OLYMPIA – Final preparations are under way at Deception Pass State Park for a celebration Saturday, July 31, to mark the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Deception Pass Bridge. In a nod to the events of 75 years ago, the day’s festivities will begin at noon with a short ceremony at the south end of the bridge, followed by a day of fun for the whole family at Cranberry Lake in Deception Pass State Park on Whidbey Island.
“The bridge is an important part of the park’s history, as well as a vital link to the surrounding communities,” said Deception Pass State Park Manager Jack Hartt. “We want to celebrate this great achievement and acknowledge all those who made it possible 75 years ago.”
The bridge will close at about 12:27 p.m. for a procession of vintage pre-1935 cars and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, quickly followed by Whidbey-based EA-18G and EA-6B jets flying over the bridge. The bridge will be closed to traffic for three minutes during the procession, flyover and ribbon-cutting ceremony. Festivities at Cranberry Lake will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will include food, vendors, live music and special events for the kids. The main event will be followed by a 7 p.m. American Roots Music Series performance presented by the State Parks Folk and Traditional Arts in the Parks Program.
Special guests will include Sen. Mary-Margaret Haugen, D-Oak Harbor, NAS Whidbey Captain Gerral David, Rep. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, Rep. Norma Smith, R-Coupeville, Oak Harbor Mayor Jim Slowik, members of the original Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) who helped build Deception Pass State Park and the roadway leading to the bridge and CCC family members.
Seattle-based Puget Construction Co. was awarded the contract to build the bridge in 1934. Seventy-five years later the bridge stands strong, representing the ingenuity and hard work of 1930’s America. Unofficial tallies taken the two Sundays after the bridge opened in 1935 showed 3,000 to 5,000 vehicles crossed the bridge daily. Today, 15,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily, and the nearby state park receives two million visitors a year.
After the original ribbon cutting in 1935, an estimated 5,000 guests “retired” to nearby Cranberry Lake, which had just been improved by the CCC, to picnic and listen to music. Park officials estimate that as many as 5,000 visitors could be camping or picnicking at the park this weekend, closely matching the scene in 1935.
The anniversary celebration is funded through the Deception Pass Park Foundation, donations from local businesses, non-profit organizations and volunteers.
Parking is limited at the event and will not be available at the noon bridge ceremony. A free shuttle will run from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and take guests from Cranberry Lake and the parking lot next to Soundview Shopper (just west of W. Troxell Road at 39755 State Route 20) to the bridge ceremony. Parking at Cranberry Lake also will be limited. The shuttle will run all afternoon from the Soundview Shopper location to Cranberry Lake. Bus service through Island Transit also will be available throughout the day.
For more information on the day’s festivities, please call the event hotline at (360) 707-5056 or visit the Deception Pass Park Foundation website at www.deceptionpassfoundation.org. For more information on Island Transit schedules, visit online at www.islandtransit.org/routes/19.Research Campgrounds, Plan RV Safe Routes & Turn your phone into an RV GPS.
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