Arts and Entertainment

Fall City Days | Forty years of fun

Fall City Days committee members continue a tradition of service, organizing and promoting the hometown festival. From left are, back row, Bill Aggenbach, Angela Donaldson, John Lazenby, Kirk Dunckel and Libby James, middle, Judy Dix, Laurie Hauglie, Melody Tjossem, Laurie Edwards, front, Kaila and Jaden. - Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Fall City Days committee members continue a tradition of service, organizing and promoting the hometown festival. From left are, back row, Bill Aggenbach, Angela Donaldson, John Lazenby, Kirk Dunckel and Libby James, middle, Judy Dix, Laurie Hauglie, Melody Tjossem, Laurie Edwards, front, Kaila and Jaden.
— image credit: Seth Truscott / Snoqualmie Valley Record

It’s official. Summer has begun early with a weekend of fun for four full decades in Fall City.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Fall City Days, a celebration that traces its roots back to old-time logging exhibitions, firefighter contests and soap-box derbies.

The milestone this year is marked by some new events, some old. Favorites that are back include the rubber Duck Derby, watermelon-eating competition, Fall City Fun Run and lots of artistic performances.

New events include a children’s pet parade and a concert and talent show on a brand new stage.

“We think it’s awesome,” committee member Judy Dix said of the milestone.

The entire weekend is a benefit for the community. Proceeds raise funds for local schools and organizations.

“We do it for the kids,” said longtime volunteer Bill Aggenbach. “It’s neat to have an event we can give to the community.”

Looking back

Fall City Days has come a long way in 40 years. It was in 1971 that the Fall City Business and Professional Association took over the festival and changed the name to the Fall City Days and Logging Show.

That continued the tradition of an older summer celebration that led back to Derby Day and the even older Strawberry Festival.

During the late 1940s, local Scouts raced their soap box derby cars down main street. The derbies led to the naming of the celebration as Fall City Derby Day.

According to Jack Kelley’s “History of Fall City,” “Derby Day flourished over the years. There were all kinds of events: Hydroplane races, bake sales, queen contests, square dances... bed races, Fall City Fire Department water fights... jam sessions in Quigley Park, horseshoe and draft horse competitions, skeet shoots and pony rides, to name a few. And you wouldn’t be caught dead without your derby hat.”

Legend has it that those who didn’t have the proper headgear might find themselves in the lockup.

Up through the ‘90s, local firefighters used to gather in the park for a water-powered tug-of-war. Local resident Angie Donaldson remembers seeing teams from Duvall, Snoqualmie, Preston, North Bend and the hometown use hoses to spray a suspended ball on a line in some wet-and-wild competition.

The events changed a lot over the years. The logging show came and went, but new events always came forward. Today, the afternoon Ducky Derby is a big hit, providing proceeds to good local causes.

If it only takes place on Saturday, why is it called ‘Fall City Days’? Dix explains that there used to be several events on Sunday, such as a beer festival. Those went away, but the name stuck.

Volunteers, adults and children alike, help prep for the big day. Firefighters and Fall City’s best and brightest offer to be dunked in a tank of water to raise money. After everyone goes home, local Boy Scouts clean up.

“It’s a community effort,” said Dix.

• You can sign up to take part in the Fall City Days parade or watermelon contest online at http://www.fallcity.org/fallcity_days.html.

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