What to expect at this year’s Fourth of July celebration

The 60 member Bensen Minnesota High School marching band is set to participate in the 4th of July parade. Photo courtesy of the city of Blaine.

By Alyssa Evans

It’s almost time for Blaine’s annual Old Fashioned Fourth of July celebration. Here’s what’s on deck:

The Blaine Senior Center will host a pancake breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. The meal price is $6 for adults and $4 for children.

After breakfast, festival-goers can visit the Show ‘N Shine Car Show, which features over 200 classic vehicles; the show goes from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. downtown.

The Blaine Library Book Sale will have plenty of books on offer for those who want some good reads for the summer, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Arts and Crafts Street Fair will feature local artists and artisans selling their work from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. downtown.

The old-fashioned parade will start at noon along Peace Portal Drive. Parade staging is based on a first-come, first-served basis. Pre registration isn’t required to participate, but organizers recommend filling out the registration form ahead of time and bringing it to the line-up. Forms are available at blainechamber.com. Registration starts at 9 a.m. and parade judging is at 11 a.m.

A surprise this year and hailing from Bensen, Minnesota, the Bensen High School 60-person marching band is set to perform in the parade.

“This year there will be band members for whom this will be their first time to see a mountain or the ocean,” said Brock Duncan, the band’s director.

Live music will sound throughout the day. Artists performing include Army National Guard Brass Band, Springman Family Band, The Replayzmentz, Silver City Band and Checo Tohomaso.

The Semiahmoo Resort is holding a seaside barbecue from 4 to 9 p.m. Admission to the barbecue is $26.95 per adult, $12.95 for children ages six through 12 and free for children five years old and under.

To cap it all off, a fireworks show begins at 10:15 p.m. at Blaine Marine Park.

This year, the city of Blaine and the Blaine Chamber of Commerce are working to reduce landfill waste. At the event, volunteers will help the expected 10,000 attendees sort their waste at designated stations.

How can I get around?

Most streets downtown will be closed starting at 9 a.m.

The parade route will go along Peace Portal Drive, which will be closed from F Street to Cherry Street until the end of the parade. H and Martin streets will be closed between Peace Portal Drive and 6th Street for the street fair and car show. Both 3rd and 4th streets will be closed, except for parade and car show participants.

The historic Plover ferry, the oldest foot-passenger ferry in Washington state, will run June 30 through July 4 from noon to 8 p.m. from the Blaine Harbor to Semiahmoo Resort.

Parking at the resort will be closed to the public. Those who would like to park at the resort must be staying at the resort or have a restaurant reservation. A shuttle from the APA Museum parking lot to the resort will be provided between 9 and 11 p.m. for fireworks viewing.

Can I light off fireworks?

New fireworks laws in Blaine are currently in effect after the Blaine City Council passed two ordinances restricting the use of consumer fireworks in 2016.

Consumer fireworks are completely banned for all of Blaine west of Shintaffer Road, which includes Semiahmoo Spit. They are also banned on all publicly owned lands, including city parks, around the harbor and school grounds.

On the east side of Blaine, it’s legal to shoot off fireworks from 10 a.m. to midnight on July 4.

Fireworks are allowed in Birch Bay. The Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce asks those who choose to light fireworks to clean any resulting debris to reduce the impact on the community and animals living in the area. Anyone who lights fireworks at the bay is asked to bring garbage bags and a flashlight to clean up after dark and take trash with them.

In 2016, volunteers collected  about 4 tons of garbage after the Fourth. Trash bags will be handed out at the Birch Bay Visitor’s Center and The C Shop for July 5 volunteer cleanup.

Fireworks can be discharged in Birch Bay on July 3 from 6 to 11 p.m., July 4 from 6 p.m. to midnight and July 5 from 6 to 11 p.m., according to the chamber. Firework sales will continue until 9 p.m. on July 5, which is also the last day to shoot off fireworks.

The Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office encourages consumers to keep fireworks stored away from children and to use care when selecting the area where fireworks will be discharged. Having water and leaving pets inside, leaving fireworks only for adults to light and cleaning up fireworks debris are ways to be safe when lighting fireworks.

For more information about Blaine’s Fourth of July celebration, visit blainechamber.com. Find a full list of events on page 8.

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