Poulsbo will have its first Veterans Day Parade downtown Nov. 11, offering a centralized community event in North Kitsap honoring those who have served or are serving in the military.
The parade starts at 11 a.m. on Front Street, consisting of members of community veterans organizations, Navy Color Guard and private entries. Some active-duty units are scheduled, including a request for a Coast Guard helicopter fly-over at 11:11 a.m. There will be food trucks that are veteran-owned and operated, along with live music from 2-8 p.m. featuring Joel Gibson Jr. and Navy Band Northwest at Waterfront Park.
“I wanted to honor our local community,” lead organizer Michael Perry said. “There’s so many active duty military. We’re all represented around here.”
Perry, owner of Timeless Cuts on Front Street and a Marine veteran, spearheaded the parade effort. He moved to the area over three years ago and heard from community members that Poulsbo didn’t have such an event. “I said I think we should change that,” Perry recalled. “How do we get a parade?”
The idea gained some steam after Perry talked about it with his barbershop clients and others who supported the idea. A committee was formed that has been meeting once a month. “A handful of us got together in the community and decided we were going to make this happen,” Perry said. “It’s kind of a grassroots thing. It had no starting point other than us.”
A huge asset has been Chamber of Commerce executive director Kathi Forsee, who has over two decades of experience putting on Viking Fest, a multi-day event. “She knows how to run a large-scale event,” Perry said. “Being that this is the first annual event, it’s hard to gauge how many people will be in attendance as well as participants, but we’re hopeful for a good turnout.”
Perry comes from a very patriotic family with many of them serving, including his father, a Vietnam War vet. “We support our troops,” he said. “It’s just our day for us to come together as a community of veterans to meet each other and network. There’s a very small percentage of Americans who have served.”
Knowing this is only the first parade, Perry is simply happy to provide the community with a platform to celebrate and support its veterans and will use the event to learn and improve the event for following years.
“I can’t see how this can be a bad thing, even if it’s the first year and mistakes occur or the parade’s too short or it rains—it doesn’t matter,” he said. “The message will be out there, and you got to start somewhere.”
For details go to poulsboveteransdayparade.com.