The Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that registration is open for its annual Junior Race and Junior Parade events. The Junior Parade and Race are presented by Haggen Northwest Fresh and will be held on May 20 and 21 respectively.

“You may have noticed that we are no longer referring to the events as Junior Ski to Sea. The words Ski to Sea are subject to a trademark license. When the chamber sold the Ski to Sea Race to Whatcom Events on January 22, 2010, we were given ten years to phase out the use of the words Ski to Sea,” said Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Guy Occhiogrosso.  “Last year we started referring to the events as Junior Race and Junior Parade.  By 2017, the events will have new names and new logos but they will continue to be the traditional events that everyone is familiar with,” said Occhiogrosso

“We are also introducing a new partner event this year in lieu of the three-legged race.   We’re calling it the Back2Back Ball Carry.  Two racers facing back-to-back will carry a basketball between their bodies. No hands may touch the ball unless the ball is dropped and the racers need to pick it up again, wedge the ball between their bodies and run,” said Shelli Jones, Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce Marketing Coordinator.

This year’s Junior Race will be held on Saturday, May 21 at Lake Padden Park in Bellingham.

Racers are encouraged to begin assembling their teams and registering online at bellingham.com.  Six-member teams register to participate in a five-leg relay race consisting of running, Back2Bak Ball Carry race, biking, soccer and an obstacle course. Participants must be in 3rd grade or older and register in one of three divisions – all male, all female or mixed division consisting of three male and three female racers.

There are two races for third, fourth and fifth graders—the AM Elementary and PM Elementary race.  AM Elementary racers arrive at Lake Padden at 8:00 a.m. where they check-in, receive their race bibs and swag bags while the race director walks them through the race course prior to the 9:00 a.m. start.  The same is true for the PM Elementary race with the check-in at 1:15 p.m. and race at 2:15 p.m.

There is one race for sixth, seventh and eighth graders as well as any members of the community that are in 3rd grade or older called the Middle School & Community race.  Those race teams check-in at 11:00 a.m. and race at 12:00 p.m.

Kulshan Cycles will be donating bikes to be awarded to racers based on a drawing.  They will also be performing safety check of all the bikes used in the biking leg of the race.

The Junior Parade will be held on Friday, May 20 at 6:00 pm. The parade starts at the corner of Cornwall and Kearney Streets, continues down Cornwall and ends at Railroad and Champion Streets. Anyone wishing to walk in the parade can do so without registering.  Judging begins at 4:30 p.m., so those wishing to be judged should be lined up by 4:15 p.m. Registration is required for floats, cars and trucks, and marching bands and can be done so at bellingham.com.

Junior Parade awards will be given in the following categories: Grand Prize, Best Pet, Best Large Float, Best Small Float, Best Group, Best Decorated Bike, Best Novelty, Best Drill Group, Judges Award (x4) and Band Awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

Jones said, “A little-known fact is that the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce has been putting on the Junior Parade consistently since 1920.  From 1920-1929, the Chamber held the Tulip Parade which included the Grand Parade and the Junior Parade.  From 1930-1946, the chamber ceased the Tulip Parade due to the Great Depression but continued to hold the annual Junior Parade. From 1947 to present, the chamber brought back the Grand Parade. We are now calling it the Blossomtime Parade and continue to hold the Junior Parade consistently for 96 years.”

Anyone interested in volunteering for either event or children interested in carrying banners for the parade may call Silvia Reed, Events Coordinator at 360-734-1330 or email Silvia@bellingham.com.