The day of the Daffodil Festival Grand Floral Parade – this upcoming Saturday, April 8th always makes for a good reason to get together, get outside, and celebrate the coming of Spring! However, true Daffodil fans
know that’s it’s not always as simple as bundling up, bringing the family, and snagging a seat along the parade route.
The parade is over 80 years old, and that means over 80 years of die-hard Daffodil fans have their own system for celebrating on parade day. Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for making the most out of your Grand Floral Parade experience, as well as some of the best viewing locations throughout the parade’s four-city journey, through Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, and Orting!
Tip #1: Get there early! This might be a trickier, especially for the earlier parades, like the leg in Tacoma. However, it’s always better to claim your spot and settle in, and then make a trip to a local coffee hotspot, than to risk losing out on the perfect viewing location.
Tip #2: Get into the spirit. Dedicated Daffodil fans are sure to bring their own set of blooms out to the streets on Parade Day, whether it’s with flower crowns, stroller and wagon decorations, or even just breaking out a little yellow from their own closets. It may not be quite as bright as the ballgowns the Princesses wear, but your yellow duds pack their own punch, and help make Pierce County just a little bit brighter, too!
Tip #3: Pack snacks! This tip applies especially well to bigger groups, or those with little ones in tow. The parade can be long for those with shorter attention spans, and packing a snack or two might help keep tiny tots content. Maybe making a snack pack full of yellow food – like pineapples and bananas, or white cheddar crackers and cheese will keep the kids from pointing out every pizza place they see on the way home!
Tip #4: Make the most of your parade experience! If you
get there early enough, make sure to take the time to let older kids and adults venture farther back into the parade parking area, where all of the bands, floats, cars, and more, line up beforehand. Oftentimes, you can see groups practicing, and might even get the chance for a quick photo op with some of your favorite participants. Still, make sure to clear out at least ten minutes before the parade gets underway... you wouldn’t want to miss any of the festivities!
Tip #5: Stake out your space! Bring lawn chairs or towels for your group... not only do they make for comfier and less dirty seating on crowded city streets, but they’re a good way of carving out where your parade viewing “territory” is. But be mindful: you’re not the only one trying to enjoy the Parade today, so be kind and respectful of those around you, too!
Tip #6: Do some exploring! After the parade is over, don’t just go home. The Festival and Parade are all about celebrating your community, so don’t forget to stop by some favorite restaurants or shopping destinations nearby.
Of course, it’s hard to decided what leg of the Parade’s fourcity journey to choose for your own viewing pleasure... each have their own unique feel and community vibe, as well as their own tips for making April 8th the Best Parade Day Ever! Here’s what we think are some of the most important elements each city has to offer for a Floral Parade experience:
Tacoma – Tacoma is the first parade of the day, starting at 10:15 am, but you’ll probably want to get there before then, to not only stake out your prime viewing location, but to hit up some of the best of the downtown coffee joints for your morning brew. This is often one of the most popular routes to try tackling the Daffodil 5K Challenge ahead of parade time, so make sure to cheer on all of the runners rocking their own Daffodil gear!
The route travels along Pacific Avenue, and because Tacoma runs so early, it’s usually one of the less crowd-heavy locations. Feel free to spread out! One of our favorite places to sit and watch is in front of the Washington State History museum. This ocation is in the shade – because our Spring weather can be pretty unpredictable and within easy distance of both Anthem Coffee and a Starbucks. Bundle up, bring a few camp chairs, and start up your day with a parade!
Puyallup – Puyallup is the second route of the day, starting at 12:45pm, and is probably one of the most classic local locations to watch the Parade, which makes it a pretty popular spot...of course, it’s only gained popularity in recent years, because this is also the leg of the celebration that makes it to television, too! When deciding where to sit, bear in mind that the highlight
is always in front of the television filming set, where every parade participant makes sure to be on their best behavior, and groups will often have segments they want to perform for TV. Head downtown a little ahead of time to pick up an early lunch, then try to find some space near the raised seating across from the set. Worried about rambunctious little ones? Send them with an adult or younger sibling to kill time at nearby Pioneer Park!
Sumner – 2:30pm marks the start time for our third route of the day, down in the beautiful city of Sumner! If there’s any part of the day where the sun might be expected to crack through the clouds, this is where that particular kind of magic happens. Even if Parade Day ends up being overcast, you wouldn’t be able to tell: the small-town vibe makes for a cozy atmosphere, and great local marching bands make plenty of noise, both helping to ensure this leg of the Parade always feels like a party!
This location really gives you a feel for the Festival’s 80+ years of history, and assure you that it still is alive and well in Sumner, as it is usually one of the most popular destinations of the day. Arrive a little early and stake out a spot anywhere on Main Street: you really can’t go wrong with where you sit, because the Parade runs in a straight line, and there are so many lovely places to shop that you’re guaranteed to have something to do while you’rewaiting!
Orting – The Parade may wind its way down to its last leg in Orting with a start time of 5pm, but by no means is the party winding down just yet! Because this is the final route of the day, that means that everyone participating goes all out, which might be one of the reasons why it’s one of the most popular viewing locations. (And, of course, this will probably ring true this year especially, thanks to 2017 Daffodil Queen Marin Sasaki, who represents Orting High School!)
Pro tip: try finding a spot to stay near the end of the Parade route, as it travels along Washington Avenue. Because the end of the route signifies the end of the Parade, Daffodil Princesses are sometimesknown to start tossing daffodils intothe crowd... and ifyou ask nicely, you might even be able to snag a bloom or two off of the float itself!
At home – But, of course, some years you just can’t make it to the Parade. Still, that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all of the fun! If you’ve got a TV, you’re in luck: you can watch the parade on KOMO (channel 4) on Sunday at 2 pm!
84th Grand Floral Parade
Tacoma - 10:15
Puyallup - 12:45
Sumner - 2:30
Orting - 5:00