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All aboard for Snoqualmie Railroad Days

SNOQUALMIE - It required more than 1,000 hours of work, but the planning for Snoqualmie Railroad Days is finally coming to a close as committee members put the finishing touches on this year's festival.

The celebration starts at 5 p.m. Friday, with rides and games in Railroad Park and food vendors throughout Snoqualmie. Many new-and-improved elements will take over the downtown streets, such as motorized scooters and a small train for kids. A raffle will also be held for those over age 18 and will include prizes of golf-for-four at the Tournament Players Course at Snoqualmie Ridge, and a spa package at the Salish Lodge and Spa.

Last year the smaller arts and craft businesses were dwarfed by larger commercial companies. That has been changed, and vendors will sell an array of unique, handmade gifts instead of mass-produced products that one might see at a shopping center.

"We've implemented a lot of things people have said. That's what came of not having commercial vendors," said Snoqualmie Railroad Days committee member Lisa Schaffer.

The committee also decided to extend the children's activities through Sunday. Events this weekend include children's bike decorating for the parade from 6-8 p.m., Friday, games and rides from 11 a.m. to dusk Saturday in Railroad Park, and musical entertainment from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Kids' Stage at the Log Pavilion.

On Sunday, games and rides will be offered from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Railroad Park, and the Kids' Stage will be open from noon to 5 p.m. at the Log Pavilion. At this time, some of the entertainers will include a magic show by Genii Blue Clown at noon, interactive drumming by L.J. Sweetland at 3 p.m. and award-winning music by Nancy Stewart in a show called "Animal Crackers" at 4 p.m.

The nine-member committee who helped plan this year's festival began meeting in September of last year. The committee is always looking for volunteers. Projects can vary between arranging bands for the Main Stage, designing brochures, obtaining sponsorships and working on the festival's Web site.

Schaffer has volunteered for three years and says she still isnOt tired of it. She enjoys learning new things everyday, and has come up with a system for making the planning flow more smoothly from year to year.

She added that volunteering doesn't have to feel like a chore. It's meant to be fun, and its reach is greater than the city of Snoqualmie.

"It shows support for the community and town," she said. "It's not just a festival in Fall City or North Bend, itOs the Valley; it's everyone's community."

Schaffer is already looking forward to next year. She is planning a laser light show to be shown on an inflatable wall in Sandy Cove Park.

"Our whole purpose is not to be a big festival that takes over the town. Our purpose is to just have bigger quality each year," she said. "If you do that I think everything else just falls into place."

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