Arts & Entertainment

Tacoma’s annual Daffodil Parade signals the kickoff of spring

If you are a Tacoma/Seattle area native, you might have attended  the annual Daffodil Parade which celebrates the community, history, traditions and growth of Pierce County. Being one of the earliest flowers to show its blossom and signify the beginning of spring, the daffodil flower has been worthy of celebration within Pierce County. Making its way through the four cities of Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner and Orting, people lined the streets to partake in the annual commemoration. In Tacoma, the parade carried right through the UW Tacoma campus, as Pacific Avenue was one of several locations for the various festivities. Among the festivities were a series of floats, marching bands, classic cars and cheerleaders — who are all celebrated by local patrons that woke up early enough to watch the parade.

The origins of the Daffodil Parade began in 1926, originally taking place in the more rural parts of Sumner, where daffodils were in full bloom. Starting off as a neighborhood garden party, the viewing of daffodils became highly coveted and eventually became an annual affair on the streets of Sumner. People from all over Pierce County would flock to witness the fields of bright yellow flowers, welcoming the spring season into motion. In 1934, this annual event became more parade-like, as automobiles, horses and bicycles travelled down the main road, which would be covered in fresh-cut daffodils so that the folks lining the street could all partake in the fun. Over the years, this parade come to represent a celebration of local agricultural success and the upcoming harvest.

While, the Daffodil Parade still features the beautiful daffodil flower as a symbol for the event, the true celebration is about the community in which it takes place. The local residents who line the streets cheer for their local community as high school bands, floats, businesses and local organizations all stroll along in the parade to be recognized and honored. Along the streets, there was also a constant sound arising from the various student marching bands that go up and down the corridor. Among the high schools partaking were Lincoln High School, Stadium High School, Puyallup High School and Sumner High School. Between each marching band were different local businesses and organizations — both wishing to advertise their causes as well as join in the celebration, often featuring daffodils lining their commercial vehicle. Though, the biggest attraction by far were the flamboyant floats that sauntered down the streets, often featuring high school girls dressed in yellow gowns waving at the crowd. For this reason, it was a huge hit for families and those who still appreciate some joyful recognition for businesses that resides within the community.