When asked as part of a 2015 Bainbridge Review interview, neither Frank Buxton or John Ellis could remember exactly how long they had been announcers for the Bainbridge Island Grand Old 4th Hometown Parade.
But what they did remember clearly was that by 2013 they had seen many a float, and come to the conclusion that, in general, the Bainbridge Island Hometown Parade entries had lost some of their luster, their creativity, their sense of fun: Where was that supermarket cart drill team, the giant pie pieces in wheelbarrows, or what initially appeared to be a giant toaster (and was in fact a VW bus covered in foil and heaping amounts of duct tape)?
So, after a lively session of brainstorming, these long-time members of the Edge Improv formally made it their mission to bring back the fun to the parade, ultimately putting their money where their mouth was by offering a $1,000 prize for the most humorous parade entry.
The prize for winning the new Buxton-Ellis Humor Award was an appropriately community-based one in that if a nonprofit won, they could keep all the money, while if a for-profit entry won, they could designate a local Bainbridge Island or Kitsap nonprofit to receive it the check.
The first winner was the Bainbridge Island Senior/Community Center in 2013 with their excellent choreographed ‘Sound Off’ marching routine. Many more followed, including a collection of oversized ballon creations from the Calico Toy Shoppe, and a drill team (spiced up with real drills!) from a then still-under-construction BARN.
Although Frank passed away in 2018, his wife (Cynthia Sears) and John Ellis elected to shorten the name and continue the prize and the tradition of silliness all the way through… until the event was paused during the pandemic.
Well, here in 2022 the Grand Old 4th is back, the Hometown Parade is back, and we are delighted to announce that 2022 will also mark the welcome return of the Buxton Humor Award to Bainbridge Island.
All of that means just one thing: Alright parade people: get creative, get silly, get busy! We’re all waiting to see what you come up with and $1000 is at stake!