Celebrate this year and support the Chamber by purchasing a tee shirt and selecting the Bainbridge Island Chamber as the beneficiary. We’ll receive $10 from the sale of each garment.

Sadly We Must Cancel
the 53rd Grand Old 4th of July Celebration

Bainbridge Island’s Grand Old 4th event is the island’s biggest party. It’s a celebration of the nation’s birthday. It’s a day of fun for the whole community. It’s a chance for neighbors and friends to see each other at least once a year. It’s a homecoming for many who have moved away. It’s the biggest opportunity for island non-profits to get their message out to the community face to face. It’s a competition to see who can save the best seats for the parade–the night before.

The event has been produced by the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce for the past 52 years. But this year, due to Washington State’s directives regarding public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, it will join the long list of Independence Day events nation-wide that have been cancelled.

It would have been the twelfth year for Mickey Molnaire, the Chamber’s Director of Marketing & Tourism, to be part of the tiny staff and slightly larger community committee that works for six months to plan and organize the event. Molnaire describes the event as a “four-ring circus” with approximately 100 street fair vendors (including the traditional pancake breakfast and live music), 100 antique and classic cars, a mile-long parade of more than 100 local businesses and organizations, and a Kids Zone with children’s entertainment, games and activities.

It takes more than 100 volunteers on the 3rd and 4th of July, plus support from the City’s public works, police and fire departments just to run the Chamber’s part of the event. Then add in BIDA’s Street Dance on the night of the 3rd, BYS Fun Run, Old Timers Baseball game and fireworks when they occur, plus the hundreds-more volunteers working with Zero Waste’s Green Team, staffing non-profit booths, and taking part in the parade.

The event draws visitors from all over the area, to the tune of about 25,000 attendees. Molnaire added, “We like to joke at the Chamber that if it weren’t for the visitors, there would be no one to watch the parade, because most of the island’s population is marching in it!”

“The staff and board of directors are heartbroken that we have to cancel,” said Molnaire, “we know how much the Fourth means to this community.” The Chamber is looking at some virtual options for this year’s celebration and plans to be back again with the traditional celebration in 2021. So stay tuned. BAINBRIDGE STRONG NOW…party next year!

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