Steilacoom’s participation in the Daffodil Parade, provided by Lenore Rogers
After Steilacoom School District opened its high school, a group of citizens decided to participate in Tacoma’s annual Daffodil Festival, and for the next six years, Steilacoom high school students were named to the Daffodil Court.
Below are highlights from the town’s involvement in that event. Since Steilacoom once was the First Port City, many of the float designs featured a maritime theme. (Finished float above, unfinished chassis below).
- 1984. Our first year of entering a float in the parade (it was built on the chassis of a temperamental Mustang II. The town’s first float featured a 26’ long rainbow and a hot air balloon, floating among the clouds. “Tomorrow’s Dream” was the theme of that year’s parade—but it nearly became a nightmare for the float’s construction crew. The float was assembled outside and in the dark. The rainbow was raised into place during a rainstorm.
- 1985. The Mustang II was still with us, but this year it was transformed into a boat, complete with a steam blowing smoke stack. It was designed to resemble some of the early boats to visit Steilacoom in the 1860s. “Spring and Alive in ‘85” was this year’s theme.
- 1986. Surprisingly the Mustang II made it back for another year and transformation. “Golden Enchantment”, inspired the creation of Cinderella’s Coach, complete with horses. The float won the “Princess Award.”
- 1987. All the previous years’ excitement was too much for the Mustang II, and those who’d held their breath to worry whether the car would make it through the parade. Because the transportation was unreliable, the Committee purchased the town’s newly retired aid van—for $1. The Committee also benefited from the use of the fire station in which to strip down the van and turn it into a very substantial support vehicle for future float designs.
- 1988. Steilacoom’s entry won First Place in the “Communities Under 5,000” category. Encouraged by this milestone, the Float Committee members opted to maintain a more permanent structure and modify it with a minimum of effort. In short, “we were getting tired.” The boat theme was revived, but with a more utilitarian approach—made for comfort.
- 1989. The Committee decided to go out of the float-building business. Its final effort was that of a modified paddle wheel. After that, the ship was literally abandoned. It took on a new life after Public Works Director Jim Richards and the Town’s Public Works crewmembers transformed the van into Santa’s Sleigh, destined to travel the neighborhoods of Steilacoom. Since that year, hundreds of Steilacoomites have welcomed Santa, Mrs. Claus, Frosty, and a troop of elves as they distributed candy canes and spread good cheer.
Note: A plaque bearing the names of Steilacoom’s Daffodil Princesses is displayed at the High School.