The Daffodil Parade has been a spring tradition for Pierce County since 1934, celebrating the agriculture industry in the Puyallup Valley. On Saturday (April 11), the parade marches on, and the Puyallup Float will be under the reign of Puyallup City Council member Julie Door.
The overall theme this year is “Shine your light with service.”
“The Daffadilions are using lighthouses, and I was trying to come up with another way of light, so I did the bright lights of Hollywood,” Door said. “With service, I went with the high school key clubs in the district because of their community service organizations. This is a way to spotlight them.”
On this year’s float, two students each from Emerald Ridge, Rogers and Puyallup high schools will pass though Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, and Orting come parade day. To embrace the theme, the float will be decorated with 500 stars to represent members of the key clubs from the high schools in the district.
Building the float is no easy task. Door and her team of volunteers have donated what she estimated to be about 650 to 700 cumulative hours as a group. While the float is the Puyallup Community Float, Door has managed to make it a family event as well, convincing both her brother and son to take part in the float building.
Structurally, the float and its plywood frame are the same every year, but Door and her crew mold the float around the theme of the festival.
“I try to come up with a theme that utilizes the materials that we already have since we have to fundraise (to pay for) the cost of the float,” she said.
In addition to heading up the decoration of the float, Door has also had to solicit donations to fund the float, now that it is no longer funded by the Puyallup Mainstreet Foundation.
“It used to qualify LTAC (lodging tax) funding,” she said. “Since those laws were changed, last year it wasn’t going to be done because there was no funding for it, so then I went out and started fundraising for it.”
In her second year of fundraising for the float, Door says it has gotten easier now that those have donated last year are still interested in the project.
“The Kiwanis were great,” she said. “They called a few weeks ago and said that they heard that we were needing some funds and asked how much we needed to finish the float. Their foundation gave me $1,500 to help finish it off. They were really excited to be involved, and I think they will be more involved next year as well. Once they know that there is an opportunity to help, a lot of people will help. I think next year will be easier.”
In addition to Kiwanis donating, Impressive Graphics, The Ram, Rep. Hans Zeiger and Sen. Bruce Dammeier among others who also jumped in with funding to pull off the Puyallup float for another year.
“In order for the girls from each school to participate in the pageants, you have to have a community float that supports them,” Door said. “If we didn’t have a float this year, next year the Puyallup schools don’t get to participate. Last year, I know the princesses did over 2,500 hours of community service. The princesses go out and read to kids at the libraries, they go out and do public appearances. It’s good for the community, but it is also good for them. They are learning public speaking and their getting an opportunity to serve the community. It’s about more than just the princesses. It’s a community float, and it’s about the community. It’s important to me, and I didn’t want to let it go by the wayside.”
For more information on the Daffodil Parade and Festival, visit thedaffodilfestival.org.