Kids who decorated their bicycles showed off their work at the Gold Dust Royalty booth.
Kids who decorated their bicycles showed off their work at the Gold Dust Royalty booth.
2
3

A brigade of bicycles cut through downtown Gold Bar shortly after dinnertime on Friday, with new mayor Bill Clem at the helm.

Ribbons and balloons trailed behind the two-wheelers, as riders did laps around Gold Bar Elementary School. They traversed the Gold Dust Days street fair and cruised by the main stage, where musical acts will perform throughout the weekend. 

The Pedal Parade is a longtime tradition at the community festival, but this year there were a few upgrades. Gold Dust Royalty director Patty Baller said nearly two dozen kids who stopped by the booth Friday to decorate their rides received a new or lightly used bike.

“The kids always talk about it,” she said. “It's one of the (Gold Dust Royalty's) fun events.”

Community members donated the equipment, and Snohomish County Fire District 26 dropped off $300 worth of free helmets for attendees to take home, she said. Once the touchups were complete, a new  street rodeo was set up, where Gold Dust Royalty volunteers taught safety skills.

The activities culminate Saturday morning. For the first time the kids were invited to get on their bikes at 10 a.m. and ride once more at the head of the Gold Dust Days Grand Parade, which started at the Family Grocer.

Baller moved to Gold Bar more than a decade ago. She said the bicycle decorations and parade have been put on for at least that long. About four years ago the Gold Dust Royalty took over running the tent from the Sky Valley branch of the international Red Hat Society, referred to by the locals as the Red Hat Ladies, about four years ago

Baller's daughter, Katelyn Roeder, co-directs the Gold Dust Royalty. The mother and daughter duo is this year's grand marshals.

Baller said they revived the Sky Valley-based program a few years ago, which now is inclusive to boys and girls, with competitors from across the state at 6 months to 36 years old. The September pageant will be held at the Frank Wagner Performing Arts Center for the first time this year, she said.

The turnout Friday night was much larger than in years past, Baller said. The group worked harder to promote the activities, adding a raffle and goodie bags.

“We do it to give back to the community, because you never know when you are going to need something from the community,” Baller said.

Alexis Perdomo, who in 2016 was crowned Queen of Queens — the pageants top title — worked a station in the obstacle course. The first-time Gold Dust Days volunteer said it was an easy decision to help out. Volunteering at events like the fair grows confidence, Perdomo said. She is forced out of her comfort zone in order to help people she is just meeting. The act of service also makes her feel good.

“It's just a lot of fun,” Perdomo said.

Gunner Martin brought over his bike to the festival for the first time, and then strapped a few balloons to his handle bars. The 3-year-old hasn't been riding long, and is still trying to get the hang of it, said his dad, Quinn Martin.  Gunner's mom Ashley said the family wanted to come out because they knew it would be something enjoyable to do together.

Roeder watched a few people react strongly to their new bikes that night. She said a 3-year-old had never had one of her own before, and even the little girl's grandmother started to tear up.

“I just like seeing all the happy faces,” Roeder said.

The rest of the weekend includes a packed schedule of music, free hay wagon rides, a Touch-A-Truck event and the classic and street rod car show. Lori Luppino drove up from Renton to help organize the event started almost a decade ago by her dad, Dennis Blansett.

Visitors can donate to the scholarship fund that was set up in his honor during the event. The Gold Bar Farmers Market is accessible off U.S. Highway 2, and close by is the traditional Civil War reenactment encampment. The Gold Bar VFW is hosted a breakfast that started at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the post on Third Street.

For a full list of the remaining weekend activities, visit skyvalleychamber.com.