Celebrating Rhody in a pandemic

The parade must go on

Jane Stebbins
Posted 5/20/20

About 30 people lined up along Lawrence Street in Port Townsend to watch a parade of 33 vehicles wend their way down the road for the canceled 85th annual Rhododendron Festival Grand Parade …

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Celebrating Rhody in a pandemic

The parade must go on

Posted

About 30 people lined up along Lawrence Street in Port Townsend to watch a parade of 33 vehicles wend their way down the road for the canceled 85th annual Rhododendron Festival Grand Parade Saturday.

A fire engine, its siren screaming and horn honking, led the parade, followed by cars, some of them decorated with the iconic flower — and one vehicle with a mask over its grille in a show of solidarity for its human compatriots who have had to wear masks while in public.

The coronavirus pandemic has shuttered stores, restaurants and schools for more than two months, and while some cities, including Port Townsend, are starting to loosen restrictions, few people are out on the streets.

Empty chairs also lined the street, spaced 6 feet apart for social distancing requirements, a poignant and sharp contrast to past parades where thousands cheered on costumed children and adults, pets and decorated floats before the Cake Picnic at Pope Marine Park.

The cake parade was not forgotten this year, either, although people were advised to come out to nearby streets, hold up their baked goods and enjoy them at home.

“Nothing gets in the way of our Rhody,” one woman exclaimed, waving a scorecard of “10” at a passing car. “Not even a pandemic.”

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