Greenway Days kicks off summer-long festival

June 15, 2010

By David Hayes

Every year, more than 4,000 volunteers help the Mountains to Sound Greenway conserve and educate the public about a 100-mile stretch of Interstate 90.

Greenway Days returns Father’s Day weekend for its seventh year to celebrate their efforts and draw visitors to more than 25 events in 10 communities along the route.

Greenway Days offers many group hikes, bike rides and community celebrations in addition to its signature events: Greenway Geoteaming, a high-tech geocaching competition; and Let’s Go Fishing, a chance for 6- to 15-year-olds to learn the technique of fishing at Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island.

Issaquah’s Fenders on Front Street car show, from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. June 20, has also become a signature event for Greenway Days. Front Street is literally shut down as hundreds of cars line both sidewalks and bands provide entertainment along the route.

Other events in Issaquah this year include:

  • Motorcycle Chili Run, from 8:30 a.m. – noon June 19, invites motorcyclists to cruise to downtown spots where chefs are preparing their best, sample the cuisine and vote on the top bowl of chili. Completed ballots are eligible to win gift certificates for dinner for two at several local restaurants. The winner of the cook-off will be announced at 12:30 p.m. at the Hailstone Feed Store.
  • Issaquah History Museums hosts a history walk of Grand Ridge Mine at 10 a.m. and a history walk through downtown at 1 p.m. June 19. Both start at the depot. Call 392-3500 for reservations.
  • A history hike to Issaquah and Superior Mine begins at 10 a.m. June 20. Call 392-3500 for reservations.
  • Issaquah Alps Trails Club hikes the Tradition Plateau Loop at 9 a.m. June 20. Call 453-8997 for details.
  • A King County Executive Horse Council Trail Ride from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. June 19 through the trails in Taylor Mountain Forest. Register at trails@kingcountyexecutivehorsecouncil.org or call 206-779-7832.
  • Friends of Issaquah Salmon Hatchery host an open house and hatchery tours at 11 a.m., and 1 and 3 p.m. June 19. There is also a fundraising rummage sale from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. June 20 at the Watershed Science Center, 80 Newport Way S.W.

Greenway Days activities are spread out over the weekend from Bellevue to Ellensburg.

New events this year include the Roslyn Northern Lights Festival, which celebrates the “Northern Exposure” TV series filmed in the historic Central Washington town; the Waterfest! Festival of Water at the Cedar River Watershed Education Center just outside North Bend; the King County Executive Horse Council Trail Ride at Taylor Mountain Forest near Maple Valley; and the Father’s Day Orienteering and Climbing Challenge at Eastgate Park in Bellevue.

Greenway Days Coordinator Stephanie Dunlap said this is the second year for Greenway Summer events.

“We came to the realization that expecting people to visit all these locations over one weekend was not completely practical,” Dunlap said. “So, we figured a way for them to visit all these communities all summer.”

The Mountains to Sound Relay keeps Greenway Summer events going June 27. The five-leg, 100-mile relay from Snoqualmie Pass to the Golden Gardens Park in Seattle includes 17 miles atop a mountain bike, a 46-mile road race, a 12-mile canoe/kayak segment, a 13.1 mile half marathon and a 5.3-mile sprint. Deadline to register a team is June 25. Dunlap said as many as 800 participants compete solo, in duos or in groups of up to five members. Sign up here.

Back for its third year is the Greenway Challenge. The summerlong event encourages participants to visit either seven or 12 sites throughout the Greenway between June 19 and Sept. 6, taking photos as proof of being there. To entice participation, Greenway Challenge offers several prizes, from gift certificates and free accommodations to ski passes and concert tickets. Dunlap said this is increasing in popularity, as indicated by the increase in registration, now up to 50, with families usually participating bringing the total number of people involved up to about 250.

“People love it,” she said. “We try to find them new sites in lesser-known areas and we hear in feedback, ‘I never knew that was there.’”

David Hayes: dhayes@isspress.com, 392-6434, ext. 237. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

On the Web

See a complete list of Greenway Days events here.

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