Come join the parade, or maybe two

Having grown up in the heart of the Puyallup Valley, large community parades are a long standing tradition for our family.

The largest by far, and one of the first of the year that kicks off the start of parade season is the Daffodil Festival Parade.

As a member of my junior high and high-school marching band, this April parade was always a crapshoot when it came to the weather.

Rain at the start of the parade in Tacoma could then become partial sunshine in Puyallup and Sumner and then back to rain again for the final portion in Orting.

It was a long day and exhausting but the rolling party atmosphere through four local towns with close to a hundred of your schoolmates and friends created some fun times I still vividly remember to this day.

This coming weekend, Bremerton and Poulsbo will host their premier parades. They are the Armed Forces Day Parade in Bremerton that kicks off at 10 a.m. and the Viking Fest Parade in Poulsbo with a start time of 2 p.m. Both of these groups have websites with all of the information you will need to attend.

Jason and I have volunteered the use of our convertible along with our collective parade driving experiences to the Miss West Sound Scholarship organization for use in several of the parades this year.

We have lucked out this week that the weather will be nice and have dug in to get the car detailed inside and out so that it looks tip top for the members of Miss West Sound we will be shuttling through the parades.

I have great respect for the women and girls who participate in local pageant and scholarship organizations. It is not as easy as it looks. A lot of people like to dismiss them as just beauty pageants, but they are not.

Decades ago at the age of 15, I competed in the 4-H equivalent of a pageant for the Pierce County Fair Royal Court.

I was not selected to be a member of the court in the end, but what I learned from the process at that critical and rather vulnerable age stuck with me my entire life.

I learned how to pull myself out of my shell. I gained the skills to present myself in public as the representative of an organization to various and unknown groups of people. I learned how to give public speeches, make small talk in all sorts of situations and promote my ideas clearly and effectively to a variety of audiences.

What I took away from the pageant selection process served me well during my high school years on the debate team and also in my early 20s as I interviewed and worked my way up through various positions and wage increases in the private sector job market.

It made me unafraid to engage in local civics, politics and education advocacy and it also laid the groundwork for my ability to write the columns that I do today.

Come out and enjoy the local parades this weekend and in the coming months. Give us a wave as you see us pass by with a special member of the Miss West Sound organization on board.



Colleen Smidt is a longtime resident of Bremerton and writes weekly about matters that affect her local community. You can reach her at colleensmidt@gmail.com.


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