Parade organizers say dispute with Playday has cost them

An ongoing dispute with the Loggers Playday Committee over the route of the annual parade that traditionally kicks off the event has left the Hoquiam Elks scrambling to raise money to pay for parade costs.

Because of the dispute, the Hoquiam City Council was told Monday night, the Elks parade committee will be unable to use the Loggers Playday name in association with the parade, which will now be called the Hoquiam Elks Grand Parade.

Bonnie Cable, parade co-chairwoman, appealed for help and commitment Monday night from the council, which previously agreed to give the Elks Grand Parade $3,500 from the city’s hotel/motel tax revenue.

“The Loggers Play Committee, which has always funded the parade, denied us that money this year because of our route choice,” said a letter co-written by Cable and Hoquiam City Councilwoman Brenda Carlstrom, the other parade co-chair.

Cable said the parade committee still has had to come up with $3,000 on its own to meet expenses and the parade has been hurt by the dispute with the Playday Committee.

“We haven’t quite got to that goal yet,” Cable said, inviting city officials to a fundraising spaghetti dinner Wednesday night at the Elks Lodge. There will be a raffle and dessert auction, and all that is intended to help make up the costs, which previously were funded by the Loggers Playday Committee.

The issue involves the old route that went down Simpson Avenue and passed the main businesses along Simpson, which is the route favored by the Playday Committee. The current route runs northeast on 8th Street until K Street before turning down K Street and finishing on 3rd Street. The parade is at noon on Sept. 8.

Cable noted this year’s Loggers Playday T-shirts lampoon the parade by depicting it going down a toilet.

“This has been our worst year. I have nothing against the Loggers Playday Committee because we have been proud members. And we have respected them and admired them, all the committee members who have worked so hard on putting on a spectacular event,” Cable said. “But this year, there is a handful of committee members who have done little things to ruin it for the Elks.”

Cable had a memo from the Loggers Playday Committee that said: “In the Thursday night meeting on July 12, it was brought to a motion and passed that the Hoquiam Elks remove from any press releases or parade applications, or anything else, the words ‘Loggers Playday.’ ”

“This was done in July, and our application had already gone out, so we just kind of ignored that,” Cable told the council. “But when the T-shirts came out … they have a toilet made out of a log with the words ‘parade route’ on it. So here we go again.”

As a result, Cable said the lodge plans to disconnect from Playday and will not request funding for the parade from the Playday Committee in the future. She asked if the city “would be on board with us and support us because we all work on the parade and we’re all out there together?” The Elks plan to be fully self-funding for the parade in the future, she added.

Mayor Jack Durney told Cable the parade has the city’s backing and he urged support for the fundraising dinner, too.

“We respect the work that you have done to put it on every year,” Durney said. “We will do what we can to help.”

Councilwoman Jasmine Dickhoff suggested both sides “get in one room” and try to find a compromise.

But Cable said she didn’t believe there was any give in the Loggers Playday position, and emphasized the parade is not just for the Playday alone.

“My understanding is that Loggers Playday is the day of Hoquiam. … It’s the whole day where Hoquiam shines, and it’s for kids and neighbors and families to get together and have a really good time,” Cable said.

She said the new route, which was first used in 2010 because of the construction and closure of the Simpson Avenue Bridge, is safer and more efficient, and still showcases the best of the city.

“This is a Hoquiam event. It’s not about the route,” she said.

Councilman Darrin Moir said when the funding issue first came to the attention of the council in June, it was decided to give the Elks help to make up for what the Playday Committee had decided to withhold from the parade. “And if they needed more over and above, we could take a look at it and re-designate some of the other funds,” Moir said of the possibility the city could still add additional funds.

The fundraising spaghetti dinner for the parade is 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Elks Lodge, 624 K St., and is $5 per person. Also, there is a raffle for a barbecue and gift cards from McHugh’s Furniture and the PUD among other prizes.

“I would also encourage people to just stop by the Elks and drop off a check if they can’t go or want to give some additional help,” Durney said. “Having the Grand Parade as we always have in town, those things cost money to get people to come from other places. It’s a great event and you guys do a great job.”