Chicken Out!

Edison, Washington. Ever heard of it? Probably not. If you even think about blinking when you drive through it, you’ve missed it. It doesn’t even qualify as a wide spot in the road. But if you do miss it, you’ve missed a couple of yummy bakeries, some great eating places, a lovely art gallery, a fine wood-working shop, several friendly taverns, and, in the dreariness of winter, views of elegant flocks of swans in the surrounding rich farmlands.

Sough Food, just one place to get a bite to eat

Sough Food, just one place to get a bite to eat

Edison is located northeast of Seattle, just a little bit north of Mount Vernon, right before you hit that beautiful Chuckanut Drive overlooking the Sound and the San Juan Islands.

We picked out a lively day in February last year to explore it–the Second Annual Edison Bird Festival, which has been described as an “educational and quirky” event. We chose the “quirky” part and watched the Chicken Parade, which took all of maybe eight minutes. But those eight minutes! Yes, we saw a few real chickens, handsome and clucking, but most of the chickens were quirky Edison residents, also clucking and strutting. Those bright chickens brought a lively spirit to that dark and drizzly February day.parade1

The theme of the first annual parade was “Keep Your Chicken in Line,” which likely meant trying to get your chicken down that eight minute parade route. Last year, the theme was “Embrace Your Inner Chicken.” Our favorite group was a group of older hens, the “Mother Cluckers.” One of the bakeries was selling crusty bread “feathers.” And as the parade ended, the few spectators spilled into the streets and mixed with the chickens. I think we were some of the only people who didn’t know anyone there–small town at its best!parade2

Don’t be deceived by the silliness. A ton of great birding workshops, talks, demonstrations, and tours were also available. We took in one bird print-making activity that was attracting lots of children. The event is always scheduled for the same weekend as the Skagit Valley Hawk Census.

The Mother Cluckers were still trying to get organized as they passed us (photos courtesy of the Potter).

The Mother Cluckers were still trying to get organized as they passed us (photos courtesy of the Potter).

This year the theme is “Chicken Out,” and is scheduled for February 8-9 with what looks like even more activities. Their website at edisonbirdfestival.com shows all your choices. If you want to do a great loop tour, the annual city-wide antique sale in Snohomish is scheduled for that weekend also. We hadn’t planned on making the trek this year, but I just noticed a Fowl Roller Skating Race through town is scheduled right before the parade. Who can resist that?

Edward R. Murrow grew up just a few miles north of Edison.

Edward R. Murrow grew up just a few miles north of Edison.

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