The third largest army post in the United States, Fort Lewis, is located in the County as are McChord Air Force Base, Madigan Army Medical Center, and Camp Murray National Guard post. Altogether these military installations contribute over 42,000 military and civilian jobs to the local economy.
Pierce County's official transportation provider is Pierce Transit. It provides buses, para transit, and ride share vehicles. The regional Sound Transit runs a light rail line through downtown Tacoma, and provides several regional express buses. Also, Intercity Transit provides transportation between Tacoma, Lakewood, and Thurston County.
Every year in April, the Pierce County Daffodil Festival and Parade is held. Established in 1934, it is one of the regions prominent attractions.
The Daffodil Festival, for all intents and purposes, was born on April 6, 1926 when Mr. And Mrs. Charles W. Orton were hosts to civic leaders from 125 towns in Western Washington. The Orton's lived in rural Sumner and opened up their home for a garden party. The garden party was arranged so the guests could see the many varieties of daffodils in bloom in and around their estate. Among the many guests were the Mayors from Seattle and Tacoma. Major General Robert Alexander, Commander at Fort Lewis, brought a military band and a group of officers and their ladies from the Army post. After this first garden party, the event became an annual affair.
Year after year, interest grew, (along with the ever expanding daffodil fields) until 1932, at which time "Bulb Sunday" came into being. The viewing of daffodils in bloom became fashionable, and, unfortunately created a massive traffic problem for Puyallup, Sumner and Orting, as up to 8,000 vehicles crowded the roads bordering the golden fields. No doubt, automobiles and owners were also vying for attention. The calamity of this congestion also brought a halt to "Bulb Sunday".
1934 was to become "Parade" year. Well known Tacoma photographer and first secretary of the founding group, Lee Merrill, suggested that the daffodil blooms, which at that time were thrown away or used as fertilizer, be used instead as decoration for a Festival Parade. Automobiles were decorated with daffodils, bicycles followed in like fashion and together paraded through our city and neighboring Valley towns. The presence of a mounted contingent of the finest riding horses in the area, prompted their appearance each year to follow. The idea grew and presently the Grand Floral Street Parade travels through four Pierce County communities on Parade Day - - Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner and Orting.
In 2008 the Daffodil Festival was 75 years old, and there has been a parade every year since 1934, with the exception of the war years of 1943, 1944 and 1945.
Our Pierce County Community has, for 74 years, viewed the Daffodil Festival as the premier headline event, second only to the Washington State Fair. Every other major city in Washington State has a Festival and we in the community should be proud that the Daffodil Festival continues to be a significant event in the Pacific Northwest.