Lifestyle

Arts are thriving in Valley this summer

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Summer's almost here and there's no better way to enjoy it than getting together with friends, putting some delicious things into a picnic basket and going out to the best venue around - the Snoqualmie Valley!

Our local arts agencies and organizations have put together a diverse array of activities and performances to encourage you to come to incomparable settings with views of the Snoqualmie River and Mount Si. Even better, many of these performances are free. You'll find music and arts festivals, a storytelling series and performances of Shakespeare's works.

I have wonderful memories of meandering down the woodsy trail at the Forest Theater, sunny and warm afternoons by the river at McCormick Park and an evening of Shakespeare at Fall City Farms, where Mount Si in the afterglow was the backdrop (and scene stealer) for the show. When you're joined by family and friends, enjoying food and libations, you'll have memories that last a lifetime, too.

One of the most beautiful settings in the Valley can be found at the Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theater in Fall City. This summer's productions include "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (June 19-July 18), and "The Sound of Music" (July 31-Sept. 5). A dinner of salmon or steak ($15 extra) is served on Saturdays between the shows and on Sundays after the show. For reservations and information, call (425) 736-7252 or visit www.foresttheater.org.

The Valley Drum and Dance comes to Fall City on Saturday, June 19, from 6:30-10:30 p.m. at Fall City Elementary School. Here's an event sure to get your blood boiling. The evening will feature Fall City artists and performances of African-based rhythm. There will be drum circles for everyone to play in and dancing for those who like to get up and move around. They ask for a $5 donation, children and seniors are free. For information, call Lee at (425) 333-4974.

Duvall has perhaps the most impressive lineup of summer entertainment in the Valley. Every Wednesday evening from July 7-Aug. 18, Summer Stage 2004, sponsored by the Duvall Arts Commission and Cascade Performing Arts Council, will feature an eclectic mix of performers, all free to the public. On Tuesday evenings from July 6 through July 27, join other folks by the fire to listen, experience and share in the tradition and art form of storytelling. All events take place at McCormick Park. For information, call (425) 788-2983 or visit www.cityofduvall.com/dac.

July 30 and 31 will be a Shakespearean weekend at Fall City Farms when Fall City Arts presents its third season of Shakespeare in the Park. Families will once again be able to enjoy GreenStage Theater Company's productions of "All's Well That Ends Well" on Friday, July 30, and "Coriolanus" on Saturday, July 31. The farm proved to be a natural setting for outdoor theater when nearly 400 people showed up at last year's production. These performances are free and made possible through the support of Fall City Arts, GreenStage, Fall City Farms and King County 4Culture. Fall City Arts can be reached at (425) 222-5037.

A new event is coming to the Snoqualmie Valley this summer. The Mosaic Music & Arts Festival will be held on Saturday, Aug. 7, at Tolt-MacDonald Park in Carnation. The day will feature live music, a variety of regional food, art and craft vendors and interactive art displays. The newly-formed Mosaic Productions was created in the summer of 2003 and its first big adventure is breathing life into the Mosaic Music & Arts Festival, an event that encompasses all the "mosaic" elements of music, art, creativity and fellowship. More information can be found on its Web site: www.mosaicmusicandarts.com.

Set a goal for yourself and your family: get out this summer for one of these exciting events. I promise you, you won't be disappointed and you may even get hooked on live performances. Support the arts in the Snoqualmie Valley!

Leigh Falconer is a Fall City resident and chair of the Fall City Arts Council. You can reach her at leighfalconer@hotmail.com.

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