Snoqualmie Railroad Days is celebrating 80 years of trains, timber and tradition.
The annual festival is held the third weekend of August (Aug. 16-18). Originally organized by volunteer firefighters to celebrate the arrival of the town’s first fire truck in 1939, Railroad Days celebrates all things trains, timber and tradition.
For 2019, Snoqualmie retains a strong connection to its past. Residents and visitors experience the connection while visiting the Historic Downtown Commercial Landmark District, Snoqualmie Falls and the Northwest Railway Museum whose passenger rail program operates on the same rail line that brought the first regional tourists to the Falls on July 4, 1889.
Starting Friday, Aug. 16, from 7:30-11:30 p.m., there will be a downtown music pub crawl starting at The Black Dog Cafe and concludes at Smokey Joe’s.
Saturday will begin with a firefighter’s pancake breakfast at 7 a.m., followed by the Kiddie and Grand Parade at 11 a.m. The firefighter’s competition in Sandy Cove Park will commence at 2 p.m.
The night will close with a Big Band Dance with the Maple Valley Big Band from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Since 1939, Railroad Days has grown to include a grand parade, live music and entertainment, commercial and artisan vendors, a Family Field of Fun, TimberSports and Art in the Park.
Cole Van Gerpen has been a longtime volunteer at Railroad Days. This year, he serves as the assistant to the coordinator for the festival.
Van Gerpen said he thinks Railroad Days is important because it serves as a reminder of Snoqualmie’s past.
“It’s important to have a reminder of Snoqualmie’s history,” he said. “I think it’s special that we celebrate its history.”
This year’s festivities include a weekend full of music, art and community.
This is the first time Railroad Days has had a pub crawl, according to Ven Gerpen.
“We thought it would be a great way to kick off the weekend and see downtown,” he said.
The Big Band Dance is a longtime Railroad Days tradition that has been absent for the past 20 years.
“We’re very excited to be bringing it back because there was a time where it was the only event Railroad Days had,” Van Gerpen said. “During WWII, when none of the rest of the festival was put on, the dance continued on and is part of the reason we still celebrate today.”
Sunday will conclude with the Legend’s Car Club Car Show 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Attendees can look forward to participating in Arts in the Park, kids activities, music, wine and beer garden, TimberSports, train and speeder car rides and more.
For more information about Railroad Days, go online to the event website (http://www.railroaddays.com/events/).