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Armed Forces Festival tops itself yet again
A group of immigrants from the former Soviet Union putting up a roof in East Bremerton looked to the sky when the C-17 from McChord Air Force Base roared overhead.
What is that? a crewman asked the postman as he walked past.
The sound of freedom, he replied.
That scene took place away from downtown, but captured much of the energy of the kickoff to the 58th annual Armed Forces Festival, keyed by the longest-running Armed Forces Day parade Saturday, May 20.
An estimated 45,000 people lined the downtown sidewalks for the parade and the heroes barbecue immediately afterward served 6,000, said festival chairman Cris Larsen.
Larson said he was ecstatic about the best Armed Forces Festival ever.
The weather held, the fly-over was amazing, he said. Number one was huge participation by every branch of the service. For everybody in Bremerton to have a chance to stand up and applaud members from every service, makes you feel ... (proud) to be an American.
One local serviceman was familiar with the festival but had not experienced it from a servicemans standpoint before.
It feels pretty good. We got a lot of cheers, people yelling and saying thank you, said U.S. Army Cpl. Brandon Terryll. It made me smile.
Terryll grew up in Bremerton but has been stationed at Fort Lewis for the past year.
For Larsens part, it was special to be able to talk with Medal of Honor recipient Bud Hawk, who rode in the parade.
Armed Forces Day came from what Bud Hawk did in 1945, Larsen said. Hes such a humble, gracious man that did so many amazing, incredible things. What an honor it was to have him in the parade.
In addition to the parade, folks flocked to the culinary arts competition, by far, the tightest competition in that event that Ive ever seen, Larsen said; the annual golf tournament; soapbox derby races; Kitsap HydroFest at Camp McKean and more.
Theres too many people doing way too much for our country right now and if I can find a way to honor and support them, Im glad to, Larsen said.
Armed Forces Day Parade results
Courtesy of Bremerton Area Chamber of Commerce
Commanders Award (Best Military Band)- Navy Band Northwest
Sweepstakes Award (Best Float/Towed Display)- Nile Temple AAONMS
Grand Marshals Award (Best Veterans Unit)- River Boat Patrol Gamewardens of Vietnam
Festival Award (Judges Choice)- Bremerton Health and Rehabilitation Center
Peoples Award (Crowd Favorite)- Combat Veterans International
Freedom Award (Best Military Unit-Active or Reserve) M1A1 Abrams Tank, Bravo Company, Washington National Guard
High School Bands (AAAA) First Place: Central Kitsap High School
Second Place: South Kitsap High School
High School Bands (AAA)- First Place: Sequim High School
High School Bands (AA)- First Place: Klahowya Secondary School
High School Drum Major- First Place: Olympic High School
Second Place: Bremerton High School
High School Flag Corps- First Place: Bremerton High School
Second Place: Klahowya Secondary School
High School Drill Teams- First Place: Bremerton High School
Junior High School Bands- First Place: Kingston Junior High School
Second Place: Sedgwick Junior High School
Junior High School Flag Corps- First Place: Kingston Junior High
Second Place: Ridgetop Junior High
Junior High School Drill Team- First Place: Central Kitsap Junior High
Second Place: Kingston Junior High
JROTC/Sea Cadet Unit- First Place: South Kitsap NJROTC
Second Place: Bremerton NJROTC
Best Youth Organization- Royal Rangers on the Trail to Camp Courage
Best Civilian Vehicle Unit- Kitsap Mustang Club
Best Equestrian Unit- Kitsap County Sheriffs Posse
Best Vintage Military Vehicle- Able Troop 113th Cavalry Squadron NW Chapter
Best Vintage Agricultural Equipment- Albert C. Kean Post #149 American Legion
Best Band in Category Not Listed- Lions Cross Drum Corps