EUREKA- Even though the official first day of spring was last month, the unofficial first day of spring is Saturday for many people in Humboldt County, because it’s the 49th Rhododendron Parade in Eureka.
In the 1960’s, the Rhododendron Parade was part of the week long rhododendron festival. Even though there isn’t a week of festivities anymore, the parade will always symbolize the blooming of the rhododendron flower you see throughout the North Coast and the changing of the seasons.
"They bloom in the spring and it's just the beginning of the spring for people in Humboldt County. There's a lot of people that use the lakes, use the mountains to vacation in so it's kind of a refreshing or a renewing of everyone's years to get out there and enjoy the summer," said Tom Kingshill, the Chair of the Rhododendron Parade.
Eighty floats of businesses, non-profit organizations and community organizations will go from 7th street to the Old Eureka Mall. Thousands will cheer them on as they go by.
"It's the one time that everyone can forget their troubles and just go down and watch the parade and live their lives," Kingshill said.
People have been working on their floats for the last couple weeks, like Ashley Miller, who works for Renner Petroleum.
"I enjoy it because we get to go out, we get to see the community, we get to interact with people and the kids. All the little kids love it," said Miller.
"It just shows that our community is connected to each other. We all stay together," said Kingshill.
Everything is in place for the parade, but there’s still one concern.
“In the last 15 years we haven't had one day that it rained on the parade, so we're hoping for that tomorrow," Kingshill said.
But rain or shine, the rhododendrons will be on display.
This year, News Channel 3 is in the parade, so make sure you keep an eye out for the News Channel 3 team.