It’s Seafair ya’ll! Starting in July and ending in Early August with the Hydroplane races on Lake Washington. This event has over 30 fun (and affordable) activities to participate in but also has a pretty interesting history.
Seafair is one of our areas longest running community events. Starting back in the early 50’s – before our area had any Seahawks, Sonics or Mariners or even the Seattle Center – the powers that be were looking for a way to generate tourism, national recognition and to promote the area being the “boating capital of the world.”
Seafair was first held at Greenlake. The 5,500 seat Auqa Theater was built (in 75 days) – and festival began August 11, 1950. The event featured the Aqua Follies “swimusical” including a diving show and synchronized swimming, boat races and amateur athletics. The early event also included Seafair royalty, parades and a variety of community festivals!
Over the years the event has grown to include the famed Boeing Seafair Air Show with demonstrations from the US Navy Blue Angels (my favorite every year), Seafair Pirates, Torchlight Parade and of course the amazingly fun Home Street Bank Cup hydroplane boat races.
Got a boat? Or know someone that does? Don’t miss the epic partying on thousands of boats tied to the Seafair Log Boom! It’s a 10 week long event – so be sure to find a way to participate!!
What’s your favorite part of this event? And if you’re new to the area go find it and let me know!! There are a few links in this post that will hopefully prove helpful, including Seafair Calendar of events, Best places to watch the Blue Angels (this NEVER gets old!), More history…
The Insider’s Guide to July 4th on the Eastside
Something is about to explode on the Eastside! Every year around the Fourth of July, lots of communities put together a fireworks display. But it can be overwhelming to figure out where to go and when. Never mind navigating the traffic that comes with it. So I thought it’d be nice to put together a quick little list of firework shows, times, and locations for you. Yes, I’ve got the big three on here (Kirkland, Redmond, Bellevue), but I also wanted to talk about a few of the outlying communities. Many have shows that are just as awesome, but with half the crowds. So who knows, maybe this year you’ll venture out and find something new!
The BIG Three
Date: July 4
Expect more than 60,000 people. Yes, there will be live music and events as well, but… 60,000 people. If you’re up for braving the crowds, the family fun zone opens at 2 pm, and the big show kicks off around 10 pm.
Date: July 4
Location: Marina Park
If you’ve never seen fireworks over water, you’re missing out. This might just be my favorite display because, if you’re lucky, you can catch some of Seattle’s show in the background, too. There is a parade starting at 9AM with events lasting right up until BOOM time at 10 pm. Parking is a tight and space to sit is limited, so get in town early. Finding some blanket space at Houghton Beach or Heritage Park is a sneaky way to see the show with a smaller crowd, but the best trick is finding a friend with a boat and bribing your way aboard.
Date: Derby Days! July 12th and 13th
Redmond ushers its residents to nearby displays, opting to save traffic and budget for their Derby Days celebration. Read more about THAT, here.
Other Favorite Outliers
Date: July 4
Nothing like free pancakes (8:30 am) to get your day started off right! There’s also a children’s parade, grand parade, and other events to last the day until 10 pm when the fireworks show gets started.
Date: July 4
Close to home, the Down Home festival features a kids-n-pets parade (11 am), old-fashioned games, and live entertainment. I like that this one starts a bit later in the day, meaning I get to sleep in a bit before rushing to the festival to find parking. Yes, please.
Date: July 4
Location: Log Boom Park
A short drive north for a fun experience! This one really gets started later in the evening, with food and vendors kicking off at 7:30 pm. The fireworks get started around 10 pm.
Date: July 4
Location: Vasa Park
This one is kind of a fundraiser and show built into one. Donations benefit the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank. The event has raised more than $69,000 since 2015. If you’re looking for a way to feel good about the Fourth, this is my pick. The fireworks show itself is beautiful and, again, over water. Things get started around 10:15 pm.
Date: July 4
Location: Angle Lake Park
I like this one because it’s a little lower key. There will still be a big crowd and lots of kiddos, but the spray park, lake, and kid’s bounce zone make it easy to spend more time here as you wait for the display to start. The operation kicks off around noon, with the big finale lighting up the sky around 10 pm.
Date: July 4th
Location: Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park
Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park is the perfect summer backdrop for Renton’s 4th of July celebration!
An array of entertaining options including two ActivityZones for kids and families, co-ed grass & sand volleyball tournament, live stage entertainment, and the company of friends and family. Be sure not to miss Oncore at 8:00pm. A 25-minute firework display over Lake Washington will conclude the day’s events at 10 p.m.
I have a friend who absolutely RAVES about seeing fireworks down south at the Emerald Downs. It’s hosted BEFORE the 4th, this year falling on July 3rd, and runs like an all-day event. It kicks off with a kid’s movie playing on the big screen before the horses come out to race. Kids really love watching the horses run and trying to pick which one will win. Kids can get up close to the thoroughbreds, which is nice. When its show time, everyone sits right by the track for a real front row view of the fireworks- always set to music. There is, naturally, a TON of parking and almost always a Groupon for admission, making it nearly free to attend. (Kids are always free) If you’re up for something different, make this your family’s newest tradition.
Let’s face it — you can’t really go wrong with what you choose around here. So many amazingly fun things to do and places to see those fireworks. Happy Fourth Y’all!!
PS — if you check any of these things out be sure to share your experience and pictures!
Let’s face it — we live in a pretty amazing area. There is no need to go elsewhere if you want to enjoy Memorial Day weekend. It’s seems like the perfect time to stick around and have some LOCAL fun. And as a bonus — this weekend is supposed to be SUPER fabulous as far as being able to get some vitamin D is concerned. We’ve looked around some of our most favorite communities so you can find the fun — no mater where you live. Don’t forget to let us know what your favorite events are. Especially if there is something everyone else should know about. Post some pictures on IG or FB and be sure to Tag me!!
Northwest Folklife Festival & Kindiependent Showcase
The 48th Annual Northwest Folklife Festival & Kindiependent Showcase is one of the largest folk festivals in the country and fun for the whole family. With hands on activities for the kids, 26 different stages, back to back performances and dancing you will have a hard time choosing what to do first. Oh! and there will be food so make sure you are hungry!
Memorial Day Weekend Train Rides
All Aboard! With what looks like a promising weather weekend ahead take a scenic train ride through the Cascade foothills of the Upper Snoqualmie Valley to celebrate Memorial Day. This special 75-minute train ride is in addition to the railroad’s usual weekend train schedule and takes you to the top of Snoqualmie Falls. As a bonus, the Northwest Railway Museum will be offering $5 round-trip train fare Sat.-Mon. to members of the military, including active duty, guard, reserve and retired and their dependent family members, with current military ID.
Remlinger Farms is now open on Saturdays and Sundays. Take a ride the half-sized steam train along the Tolt River, pet the farm animals (think: goats, horses, piggies, cows, alpaca, sheep, bunnies, donkeys) or take a pony ride and jump in the hay maze, spin on the mini roller coaster or “fly” on the pumpkins. Plus, go ’round and ’round in the pedal cars and enjoy a day full day of farm fun.
Memorial Day Weekend Run
Put on your running shoes and bring the family to the Memorial Day Weekend run. You can choose a 5K, 10K or 15K run/walk as well as a 1 mile Memorial mile and there is a Kid’s Dash! The 400-meter Kid’s Dash (for ages 2-10) will start 15 minutes before race time, giving you the perfect chance to run with your kiddo and get warmed up before your race.
Sat., May 25 at 10 a.m. Seattle. $3 to $32. Registration required. Ages 2 & older.
Get ready for the noise at Tankfest Northwest this Memorial Day Weekend. This family event will showcase military vehicle demonstrations, remote control tanks and a scavenger hunt, plus face painting, a bouncy house and food from some of our region’s top food trucks.
Memorial Day Ceremony
This 3 day event is a great way to teach your kids the importance of Memorial Day. Enjoy this annual ceremony held at The Museum of Flight. The Museum will honor military service with patriotic music from The Boeing Employees Concert Band, followed by a ceremony with local officials and US Military personnel. And! All veterans and active US military personnel will receive free admission with ID.
6 Easter Egg Hunts on the Eastside
There is just something special about Easter chocolate. It doesn’t even matter if you can buy chocolate year round. There is just something special about Easter chocolate. Maybe that’s why so many East-siders are so loyal to the idea of community egg hunts.
The tradition of hiding and seeking eggs goes back thousands of years. In many cultures, the egg represents new life, making it the poster-child for Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For many of us, memories of hunting hidden eggs and acquiring hidden candy, toys, or even money brings back all kinds of fond memories. It’s so much nostalgia!
Here’s where to find the best egg hunts around the Eastside in 2019.
- Kirkland Egg Hunt
Held every year at Peter Kirk Park, this event is a favorite for so many people in Western Washington. The city will scatter eggs inside of the baseball diamond before releasing the kids like a pack of hungry wolves. There really is no “hunt” involved, and every year I am terrified that some child will be mobbed and trampled to death, but so far that hasn’t happened. All anxiety aside, this is a fun event where you’re almost certain to run into a neighbor. Just make sure you get downtown early to find a parking spot.
Pair a 5k with a traditional egg hunt and come out with something for everyone in the family! This event places eggs along the 5K route, which really motivates runners to hustle! Get this- the eggs are prize based. Some eggs will add minutes to your run time. Other eggs take time off your total. The catch? You’ll never know what is inside the egg until you’re done running and gathering. So, is it worth it to collect a lot of eggs? That’s up to you! While there is a fee for participation for the grown-ups, kids can dash for free and without prior registration.
Fox Hollow Farm, Issaquah
I just love the idea of this one! The folks over at Fox Hollow in Issaquah blend an old-fashioned farm experience with thousands of hidden eggs just waiting to be found! Kiddos can fill their baskets while petting baby animals, playing in the corn bin, and meeting the Easter Bunny himself! If your kiddo finds the 1 (out of thousands) of Golden Eggs hidden at the farm, we’re told you’re in for a “big” surprise. You must pre-reserve a spot to attend this event, and prices range from $10 per person to $50 per carload.
Redmond Town Center
RTC seems to always have something exciting going on, don’t they? Their annual egg hunt is pretty great, too. Hosted by the Kiwanis Club, the event will be held on April 20 and kicks off at noon. The event features an egg scavenger hunt as well as prizes for the first 2,000 kids under 12. There will also be inflatables, trampolines, arts and crafts, face painting, and all sorts of other fun things to do.
- Bellevue Community Egg Hunt
Every year Bellevue College puts this event on as an annual community affair. It’s free and open to children 10 and under, and one of my favorite events in Bellevue. With more than 50,000 eggs, you can also expect face painting and inflatables. Even better yet? You can pre-reserve things so that you’re able to skip the long lines on the day of. Now THAT is nice!
What better way to play around than in a comfortable, safe kid’s museum? This annual event does have a cover charge, but once you’re in the door you can expect games, crafts, and of course a good old fashioned egg hunt. Children must be accompanied by a paying adult. Watch the website for sales times on tickets!
There are so many egg hunts out there that AREN’T on the Eastside, and I wanted to share those with you as well. Everything from a flashlight hunt for teens to egg hunting with animals at Woodland Park Zoo, it’s all right here.
Part of the joy of the holiday season is exploring holiday lights with the kids. They’re bright and festive, and just inspire imagination and awe. Especially in young children, going hunting for lights is a time-honored holiday tradition. Unfortunately, more and more people are not decorating their homes with lights. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still great light displays out there to be found and enjoyed. Here are a few of my favorite holiday lights hot spots.
23620 ne 183RD St. Woodinville, WA 98072
A family oriented display awaits you in Woodinville! Here you’ll find a full acre display of lights set to music and light animations. The display is free to visit, but cash donations are appreciated. The donations benefit a variety of charities. To get the most out of the experience, tune your radio to 101.9 FM.
16504 112th PL NE Bothell, WA 98011
Another home with a ton of lights can be found in Bothell. Keener Christmas is a drive-through experience with no foot traffic allowed. You’ll find more than half a million lights as well as animations and inflatables. This family favorite home has been featured in many newscasts about the best-decorated homes in Western Washington. From time to time you’ll even find Santa on site handing out candy canes! If you’re so moved, you can also donate food to charity at the site!
Bellevue Botanical Gardens
12001 Main St. Bellevue, WA 98005
Get lost as you wander through the fields of flower-themed lights at Bellevue’s annual Garden d’Lites festival. Now in its 24th year, the tradition of nature-themed light shows is a must for many people during the holiday season. You’ll also find a running river made of lights. The Gardens set up a scavenger hunt among the lights to keep young people excited, and there is always espresso and hot cocoa on site, too. There is a small admission fee, but there are also free nights every season as well. Check the website before heading out so that you can plan! Remember – kids ten and under are free!
19525 SE 54th St Issaquah, WA 98027
For something just a little different, head out to Issaquah and the Cougar Mountain Zoo! Here you’ll find a full Christmas themed park, culminating with live reindeer! The 31st annual Reindeer festival keeps limited hours, open only until 4:30 pm, but is nothing short of pure wonder for your children. Since the reindeer are on site, of course, you can expect to see Santa! You can also hear a story from an elf during your visit!
For more homes with amazing lights, check out this interactive map!
If you’re up for a drive, there are plenty of lights in Seattle, too. You can visit the Woodland Park Zoo for their annual Wild Lights show, or check out the Candy Cane Lane neighborhood! Whatever you do, be sure to take lots of photos and share them with me! And, if you know of a hot spot that I’ve missed, I really want to hear about it!
The Eastside does family fun with flair! There are so many fun family events around town that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed! The good news is that most of these events are free, or at least low cost, so you can try them all out and see which ones are the best fit for your family. Here’s a rundown of the events that make creating family traditions fun!
15670 NE 85th St. Redmond, WA 98052
Act fast! This is a weekend event special, happening on December 1-2. It’s a free event held in downtown Redmond. The progressive event starts at City Hall with a tree lighting ceremony and fireworks show. From there, stroll down a lighted pathway dotted with carolers and performers. Your trail ends in Redmond Town Center where you’ll find more entertainers, shops, treats, and family fun.
This event is the priciest on my list. But it does offer a fun experience that the kids will love. You board an Argosy ship at one of many docks around Lake Washington or in Seattle and set sail! Along the way, you’ll be serenaded by choirs and subject to beautiful views. Many local yacht and boat owners follow the parade of boats and have their vessels decorated as well. If you have kids, try to snag a ticket on the lead boat, since Santa is on board and there is a dedicated kid space for coloring and crafts. There are adult beverages available for purchase as well. The event will almost always sell out, so book tickets well in advance! If the ship isn’t for you, plan to take the family to designated beaches to view the parade of boats from land!
Another annual family tradition for many Eastside families, there just aren’t enough words to describe how magical this event is. Marching drummers, dancing snow fairies, and even ice queens. You’ll also experience “snow” falling every night. (It’s really a foam machine, but the kids won’t care. It’s still magical!) The event features a parade, music, dancing, and free candy handed out by the character cast. It’s a popular event, though, so be sure to get there early. The event is free and kicks off nightly at 7 pm.
11730 118TH Ave. NE Kirkland, WA 98034
This annual play features local child actors. It’s a tradition for many families and offers a glimpse into theatre life for children. Recommended for ages 4 and up, the show is only offered on weekends. Tickets are $20 per person for all ages.
3429 240th St. SE Bothell, WA 98021
An outdoor lights display, this one is just north of the Eastside. Put on by Bothell’s Evergreen Church, this is a free event. Take advantage of free cookies and cider while you’re there, too.
Finally, let’s talk outside of the Eastside. One of the benefits to living here is the close proximity to Seattle. If you feel like making the trip across the bridge to the big city, here are my favorite holiday events in the city.
1250 1st Ave. Seattle, WA 98134
New to the city this year, this is a traveling display of lights that features the world’s largest Christmas light maze. You’ll find an ice skating trail, as opposed to a rink, which winds you by live entertainment and right to your visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. You need to pre-book your time in the event. Here’s a Groupon for tickets to help save you some cash!
The Sheraton Seattle
1400 6th Ave. Seattle, WA 98101
Now in its 26th year, this is an impressive display of gingerbread houses. Many have moving parts and most are taller than your child! It’s simply magical. Every year they have a different theme — this year is Dr. Seuss. Always a must see!!
Fisher Pavilion & International Fountain
305 Harrison St. Seattle, WA 98109
There are so many activities here! From the Winter Train Village to an ice skating rink and carousel to live ice sculpting demonstrations and live performances all season long. Be sure to check the website before heading down as the schedule changes daily.
These are all amazing activities in our very own backyard. Many of which I have started as traditions in my family!! What are your favorite traditions during this magical time of year!?