Eatonville has seen a century’s worth of the worst weather the Northwest can muster, so town residents weren’t about to let the threat of showers rain on their parade Saturday morning.
Several hundred of them lined downtown streets to celebrate the town’s centennial. Lo and behold, the rain held off.
“Once again, the Lord prevailed,” declared Cyndy Simianer, director of the Eatonville Community Float. “It never rains on my parade.”
The parade was part of a full weekend of festivities as the foothills town of 2,300 celebrated its 100th birthday. Saturday also featured a Volksmarch and a street fair.
At the fair, vendors sold everything from jewelry to quilts and birdhouses. Children tested their strength on a rock wall or crawled through a giant inflatable caterpillar.
Sisters Lily and Ashley Hudspeth accepted balloon “swords” from Speedy the clown.
Lilly’s favorite part of the parade? “The candy!”
There was plenty of that, plus a caravan of antique fire trucks, waving politicians and dancing youngsters.
Perched on the official centennial float, 11-year-old Emily Randolph sang a revised version of John Mellencamp’s “Small Town.” She rewrote the lyrics with her grandmother, Carol Slettvet. A sample lyric:
“Eatonville was a timber town/Lots of logs came through our town.”
Indeed, logging was a key industry in Eatonville even before it incorporated in 1909.
Namesake T.C. Van Eaton founded a store, a real estate office and a post office that served loggers working in the nearby forest. The fledgling town also had a sawmill and a lumber company.
That heritage was evident Saturday as a logging truck loaded with timber paraded through town.
Mayor Tom Smallwood said the town has spent a year planning this weekend’s festivities. Those who attended Saturday’s events seemed to appreciate it.
“Somebody came to me this morning and said, the town’s electric,” Smallwood said. “You can see it today.”
EVENTS CONTINUE SUNDAY
* Salmon Bake: Noon to 4 p.m., Mill Pond Park, 201 Center Street W. $10 donation. Cowlitz Tribe members will cook the salmon in native style; Nisqually Tribe members will provide the fish; the Wapato Indian Club will perform.
* Centennial Family Seminar, 1 to 3 p.m., Eatonville High School. South Pierce County Historical Society sponsors presentations on the history of Eatonville, followed by a tour of the T.C. Van Eaton home and tea. RSVP: Audrey Roley, 360-569-2650.
For more information, click here.
For a previous TNT story about 100 years in Eatonville, click here.