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Weekend Cover Story

So many festivals, so little time

Summer festival fun begins this weekend

Northwest Guardian

Published: 01:30PM July 18th, 2013
So many festivals, so little time

Tony Overman/The Olympian

Lakefair at Heritage Park in Olympia on Thursday, July 19, 2012.

Summer is a season for fun outdoor festivals throughout Puget Sound that feature local arts, food, entertainment and music.

The 56th Annual Capital Lakefair Festival in Olympia began Wednesday and continues through Sunday with food vendors, arts and crafts booths, carnival rides, the Grand Twilight Parade and a fireworks show near Capital Lake.

More than 200,000 people come through Olympia’s Water Street to enjoy the festivities each year, bringing together locals from Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey and other nearby communities.

“It’s like a big class reunion,” said Bob Barnes, Capital Lakefair executive director. “They come down for the food booths.”

Each day has a highlight theme for the five-day festival.

Saturday features the Lakefair 3K and 8K runs that go around the city of Olympia and end at Heritage Park. Same-day registration only for the 3K and 8K races before 10 a.m. More race information is available at http://www.ontherunevents.com/lakefair/raceinfo.htm.

The Grand Finale fireworks display wraps up the festival at 10 p.m. Sunday with music synchronized to the fireworks played on 1240-AM radio.

For more information about Lakefair, visit www.lakefair.org.

Also this weekend is food festival, Bite of Seattle at the Seattle Center. Nearly 60 area restaurants offer a variety of dishes from elephant ears and corn dogs to battered alligator tenders and spicy kimchi chicken sandwiches.

“The Bite is always a place to get festival favorites and to try some really good new stuff,” said Cindy Stohr, media director for Bite of Seattle.

A new attraction this year is The Bite Craft Beer and Hard Cider Tasting at the Fisher Building, which features 70 different beers and ciders. Happy hour is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Local bands Jukebox Heroes, The Halyards, The Bob Rivers Show Band and Witherow will perform on four stages.

“The focus is really on those locals,” Stohr said, referring to the food, drink and entertainment.

For complete entertainment and food listings, visit http://www.biteofseattle.com.

A ferry ride away is Vashon Island, which hosts its 104th Annual Strawberry Festival this weekend.

Food vendors offer typical fair food, but with an emphasis on locally picked strawberries used in dishes like pancakes, sundaes, lemonade, iced tea, funnel cakes and ice cream.

Other attractions include the traditional Grand Parade, beer garden, classic cars, carnival, the Bill Burby Fun Run and the Fireman’s Water Challenge.

To learn more, visit www.vaschonchamber.com/strawfest.

Festivals at a glance

JAZZ PORT TOWNSEND

July 21-28 — Port Townsend

The weeklong workshop attracts performers, aspiring professionals and the avid learners at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend to meet other musicians and leave a better musician. Information: centrum.org/jazz-port-townsend-the-workshop

RENTON RIVER DAYS

July 26-28 — Renton

Highlighted by a “Specquackular” scavenger hunt for rubber duckies scattered throughout the city of Renton. Festival includes an arts market with handmade arts and crafts. Information: www.rentonriverdays.org

SUMNER FINE ARTS FESTIVAL

Aug. 2-4 — Sumner

The festival highlights more than 40 years of the arts in Sumner and will include hands on activities for children and adults, artwork and craft booths, jazz music and a wine garden. Information: www.sumnerdowntown.com

PROCTOR ARTS FESTIVAL

Aug. 3 — Tacoma

In addition to an art show, the festival also has a Bite of Proctor, a dog show and parade, kids festival and demonstrations area. Information: proctorartsfest.com

SEAFAIR WEEKEND

Aug. 3-4 — Seattle

A variety of music, activities and entertainment can be found at Genessee Park in Seattle, including the Boeing Air Show, Graham Trucking Formula One PROP Tour and the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Tour’s Albert Lee Appliance Cup. Information: www.seafair.com

TACOMA MARITIME FESTIVAL

Aug. 24-25 — Tacoma

Several events are held at the Tacoma Waterfront along Ruston Way, including kayaking, fishing and sailboating. Information: www.maritimefest.org