As the charter bus carrying the Daffodil Festival royal court pulled up to Sparks Stadium in Puyallup on Saturday, the clouds dissipated and the sun shined over hundreds of people lining the streets.
The unexpected bright weather matched the cheery attitudes of Queen Ashley Becker and 23 princesses from high schools across Pierce County.
A little rain — and even hail — that fell halfway through the Tacoma leg of the 82nd annual Grand Floral Parade would not slow them down.
“We’re all making memories,” said Becker, the first queen in Bonney Lake High School history.
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Princess Rachel Price from Eatonville wasn’t fazed, either.
“This day is finally here,” she said. “It feels like we’ve been waiting all year for it.”
Bagpipes echoed as entrants took their spots one by one to march through downtown Puyallup for the second of four parades Saturday.
Debbie Sisson of Fife wasted no time claiming her portion of the sidewalk, and she came prepared.
Bundled in blankets, Sisson was among about a half-dozen spectators huddled under a pop-up canopy. She staked her claim around 7 a.m.
But it was merely precautionary.
“We knew the sun was going to come out,” Sisson said, laughing.
It didn’t stay for long. Rain came and went throughout the day, and parade attendees took cover where they could.
Young girls carrying banners had yellow tulle tutus peeking out beneath clear rain ponchos.
Kristen Clare of Puyallup knew the weather wouldn’t fully cooperate, but that was irrelevant.
“I told him, ‘We’re going, rain or shine,’ ” she said of her husband.
Many crowd favorites were among more than 150 entrants during Saturday’s parade, including the Seafair Pirates and marching bands from many Pierce County high schools.
The Puyallup City Council glided by in a vintage firetruck, and Tacoma Rainiers mascot Rhubarb the Reindeer looked slick riding in a convertible Chevrolet Chevelle.
The Curtis High School marching band had spectators young and old on their feet, dancing to their rendition of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” and Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy flew a U.S. Open banner, plugging the upcoming golf championship at Chambers Bay in University Place.
In Sumner, 6-year-old Isabelle Gaines of Graham awaited her second princess sighting (she had already gotten to read with some of the royalty at Rocky Ridge Elementary School).
But the poofy yellow dresses were a little too girly for 8-year-old Cody Davis.
“Ewwww,” he said with a chuckle. “I don’t wanna meet princesses!”
Abby Morse, 4, of Bonney Lake came dressed for the occasion in her Princess Elsa outfit, from the Disney movie “Frozen.”
It wasn’t necessarily in honor of the older royalty, however.
“She lives in her Elsa dress,” mom Summer Morse said.
Soon 2014 Daffodil Queen Marissa Modestowicz, also dressed in blue, floated by in another Daffodil Festival float leading a choreographed dance number with other former festival royalty.
About a half-hour into the Sumner leg of the parade, more hail rattled on the pavement. But attendees stood their ground, pulled out their umbrellas and continued to celebrate.
Steve Collins and his 11-year-old son, Nolan, were prepared. The pair stood under the giant umbrella waiting to see Nolan’s sister Taylor march with Bonney Lake’s Mountain View Middle School.
“My favorite part of the parade is when my sister comes,” Nolan said.
As the floats, tractors and other participants approached the end of the Sumner parade route, energy was still high.
They rounded the corner at Main Street and Valley Avenue en route to the last leg of the parade in Orting.
There the royal court showered the crowd in daffodils from their float, as they do every year for the finale.
A broadcast of the parade will be shown on KONG-TV at 8 p.m. Saturday (April 11).