Tons of sun, family fun highlight Tacoma’s Junior Daffodil Parade

Staff writerApril 12, 2014 

Springtime math: 1 sunny day + 2,000 excited kids + 10,000 daffodils + 100 dogs = X

X = Chaos?

Well, yes. But in a good way.

That was the equation Saturday at the 2014 Junior Daffodil Parade, North Tacoma’s annual rite of spring.

Thousands of children convened on the Proctor District, filling the streets with legions of tiny princesses and pirates, marching bands, unicycles and clowns.

Adoring parents either marched alongside or lined the sidewalks of the little business district, just as they have every year for the past 24 years.

“I love the families coming together,” said Susan Nygard, who helped shepherd a dozen children from Mary Lyon Elementary School’s Headstart programs along the six-block route.

“It’s such a joy,” Nygard said. “The kids on their scooters and bikes. It’s such a family time for everybody.”

The annual spectacle has been around long enough so that many of the parents remember marching in the parade themselves.

The parade’s volunteer announcers, Ann Thomas and her nephew Tim Church (whose real job is Communications Director at the Washington State Department of Health) have been at the microphones since the earliest years.

Nygard wasn’t in the Junior Parade, but she remembers marching in the parade’s big brother, the annual Daffodil Festival Grand Floral Parade, with the Lincoln High School marching band back in the 1960s.

Nygard said she dressed for this year’s parade as “Happiness.” Her interpretation included running shoes, backpack, a yellow tutu, tie-dyed T-shirt and blue hair.

“I wore the blue hair because I’m a program specialist, and it makes me look important,” she laughed.

Daffodil Festival Queen Marissa Modestowicz, a senior at Emerald Ridge High School, and 24 Daffodil princesses were stationed at the corner of 26th and Proctor, strategically placed to give hugs, kisses and high-fives to passing children.

Steve Curran, the owner of a Proctor District karate school, marched in the parade with 55 of his students, all dressed for action.

He and his students have been in at least 20 previous Junior Daffodil parades, he said.

“This is the best part of Tacoma,” Curran said. “It’s all about the kids.”

Rob Carson: 253-597-8693

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