It’s an hour before the Orting Daffodil Parade begins, but thousands of people already line Washington Street. Barbecue smoke and music fill the air.
One difference between the start of the Puyallup parade and the start of the Orting parade: two layers of clothing. It’s warm, almost balmy in Orting. T-shirt weather. Mount Rainier shone like a brilliant white marble on the drive in.
I’m going to get some barbecue before the parade. Those grande marguerites at the Los Pinos restaurant beer garden looked mighty tempting. But I’ve got willpower, boss. I swear.
Orting has turned the Daffodil Parade into much more than a chance to wave at marching bands. It’s a full-blown community festival/block party/carnival.
As with any carnival, there’s plenty to eat. Corn dogs, donuts, popcorn, cotton candy, funnel cakes – you name it, it’s here.
The Orting Lions may be the star of the culinary show. The club expects to sell 1,200 half chickens at today’s parade. The club barbecues scores of them at a time.
The tasty chicken cost $6. But for an extra $2 you can get a full dinner: chicken, pork and beans, a dinner roll, fruit cocktail and a soda to wash it down. You’ll also get some plastic silverware, but a helpful passerby informed me I wouldn’t need them.
“In Orting we just use our hands,” he said.
PARADE ONLY PART OF SHOW:
Orting City Park is alive with sights, sounds and commerce, and the Daffodil Parade is only part of the show.
Vendors will sell you towels and sunglasses, puppets and purses, hair extensions and dog toys. Kids can ride ponies, play basketball or swing in the playground.
The south end of the park is a musical cacophony as numerous bands warm up and wait for their turn to march.
Seventh-graders Elena Dildine and Kayla Simonson, clarinet players in the Orting Middle School band, waited to march in their third parade of the day. They confessed to be a little bit tired.
The band has beeen preparing for the Daffodil Parade sine the beginning of March.
“It’s pretty big,” Elena said.
The bands aren’t the only participants holding up well under a full days worth of performances. The Daffodil Princesses smiled and waved cheerfully from their float near the head of the parade. They greeted budding princesses by the dozen along the parade route through Orting.
• The River Valley BMX bike group dedicated its ride in the parade to Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Kent Mundell, one of six local officers killed in the line of duty last year.
• The Pierce County Library System’s drill team is one of the more novel entries in the parade. The librarians perform choreographed routines with book carts. Who knew?
• The Orting High School cheerleaders and marching band and the Orting Community Float (honored with the parade’s grand sweepstakes award) got hearty ovations.
• As the parade winds down, the temperature has dropped quite a bit. It’s pretty cool, but it’s been a beautiful spring day.