Local Fourth of July celebrations will be vastly different this year.
There will be no chain saw wood carvings being made in Sedro-Woolley, parades on city streets or in-person gatherings of those wearing red, white and blue.
“It’s going to be a sad summer with all of our events canceled ... Fourth of July is a big deal and important to me with the parade and the carving and everything,” Sedro-Woolley City Council member Chuck Owen said during a council meeting in May. “It’s going to be missed.”
But some from Sedro-Woolley to Anacortes are determined to keep at least a few traditions alive despite COVID-19.
One of them is Don Collen, a Korean War Army veteran who has for several years organized a flyover of military planes over Sedro-Woolley.
“They usually go at the peak of the parade; planes come and fly over and do maneuvers and put on quite a show. It’s really exciting,” Sedro-Woolley Mayor Julia Johnson said.
Although no parade is scheduled in Sedro-Woolley, the planes are expected to perform at noon. Three to five retired military planes will be flown by the “Wolfpack” stationed at Skagit Regional Airport.
“If people are outside in their backyards barbecuing and enjoying the day with their families, (the planes) would be nice (to see),” Johnson said.
Collen said if residents head for sidewalks or public parks to watch the show, they should abide by social distancing and face-covering guidelines.
While he said he understands why most of the city’s Fourth of July events have been canceled, he felt it was critical that something such as the flyover go on “in honor of all of the veterans and the first responders of the coronavirus pandemic.”
The 90-year-old Collen said he has a fondness for the prop-driven planes that will used in the flyover because they saved his life in Korea.
“When I was in Korea the guys that saved my ass ... they were the prop-driven bomber planes,” he said. “I wouldn’t be talking to you today if it wasn’t for those guys.”
Also in Sedro-Woolley — the city that boasts the state’s longest-running Fourth of July celebration and an international chain saw carving competition rooted in the region’s logging heritage — the local Lions Club has created a digital parade.
The “Loggerodeo 2020 VIRTUAL Grand Parade” on YouTube is about 10 minutes of snapshots from parades through the city.
Lions Club Secretary Carol Torset said because the organization has been leading the parade for more than 70 years, its members were compelled to find some way to celebrate during the pandemic-restricted summer.
“Have fun viewing it and looking for community members you will recognize!” she said.
In Anacortes, the city is collecting digital photos to compile its annual town photo, which is usually taken as part of the Fourth of July parade and celebration.
“Dress in your best red, white or blue and send us your photo!” an announcement from the city states.
Submissions are being accepted through July 2 and will be superimposed onto a background of the usual gathering site at Fifth Street and Commercial Avenue.