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Regional spring floral festivals will bloom soon

The annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival this year is in Mount Vernon April 1-30. JBLM PAO photo

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While portions of the country dig out from winter and celebrate cherry blossoms, lilacs and lavender, signs that Western Washington is springing up as well are evident in brilliant yellow daffodils and colorful tulips across the region.

For those ready to enjoy more than a few spots of illumination, Northwest festivals are sure to supply a rainbow of colors.

One of the most respected and beautiful events in the Pacific Northwest is the annual Daffodil Festival and Parade, which will include the participation of several service members from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The daylong parade, with 180 entries of floats, marching bands and marching and mounted units is set to begin at 11th Street and Pacific Avenue in Tacoma April 7 at 10:15 a.m. It will make its way through Puyallup at 12:45 p.m., Sumner at 2:30 p.m. and Orting at 5 p.m.

The military has a tradition of participation in the parade, according to Capt. Cain Claxton, public affairs officer with the 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, which has been part of the parade for as long as he can remember.

In previous years,

America’s I Corps Band and the 593rd ESC have led the parade.

It’s not known yet if the band will participate or if the military will lead the parade, Claxton said; however, whatever role they play, service members will participate in at least the Tacoma and Orting portions of the event.

That’s because the unit is community partners with Tacoma and Orting, so it’s important the 593rd ESC is involved, Claxton said.

“We really enjoy getting out in the community and sharing the Army story,” he said. “Right now, the Army story is all about readiness. We’re ready to deploy, fight and win — whenever that’s needed.”

The theme for this year’s parade is Daffodil Paradise. Floats in the parade are decorated with thousands of fresh cut flowers and resemble the daffodils grown in the Puyallup Valley for at least the past eight decades.

The Queen’s Coronation event also is a highlight of the Daffodil Festival. It begins March 31 at 7 p.m. at the Rialto Theater, located at 310 S. Ninth St. in Tacoma.

The Queen is selected from 23 young women princesses, from schools across the region, who make up the Royalty Court.

More information on the Daffodil Festival and Parade is available on the website: the

Another floral festival worthy of note in the Northwest is the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, which has been part of the region for 35 years.

April is the month when more than 500,000 tulip bulbs display their floral splendor at the Mount Vernon Roozen Gaarde display garden, located at 15867 Beaver Marsh Road in Mount Vernon.

The display consists of more than 150 varieties of flowers in a 22-acre daffodil and 25-acre tulip field.

Each year, the garden is redesigned and replanted and features an authentic Dutch windmill as part of the display.

Flowers are on sale at the display. Admission to the garden is $7 for general admission and $6 for military with ID and children ages 5 and younger. Parking is free.

The garden is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily throughout the month. No pets are permitted inside the garden.

Other activities also make up the Tulip Festival, including a photo contest on the festival’s social media page: A free choral concert is planned Bethany Covenant Church, located at 1318 S. 18th St. in Mount Vernon April 21 at 7 p.m.

There’s also a street fair in downtown Mount Vernon scheduled for April 20 to 22 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Myriad events and activities, from bus tours and pancake breakfasts to runs and salmon bakes, are set to take place throughout the month for children and adults. It’s all listed on the website.

A few other upcoming regional floral festivals include:

• The Washington State Apple Blossom Festival in Wenatchee, Wash., April 26 to May 6, with activities from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. This year’s event theme is “How Do You Like Them Apples?” More information is available at:

• The Spokane Lilac Festival with events April 22 to May 20. This year’s event theme is “Swing into Spokane,” with a festival mission of “Honoring Our military, Empowering Our Youth and Showcasing our Region.” More information is available at:

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