Keyport’s 4th still a community favorite

KEYPORT — The sun shone brightly on District No. 18’s Fire Station 3 in Keyport Wednesday morning, where not fire trucks but red, white and blue-covered tables awaited hungry patrons getting an early start on their Independence Day celebration.

Ready with pancakes, eggs and hearty conversation, the Keyport Community Club welcomed both neighbors and visitors to its 31st annual Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast and Parade.

“We’ve had a great turnout so far,” organizer and former KCC president Ellen Strong said of the event, which usually attracts between 200-300 people from all over the region. The breakfast was followed by a parade, popsicles in the park and a carnival and barbecue at Keyport Bible Church.

“I love the breakfast,” Strong said. “People will sit here for hours and visit, and kids absolutely love the parade.”

KCC president elect Milt Meeds said it’s the people that make the event special.

“It’s a community sort of thing,” he said. “An opportunity for people to get together, to talk to everyone in town. There are several generations here.”

Keyport Fire Department captain Don Stevens agreed.

“It’s good, old-fashioned family fun,” he said. “People come from places like Seattle, and they continue to come back.”

Seattle resident Diane Miller said this was her fifth year celebrating July 4 in Keyport, and for her, the parade is a favorite.

“I love the ragtag parade,” she said. “Most of the town is in it. We like to cheer them on.”

Led by fire trucks, tractors and even decorated llamas, kids piled on their decorated bikes and marched through town not once, but twice.

Fourteen-year-old Jennifer Mullen said she has a bike-decorating strategy that starts with the spokes and ends at the handlebars.

“I have a basket on my bike, so I decorate that, and then put as many streamers on the body of the bike as I can,” she said. “It’s fun.”

Keyport resident Pat Warden said aside from meeting new neighbors and talking with old friends, the day’s festivities serve an important function in the community.

“It’s a major fund raiser for the town,” she said. “It’s fun for everyone to get together… but it keeps the association alive.”

Lt. John Strong, who drove a fire truck in this year’s parade, said the day offers a chance for Keyport to become more recognized in the community.

“There are a lot of people from all over that come,” he said. “This gives us exposure, shows what’s here. Keyport is more than just the base.”

For some, the day represents a festival for the community that is bigger than any other event in the year, said resident Deborah DuBois.

“I found it after moving here four years ago,” she said. “And I’ve been coming back ever since.”

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