EVERETT — For Susan and David Coffman, Tuesday’s Fourth of July parade in downtown Everett was a homecoming.
Tuesday’s parade was the first Fourth of July parade in Everett since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. A group of community members, known as the Fourth of July Foundation, took over the parade from city officials and brought it back after a three-year hiatus.
The Coffmans, who are both 67, heard the parade was coming back and decided to make a trip back. They’re also visiting family, but the parade played a role in their decision.
The conversation started in Arizona while they were trying to figure out what they wanted to do to celebrate the Fourth.
They ended up back in Everett.
“So we actually came up for the parade,” said Susan Coffman. Finishing her thought, David Coffman added, “and to see family.”
“(In the past) we came to this all the time,” David Coffman said.
The sidewalks along Colby Avenue were starting to fill up an hour before the parade started. The route followed Colby to Wall Street, one block east to Wetmore Avenue and then back to 25th Street.
The parade featured 62 entries, ranging from Snohomish County Search and Rescue to Boy Scout Troop 18.
Bringing it back was not without challenges — namely volunteers and fundraising, said Kerri Lonergan-Dreke, who serves as the president of the Fourth of July Foundation.
“People want community, they really do,” Lonergan-Dreke said. “And the city of Everett … they’re supportive behind the scenes, but they really need to stay focused on their priorities rather than having to man and run these events. I think it makes a lot of sense to have the community running it with the support of the city.”
Former Everett City Council member Scott Bader was instrumental in getting the parade back from its hiatus, parade co-chair Jonathan Nelson said. Bader began a community-led effort to organize the parade and met monthly and then weekly on Zoom.
Some of that work included the city’s public works, police and fire departments, but the group organized the rest, Nelson said.
“I stepped up to help pull together all the final logistics and planning over the last three months and helped do our volunteer orientations and trainings,” Nelson said. “Worked with vendors, porta potties, barricades, street closures and stuff … it was a solid extracurricular activity.”
There was hope to get everything ready to go for a 2022 parade, Nelson said, but by the time things began moving in April 2022 it was too late and they refocused on this year’s parade.
It all came together for two hours on Tuesday, as Everett once again held a beloved community event.
“It’s just been kind of putting the pieces of the puzzle together, figuring out what those pieces are and fitting together as a team,” Nelson said. “We all realized this was bigger than us.”