After 75 years, grand marshal missing from parade

The 75th Point Monroe Sandspit 4th of July parade took place this year for the first time without its lifetime grand marshal Dan Devin, who died last year.

Participants honored Devin and celebrated being back together after a hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions. Devin had carried on the tradition that involves parading to the Sandspit’s large bass drum, accompanied by flag bearers.

“While neighbors have come and gone over the years, the parade remains a slice of Americana,” resident Laura Peterson says in an email to The Review about the community on the northeast corner of Bainbridge Island.

The community’s history dates back to the mid-1800s, but the parade started in 1947.

The parade at Sandspit, originally called Whiskey Spit, was started by the Giblin family and was accompanied with a cannon and a 21-gun salute.

Residents, along with visiting friends and family, paraded to the beat of the drum from the end of the Spit to Fay Bainbridge Park, where everyone gathered to sing patriotic songs, festively dressed in red, white and blue attire.

According to BI museum information, the spit was formed over thousands of years by a continuous supply of sand and gravel from eroding banks of Rolling Bay, a predominant tidal current running near the shoreline from south to north, the alignment of wave patterns and the shape of BI’s north shore.

Point Monroe was named by explorer Charles Wilkes in 1841.

One story from the Port Madison Mill days is about men running across the mucky tideflats in the nude. Women once snuck to watch the event – some fainted and others screamed as they did not know the men ran in the buff for the event. The winner won $100 in gold.

For more on the close-knit community, see a write-up and old photos of the Bainbridge Historical Museum at

Participants march to the beat of a bass drum from the Sandspit to the park on the 4th.

Participants march to the beat of a bass drum from the Sandspit to the park on the 4th.

The Point Monroe Sandspit community.

The Point Monroe Sandspit community.