Thousands of spectators crowded the streets of the usually quiet town of Winlock for the Egg Days parade as it passed by the city’s most iconic landmark — the world’s largest egg — on Saturday.
Volunteers with the Lion’s Club of Winlock Egg Days Committee laid plans with this year’s theme: “The Great Eggscape.”
Organizers reported much higher attendance over the weekend than at last year’s event, when rain poured down on the festivities.
“It’s such a beautiful day, you can’t help but enjoy it,” said Bobbie Field, of Centralia.
The 77th annual festival dates back to Winlock’s reign as the largest producer of eggs on the west coast.
Winlock resident Edward Kaija said he has attended nearly every Egg Days festival since it began in 1921. The 72-year-old said the highlight is the free egg salad sandwiches.
“I like ‘em,” he said.
“There’s something special about them you just can’t duplicate,” added Jim Jones, of Longview.
And as mandated by tradition, volunteers made 80 dozen eggs, one hundred loaves of bread, 6 gallons of mayo, a few quarts of mustard and some salt and pepper into 800 of the ever-popular sandwiches for event goers to devour following the parade.
“For a small community, it’s really nice,” said Becky Reibe, who coordinated the egg salad sandwich lunch. “Everyone just sits and talks. I just think that’s the best part.”
McKayla Bradshaw was the first in line for an egg salad sandwich. The 19-year-old from Longview said her parents, who were high school sweethearts, came to celebrate their 30-year class reunion, but she was a newcomer to Egg Days.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said.
Newly coronated Egg Days Queen Sophie Randall and the 2013 Princess, Sydney Gilreath, said they were proudly representing Winlock. Gilreath said the event is a good way to expose visitors to what the town of about 1,400 has to offer.
“Anytime you can represent a small town it’s good,” she said.
Misti Mayo, one of the lead organizers, said getting the youth involved is critical to the event’s survival.
“If the younger generations don’t step up, they’ll disappear,” she said. “I don’t want to see the small town festivals go by the wayside. It’s about getting together as a community.”