on Thursday, accompanied by the buzzing of professional chain saw carvers in the background.

Along the parade route, people arrived to set up chairs and eat breakfast at Hometown Café or Joy’s Bakery & Café.

Teri Bever and her cousin Betty Neucome did both. As Bever sat on the curb watching the runners take off, a cinnamon roll from Joy’s sat beneath her lawn chair.

Born in Sedro-Woolley, Bever said there’s nowhere better to be on the Fourth of July. She tries to attend Loggerodeo for all of its seven days.

“There’s something every day,” Bever said. “Yesterday, my favorite part was the chain saw carving. Today, my favorite part is the parade.”

Though a sheet of gray hung in the sky throughout the day, Loggerodeo participants’ smiles warmed as the day continued.

Kurtis Scoby of Mount Vernon, who ran the two-mile race with a flag raised high over his head, said he looks forward to watching his daughter enjoy the parade each year.

Scoby was one of many runners trying to make the race more challenging.

Brandon Benfit of the Lake McMurray Fire Department runs the race each year wearing full gear. He ditched the mask for his eighth year.

“I haven’t trained,” he said, smiling wide after crossing the finish line.

At the chain saw carving competition, seasoned professionals put the finishing touches on their carves. Onlooker Rob Matire and his father watched as they sat on leftover logs.

“That one is going to win,” Matire said, pointing to Argentinian carver Adrian Bois’ skeleton. “I can’t remember seeing anything that cool.”

Each of the 16 carvers was invited because of their track record as top moneymakers or winners of other competitions. Emcee and auctioneer George Kenny said carvers are “knocking down (his) door trying to get into this” because of the competition’s prestige.

For many Loggerodeo attendees, the event is a way to connect with the community and reunite with friends and loved ones.

At the parade, hugs clogged up walkways and shouts echoed through the streets. Parade organizers estimated more than 10,000 people came out to watch some 130 floats and acts.

Later, attendees observed the Greg Bisbey Logging Exhibition, wandered around the arts & crafts fair and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the annual carnival and fireworks.

“My favorite part is when we just come together,” said parade chairman Rose Torset. “It’s awesome.”

— Reporter Zoe Deal: 360-416-2139, zdeal@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Zoe_SVH

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