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National celebration gets a global theme

KINGSTON — Weather favored the Little City by the Sea on Independence Day and Mount Rainier provided the scenic backdrop for the town’s old-fashioned holiday festivities July 4.

The community lived up to its theme for this year’s parade, “Freedom For All Nations,” as participants clearly recognized the world’s diverse cultures.

North Kitsap Fire & Rescue’s Volunteer Lieutenant Steve Neupert was the Grand Marshal this year and lead the parade down State Route 104. The event featured llamas and dogs donning costumes that represented different cultures from around the planet.

“Beautiful — It’s a beautiful day for it,” Bud Young of Hansville said of the whole day as he sat on the back porch of the Luna Bella Ristorante. Young and friends were listening to Cold Shot, the band that kickstarted Kingston’s Fourth of July Music Festival down the block at the Main Street Ale House.

Brother and sister duo Gus and Rosie Zadra of Poulsbo were keeping things cool near the concert venue, selling Hawaiian ice under the name, “Have An Ice Day.” But the two young entrepreneurs had motives besides keeping people refreshed on the summer day.

“This is our plan to pay for our books and stuff,” said the 16-year-old Rosie, who is raising money to attend Olympic College.

As soccer players, they noticed the popularity of the flavorful shaved ice tournaments, Gus said, adding that he believed he and Rosie could do a better job than what they had seen there.

“We thought we could do this and not skimp on the syrup and give good deals,” said 19-year-old Gus, who attends Western Washington University.

After only two weeks of research and purchasing an ice shaving machine from the owners of the now-closed Lemolo Meats, the Zadras found success at their first event — Poulsbo’s Fireworks on the Fjord. The Zadras were consistently busy after the parade in Kingston and said they hoped to work at more area festivals and markets to “Help Support Me Through College,” as their sign reads.

At Kola Kole Park, Tiny Town was bustling with activity, as kids bounced down inflatable slides, checked out their fast pitch and pushed their lungs to the limit during the bubble gum blowing contest, one of the several new competitions this year.

Crowds surrounded the stage to watch their neighbors perform simple but difficult tasks under the careful eye of judges, including Miss Kingston Princess, Lizzie Blomquist.

Eight-year-old Dylan Szerlog of Kingston won the pre-school through third grade category for the bubble gum blowing contest and “older kid” Cindy Alford of Hansville who won for the older group.

“(My friend Stephanie Aske) said she got up there and did it and said I had to do it, too,” Alford said after winning the contest. The former Gordon Elementary School teacher said she was encouraged by her friends and former students to jump on stage and try it out.

As for the endless activities, parent April Stevens was happy to find out that for a small fee, she could release her two boys, Zachary and Alex, into the swarms of other children and rides that filled Kola Kole Park.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do for the Fourth,” she said, noting she was inspired when she discovered Tiny Town. “Ten dollars (for an all-day pass) and I can turn them loose.”

As for the grand finale to the Independence Day celebration, enough money came through the door to fund the Kingston annual fireworks display, said Kingston Thirftway manager and fireworks fund-raiser Jim Raymond.

While there was a slight glitch in the beginning on the barge and what looked like a grand finale in the middle of the show, Raymond said, the pyrotechnics helped bring the holiday to an explosive close.

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