EDMONDS — The Edmonds Chamber of Commerce announced this week that it has named Rick Steves the 2021 “An Edmonds Kind of 4th Parade” grand marshal.
“He’s really invested back into the community where he’s grown up and is one of our larger employers,” Edmonds Chamber CEO and President Greg Urban said.
Steves, an Edmonds resident and University of Washington alumnus, is known by many as the colorful tour guide on the TV show “Rick Steves’ Europe.” He got his start in his 20s leading a community class at UW called “European Travel Cheap,” during which he described how to get the most out of traveling while living on a tight budget.
“All communities benefit from tourism to their community,” Urban said. “His being from Edmonds and having his business here does create a draw to Edmonds for people that are coming to visit his location and stay here and spend their money with our restaurants and our stores.”
In addition to being one of the city’s largest employers and drawing tourists, Steves contributed around $4 million to the development of the Edmonds Waterfront Center, the new home of the South County Senior Center that offers wellness programs, lifelong learning classes and community events, Urban said.
The chamber staff identifies individuals for the grand marshal honor by considering community leaders’ contributions to the betterment of Edmonds.
Previous grand marshals include Jean Hernandez, president of Edmonds College, and Ferrell Fleming, executive director of the Edmonds Senior Center. Due to the cancellation of the 2020 parade, Fleming will also be participating in this year’s parade as the 2020 grand marshal.
The chamber has tried to honor Steves for years and it is finally able to because the pandemic has kept him closer to home for the first time in three decades.
“As a child it was an Edmonds event I’d never miss. And this year I’m thrilled to help celebrate by being a part of the parade and honored to be the 2021 grand marshal,” Steves said in a news release. “I’ll be in that slow rolling car, waving, tossing candy, singing ‘Yankee Doodle’ and whatever I can to join with our entire community to celebrate our freedom, our democracy, and the blessings we have in being American citizens.”
Isabella Breda: 425-339-3192; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @BredaIsabella.