The Daffodil Parade: A Highlight of the Puyallup Spring
October 9, 2019
Pierce County, Washington is home to a wonderful April flower parade, The Daffodil Parade. The Daffodil Parade is also the time that the locals and their officials would take a breather to finally select their queen from their local high schools. This tradition rooted from 1926 and began as a simple garden party hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Orton in Orting. Then, as the garden party progressed, they decided to take it a forward by having an annual parade in 1934 with various automobiles filled with daffodils.
There was however, a different twist as some publishers trace the beginning of the Daffodil Parade to the early 1920’s springtime, bearing a different name to the festival which is Steelhead Banquet, whose sponsor is the Sumner Chamber of Commerce. After a few years, the golden yellow appearance in banquet by the Orton’s backyard followed with a change in the festival’s title.
Daffodils had become the main crop in the county when the hop industry died. When their abundance flourished because of the good review done by the U. S. Department of Agriculture on the county’s climate and excellent soil quality, the locals decided to have a celebration to give appreciation and to introduce the whole country to their golden blooms. It is always celebrated in spring where the crops are in full bloom where people can then drive to Puyallup valley to witness the spectacle.
Tacoma had joined in after a few years in to the establishment of the celebration and this paved way to having the Daffodil Parada the most awaited event in the county. Instead of throwing away the unpurchased daffodil blossoms, it had been coincided that they make use of these as decorations on tables, community sites, and automobiles that later also, gave the locals the idea of turning it into a wonderful piece of art in the parade that we know of today.
The selection of the county queen that will lead the parade culminated with Ms. Elizabeth Wotton, a matron in Puyallup in 1934. Together with her princesses, they began their royal tour in the different locations in Sumner, Orting, Puyallup and Tacoma. Then they graced the Sumner banquet of Gov. Clarence Marted, where they were presented to the public. The actual parade did not happen at this time. The beginning of the Daffodil Parade began in 1935 in Puyallup.
Today, the Daffodil Parade is known as one of the country’s largest floral festival parades. A lot of spectators, locals and tourists alike, are always awaiting this event at the onset of spring. Two hundred varieties of Daffodils are said to flourish in the county every year, making the King Alfred variety the best and most abundant one grown locally. It is known that 20 million buds of Daffodils are sold in the market, making it a very lucrative line of industry in the country.
In addition to Daffodils, Tulip and Iris buds are also included in the parade and in the flower selling industry.
While at Daffodil Parade be sure to come to the amazing restaurants in Puyallup!