PORT ORCHARD — There are a few things those living in South Kitsap have missed out on for a while. For example:
Warm, almost toasty temperatures and blue skies without a hint of clouds have been mostly absent for what seems months on end.
And the other? The traditional late June appearance of the Fathoms O’ Fun Grand Parade on Bay Street in downtown Port Orchard. In fact, the floats, classic cars and people marching alongside have been AWOL for two summers due to the pandemic.
That all changed on Saturday when the 53rd downtown parade made its appearance before thousands lining the city’s main business boulevard.
The parade signified a welcome adieu to COVID-19 (perhaps) and a return to civic normalcy in which crowds felt secure enough to gather shoulder to shoulder on Bay Street. Smiles aplenty flashed across the faces of parade watchers as they enjoyed the summertime event for the first time since 2019.
While candy was tossed to giddy kids lined up on the sidewalk curb and myriad political candidate supporters handed out flyers, the parade almost didn’t happen again for the third consecutive year. The city delayed approving the event as the COVID-19 infection numbers spiked this spring. As a result, a number of longtime event participants weren’t able to attend due to the short notice, which shortened the parade somewhat.
The next big summer event is the July 4 Fourth of July fireworks show over Sinclair Inlet, visible from the Port Orchard waterfront and Bremerton.