An audible calm pervaded the scene. The spectators quietly conversed among themselves as they waited for it to begin. A small passenger airplane flew overhead. The hot sun beat down on me.
And then, it started.
What am I describing? I am describing the annual Renton River Days Parade, a local festival which attracted families from all over Renton and the immediate surrounding area, such as West Hill and the Renton Highlands. The attractions featured in the parade were just as diverse as the people, with everyone from local politicians to school marching bands to Ms. Washington to the Seattle Seafair Pirates.
The parade participant which was nearest and dearest to my heart, however, was undoubtedly Lee's Martial Arts. They featured a cool board breaking move while on parade, some bo-staff twirling, and a bunch of students all marching together. As they do every year, they went down to Liberty Park and held the Breakathon, in which they broke boards to raise money for Community in Schools of Renton. Yours truly was supposed to help out at this event by holding boards and manning a booth or some-such activities. Unfortunately, I forgot my uniform and as a result was late to the party, as it were. I did, however, get the opportunity to break a leftover board with a nice, solid punch. Anyhow, I believe that the Breakathon this year was, once again, a great success.
Getting back to the parade, there was an ever-present aura of joy and fun, as the parade participants handed out candy and other S.W.A.G. (Stuff We All Get) to the spectators. The Wal-Mart guys handed out school supplies. Various local businesses handed out flyers. Even Fred Myer handed out water bottles. However, I suppose I should mention a few particularly tasteless participants in the parade. Namely, the decidedly gross looking zombie/ghost/horror people, and these also decidedly gross looking knockoffs of the aforementioned Seattle Seafair Pirates. I think they're called the Buccaneers or something, but all I know is that they're in the parade every year, and they always look pretty nasty. Then again, pirates being pirates, maybe that was the intended effect?
As for the festival itself, there were dozens of booths, I'd even say nearly a hundred, which were even more diverse than the parade. There was a GOP booth, manned by Mr. Bill Stinson, who I had previously met at the King County GOP Picnic. There was a Mountain Mist booth. There was a whole half of the grounds reserved for art-related booths, including this one guy who made fancy-looking pendants and earrings, another guy who made jewelry out of sand dollars (I got one for my sister), and another booth where these two ladies sold this fancy looking soap. There was also a booth for a children's chess program, where I acquired a Chess piece key chain.
All in all, it was a very nice festival this year, and I earnestly desire that I could explore the booths and attractions for the whole weekend. It's a very nice festival, and I wholeheartedly recommend it for tourists and residents alike who find themselves in the area at the time. I have fond memories of past Renton River Days Festivals, and this year was no exception. If you don't have any place to go tomorrow, and you're in the area, go down to Renton River Days at Liberty Park. Bring your kids. You'll both have a blast.
Image from personal collection.