Community festivals are the highlight of summer

If you are a relatively new resident to Snoqualmie Valley you might be noticing how important summer is after being covered in 80-plus inches of annual rainfall. From October to February, most of us tend to grow gills and webs between our toes. OK, maybe that is a stretch. No, the gills are not dirt and yes, I washed my feet this morning.

Getting back on track, though, summer is one of the best times to live in Snoqualmie Valley, and our local community festivals make it that much better. From parades to kettle corn, community festivals are a great experience for the entire family.

Fall City Days passed recently and unfortunately, I didn't make it. But I remember working many Fall City Days for Gene and Carol Stevens as a box boy, and I think about all the parades and highlights. There used to be a great logging show that went along with the festival, bringing out many local loggers to try their hand at axe throwing or log-pole climbing.

The logging show is long gone, but the town still does a festival right, with lots of food, a parade, a carnival, and did I say food?

Carnation has its festival on the Fourth of July. They close down the street, have a parade, car show, carnival and again, lots of food.

Sandblast hits Duvall, as well, which brings out some amazingly creative people who build some incredible sand sculptures. One year I took pictures of Ralph Bennett, a gifted artist, as he worked on a Native American sculpture.

Then it's Snoqualmie Days in early August. All the activities are there, along with my favorite, the famous shaved Ice Ladies. No, this isn't a Gillette commercial, it's the kind of shaved ice you get mounded in a cone, covered with various fruit flavors.

Another favorite is the dunk tank - a chance to take cheap shots to drop somebody in a cold tub of water. For some reason the organizers always think having a newspaper guy on the dunk-tank chair is a good idea. Do they know something I don't? Probably. I have had to decline the request the last few years, however; maybe because there were a few too many food booths at the community festivals. I just don't look quite as good in my Speedo as I used to.

Finally it's Alpine Days, with the Wyrsch family-sponsored fireworks show. The music at Alpine Days has something for every taste (there I go again with the food words) and typically has a huge variety of craft and art booths. Yep, there is plenty of food from some great restaurants around town.

The important thing to remember is the history of community festivals. They have brought us together as neighbors for many years. They give kids the opportunity to enjoy a carnival, or maybe take out that first date. They are a throwback to old-fashioned fun, without the Internet or electronic toys. They reflect who we are as a community.

But they are also run by volunteers, and having helped on several festival committees, I can tell you it takes a lot of work to pull one of these off. All of the festivals are looking for volunteers. To help, contact the Upper Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce office at (425) 888-0400 and ask for the number of the festival you want to join.

See you at the food booths!

Jim McKiernan

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