Inaugural military service parade planned for downtown Tacoma

Preparations are under way as the Daffodil Festival partners with the City of Tacoma to pay tribute to Pierce County’s sizeable active duty and retired military population. Together, they will host the first Celebration of Military Service Parade in downtown Tacoma on the evening of Sat., Aug. 24.

Joint Base Lewis McChord is the largest military installation on the west coast, and Tacoma should have an annual celebration to honor our active duty and retired military personnel and their families,” said Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland. “This is a great way for us to express our appreciation and remind the community of all the great things our city has to offer.”

There are more than 44,000 active duty personnel at Joint Base Lewis McChord, according to City of Tacoma officials, which is Pierce County’s largest employer with a total base population of more than 100,000.

The parade will spotlight notable active duty and retired military personnel, and feature marching units, community floats, select high school bands, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps units, veteran organizations, motorcycle units and veterans groups. Details, including exact times, parade routes and road closures, are still under development, and will be announced soon. The Daffodil Festival has secured financial commitments from three sponsors at this time: the Emerald Queen Hotel & Casino, Puget Sound Energy and the Washington State Fair.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for The Daffodil Festival to use its talents and resources to help recognize active duty and retired military personnel,” said Daffodil Festival Executive Director Steve James. “It is important for people in Pierce County to celebrate service. We are thankful that the Tacoma City Council has the confidence in our organization to be responsible for such an important event.”

Event updates and application instructions can be found online at