Salmon Days Festival returns to downtown Issaquah
October 1, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
UPDATED — 12:50 p.m. Oct. 1, 2011
The ode to salmon migration, Issaquah’s iconic Salmon Days Festival, returns to downtown Issaquah on Saturday.
The festival is expected to lure more than 100,000 attendees to the city Saturday and Sunday for a parade, carnival games, street snacks, arts and crafts, and, of course, a chance to see migrating chinook in Issaquah Creek.
Salmon Days opens at 10 a.m. as the Grande Parade starts inching through the business district. Expect more than 90 floats — including VIPs such as Mayor Ava Frisinger and representatives from Issaquah’s sister city, Chefchaouen, Morocco, plus entries from other Pacific Northwest festivals and local organizations.
Travis Arket, a crab fisherman featured on Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch,” is the parade’s grand marshal.
The parade route runs along Front Street North and Northwest Gilman Boulevard.
Motorists should prepare to brake for salmon throughout the festival. Streets close all day Saturday and Sunday downtown and in the business district for Salmon Days. The influx of people to Issaquah could also cause delays on other roads.
The festival includes bluegrass, rock, R&B and other musical styles on a series of stages throughout the festival grounds. Or, attendees can head to the Field of Fun for a chance to climb inside the Human Hamster Balls or partake in other carnival-style entertainment.
Hungry festivalgoers can nosh on snacks inspired by cuisines from around the globe at Foods of the World. The eatery options include more than 50 vendors.
Meanwhile, the Kiwanis Club of Issaquah offers grilled salmon, coleslaw and beverages as part of a fundraiser to benefit community organizations. The salmon barbecue is a popular festival stop.
The centerpiece of the festival is the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery along Issaquah Creek. The hatchery grounds remain packed throughout the festival as people jostle for a chance to see chinook salmon attempt head upstream or through viewing windows at the hatchery.
Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, a nonprofit organization, opened a gift shop at the hatchery earlier in the year. Festivalgoers can browse the gift shop for educational materials about the salmon life cycle and other Issaquah souvenirs.
Sunday includes the Issaquah Rotary Run, a fundraiser for the Issaquah Schools Foundation.
Festivalgoers should prepare for seasonably cool and rainy conditions throughout Salmon Days.
National Weather Service meteorologists forecast a soggy Saturday. The high temperature is expected to climb near 60 degrees, but showers and a possible thunderstorm could dampen festival activities. The chance of precipitation is 80 percent.
Sunday should be drier and cool. Forecasters said the day should be mostly cloudy. The high temperature is expected to reach 63 degrees.