Holidays Kingston

Independence Day the Kingston Way

Friday, July 07, 2017S.V. CAMBRIA

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The last time I celebrated the Fourth of July was probably 20 years ago, but I’m only guessing. It was then that Sally the Dog came into my life (David followed suit a few years later). Like most dogs she was deathly afraid of fireworks. But unlike most dogs, she took her fear out on my side of the bed – by peeing on it. Needless to say, I did whatever I could to steer clear of pyrotechnics over the years . . . or anything else that might upset Miss Sally. So, apart from teasing David about England losing its greatest colony in a war, we’ve never celebrated the occasion (D’s British and claims his countrymen were too busy fighting Napoleon to handle the job themselves – but just because the facts support him on this doesn’t mean he’s right, lol).

This year was different. After spending four weeks stuck in a hardstand in Olympia, we desperately needed to clean Cambria and get back to work listing her with a local yacht broker. Thanks to a last-minute cancellation at the Port of Kingston, we were able to do just that Sunday afternoon.

We’re not ones for crowds, but our need to move forward in this (seemingly) never-ending process outweighed our disdain for being surrounded by the masses. And I’m glad that it did.

I have to admit, the 241st anniversary of our country’s birth didn’t feel like a cause for celebration to me. I won’t get too political, but I harbour a strong dislike of the current administration based on their heartless policies and propensity to lie, to say the very least. So for me it felt more like a day of mourning, but Kingston changed that.

For a small community, they sure know how to throw a party. The festivities began on Monday with bouncy castles and blow-up ball rooms set up at the Village Green. There was a talent show, live music, races for the kids, and hot dogs throughout the day. In the evening, things moved to Mike Wallace Park (the marina’s backyard) where there was a beer garden and more bands. It was impressive.

Tuesday started off with a pancake breakfast at the local yacht club which was followed by a fun run. Meanwhile, the farmer’s market was in full swing at the marina. By noon, the main street was cleared of traffic and spectators where lining the road to watch the 4th of July parade –  the longest running one west of the Mississippi, or so they say.

This year’s theme was “Independence Day the Kingston Way” and it was a true community event with entries from the fire department, sheriff’s department, local schools, businesses, and bands. People cheered. Candy was thrown. And everyone had a great time. Our favourite float was one of the last ones featuring a Star Wars theme with dozens of marching Princess Leias (including a slave version pulling a paper mache Jabba the Hutt). They even had a cantina band – it was brilliant!

While events were taking place for the kids at the Village Green, we hid out on the boat until the evening. With a blanket in hand, we walked up to Mike Wallace Park to listen to some live music, eat a couple of hot dogs, and people watch. We never made it over to the beer garden, darn it!

Homebodies at heart, we packed things up after an hour or so and came back to Cambria where we sat on the aft deck and listened to the bands while we waited for the fireworks to start. For simplicity’s sake, I decided to use the iPhone to take pictures but wished I hadn’t. The show was fantastic and the photos don’t do it justice, so please don’t judge it by them.

So if you’re looking for a great place in Puget Sound to celebrate the 4th of July next year, give Kingston a try. You won’t be disappointed. But call early for a reservation. The marina is completely booked by 10 o’clock on the morning of January 2nd – it’s that good.

How about you? Did you do anything special to celebrate the 4th of July or did you avoid the crowds and hide out somewhere?

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  1. I envy your small town USA celebration. We were hoping there would be something like that in Gig Harbor, but alas. So many bad things have happened on the 4th of July, usually involving hospital emergency rooms of one kind or another, that I like to lay low on that day, just grateful to have gotten through one without anyone getting hurt or whatever. Too, we are of one mind on the current administration and our country's growing pains don't give me much cause for celebration. IN fact, some days I wonder if we did the right thing by firing the Motherland and going our own way. Still, we took heart ourselves this 4th. We spent the evening having dinner in our dinghy and listening to the National Guard Band play a selection of all kinds of music, including old favorite patriotic tunes. For us, that's about as good as it gets.

    1. I know what you mean about feeling low thanks to the current administration. It really is heartbreaking, and I'm not one of these gung-ho patriotic kind of people. The parade lifted my spirits, though. It was really nice to see so many folks just having fun and supporting their local community. There was one low point, however. We were walking back to Cambria and through the farmer's market when a man (who wasn't white) was walking around with his two young children (8 to 10 years old) waving a large Trump flag with a look of defiance on his face. Everyone just ignored him, but there was a lot of headshaking going on -- it was so inappropriate to the mood of the day.

  2. I'm glad you guys had a good time. We went to a county fair near us the evening before Independence Day (to watch UB40 perform and there were fireworks as well) and stayed home on the 4th, while we heard the booms all around Oakland and San Francisco for hours. Luckily, our current dogs did not have a problem with it. Nevertheless, we cuddled up with them and had a quiet night.

    While watching the fireworks the night before, Mark felt the same way as you, Stephanie. It felt totally out of place to celebrate this country knowing how it is being governed right now... I watched the spectacle and did not relate it to any presidents. I am naive that way, and not American or patriotic (yet). :-)

    1. There's no denying that it's a difficult time for this country, made even more so by the fact that approximately half the population suddenly feels like Russia is our ally and can be trusted. The fact that the checks and balances inherent to our democracy are containing some of the damage helps, but I'm really concerned about the US's standing in the world -- we've lost all credibility at this point. I don't care about being "number one". In fact, I think being knocked down a rung or two could help people realize that we lag behind so many other developed nations in areas that really count -- education, health care, infrastructure (i.e. not the number of weapons we have). But our credibility is something else entirely. I know how we arrived at this point in history (which is what makes me so sad), but I just can't find a way to understand it.

  3. We have exactly the same sentiments! And, the understanding part is just not happening. The next president will have a hard time restoring that credibility and it will take a while, before we can be (become) "proud" to be Americans again. Luckily, the rest of the world knows, this time, that at least 50% of Americans was against this turn of events, which is different from when Bush was reelected. Still, we are contemplating getting Mark a Belgian passport in the future. Not that this is a long-term solution, of course...