Welcome the Whales Parade 2015

Posted in Community, Feature, More Stories, Photo essay

Whidbey Life Magazine Contributor
April 22, 2015

Lots of islanders dressed as sea creatures at the Orca Network’s Welcome the Whales Festival in Langley on Saturday, April 18.

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Jim Freeman and Orca Network President Susan Berta welcome the people who came to welcome the whales.

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Parade-goers carry Gary the Gray Whale down First Street in Langley.

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Color and sea creatures abound!

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Deborah Koff-Chapin beats the drum in front of a banner celebrating the whale and the new ferry bearing the name of the whale, Tokitae (aka Lolita) who was captured from her L pod mother and family in Penn Cove in 1970. She was, and always will be, a member of the endangered Southern Resident orca community and there is an active movement to free her from captivity.

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Stiltwalkers entertain the parade goers—by first stealing someone’s hat…

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and then a coffee drink.

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Everyone heads down to Seawall Park with hopes of seeing a whale.

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Larger crowds than usual turned out on this exceptionally beautiful April day.

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Drummers and banners

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Lots of kids riding on shoulders to see over the heads of the largest crowd ever attending this event.

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People tossed flowers into the water to attract the whales,

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but none came this year.

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Until the parade next year…

Even though no whales chose to attend the festivities at that particular moment, the gray whales have been very active all week at Seawall Park. You can see one close to shore in this whale video  —  shot by local videographer Robbie Cribbs of Sound Trap Studio.

Find out more about the whales at the Orca Network and the Langley Whale Center.

David Welton is a retired physician and staff photographer for Whidbey Life magazine. He thinks and processes information visually and, therefore, is a man of few words but, nevertheless—on occasion—will submit a written story.  His award-winning photographs have been exhibited at the University of Washington, the University of Oregon and the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara.


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