Out of the past: Fifty years of Great Carnation celebrations

The Happy Valley Band plays in the Carnation Fourth of July celebration during the 1920s. - Courtesy photo
The Happy Valley Band plays in the Carnation Fourth of July celebration during the 1920s.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Carnation has long been the draw on the Fourth of July for locals. From the pages of the Snoqualmie Valley Record, see how the town has celebrated independence with classic events and new ideas:


A lovely coronation ceremony made a lovely girl Queen of the Fourth of July celebration at Carnation. Jane Popkema, a senior at Tolt High School and daughter of the Harry Popkemas of Vincent, wore her royal gown and rode side-saddle on one of the carnival's merry-go-round horses. Jane won a ticket-selling contest in competition with three other Tolt Students. All four girls were nominated by their high school classes.

Something new in riding shows was presented at Carnation during the celebration: The Equitiers, an all-girl riding team from Bothell, who teamed up with the Pegasus Patrol from Alderwood Manor for a horse show. The girls entered the field, banners flying, to open the afternoon demonstration.


Among the many booths to be erected on Carnation lots is the popular dunking pool, handled this year by the Band Boosters Club. Among the dignitaries scheduled to sit in the seat of honor are County Commissioner Scott Wallace, Mayor Merle Simpson, Fire Chief Dave Harder of Duvall, Marshal Lee Kasner, and others.


The day will begin early, as a salute at 6 a.m. will rouse the town from sleep. Folks are invited to congregate along main street to watch the parade. A reviewing stand will be set up next to the Carnation Drug Company.

In the afternoon, a waterfight, actually several water fights, will be held between the Carnation Volunteer Fire Department and other agencies in the Valley. Bingo will be played in a large tent next to the old library building.


During the 1980s, the Fourth took a back seat to the Carnation Strawberry Festival, held in June. In 1983, organizers baked the world's largest strawberry shortcake. It took Ward Myers a whole week to bake, and borrowed freezers from all over town to keep it fresh. The cake was 10 feet wide, 11 feet long and five feet high, stuffed with berries from Remlinger Farms.


The Fourth was back on top in the 1990s. In 1993, Ken Bright and his dog China awaited the judge's decision in the Ugly Dog Contest, held during the Fourth of July Celebration. The Chinese pug won first place in the "smallest, ugliest dog" category.


Eastside Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Jon Fallstrom didn't anticipate becoming a top firefighter when he was growing up. But his 20 years of service has been noticed, and when the Great Carnation Fourth of July Celebration parade comes down Tolt Avenue this week, he will be honored as Grand Marshall. Fallstrom likes the small-town feel of Carnation and the relationships he has made here.



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