Opinion | The real reason that Valley communities throw summer parties

Doing up the schedule this week, I’ll admit I was surprised to see that a lot of my North Bend Block Party favorites were missing in 2012.

The annual Strongman Competition, the pet events, the skateboard contest, George’s Bakery’s donut eating contest, and even Twede’s Cafe’s big, messy burger eating contest—scene of a food fight last year—were out.

But the block party itself continues on, with some new ideas, like Destiny by Design’s makeover reveal, or Boxley’s Future Jazz Heads student performers. Kyle Twede is retooling the beloved eating contest with a new idea: Hot chicken wings. Even if events change, the fun will continue and the crowds will still come. That’s what’s important.

Block parties began three years ago as a way for North Bend to celebrate its centennial, making sure to include local merchants in the fun. Even though North Bend now has not one but two summer festivals, I still believe the block party is a grand idea that deserves support, just like most other Valley festivals. So, at the Record, I and fellow staff back that talk with pullout sections in our editions, doing our part to promote these events.

Why does the Block Party, or Fall City Days, or Railroad Days, deserve our support? Because it brings out the best in our communities, and helps our local merchants succeed. Every time I attend one of these events, I hear how people get to meet neighbors they otherwise rarely meet. They celebrate local talent, from artists to dancing kids, and learn about good causes like Relay for Life or the Snoqualmie Valley Veteran’s Memorial, or about local businesses, big and small.

Events like these are about more than just helping kids beat the summer boredom. They’ll always be held in towns like these, because they always build community.

I’ll see you at the North Bend Block Party this Saturday.


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