Northwest Paddling Association picks Issaquah for annual event

March 27, 2012

By Tom Corrigan

The Northwest Paddling Association has tabbed Issaquah and Lake Sammamish State Park as the future location of its annual Paddling Festival.

The event will feature paddling industry vendors, product demonstrations, kayak tours and more, according to the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce.

The first event on Lake Sammamish is set for May 11-12.

“The Northwest Paddling Festival found a perfect home here in the Issaquah area,” Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger said in a press release. “Our community has quickly become a regional destination for outdoor enthusiasts, who travel here to enjoy our majestic Issaquah Alps, beautiful waterways and vibrant downtown.”

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Learn more about the Northwest Paddling Festival at

“We are thrilled to welcome the Northwest Paddling Festival to Lake Sammamish,” Keith Niven, the city’s economic development director, said in the release. “These events enhance our city’s economic vitality by not only bringing new visitors to town — who eat, sleep and shop here — but also support Issaquah’s growing reputation as a top outdoor destination.”

Paddling association officials approached the city about moving the event from its previous home on Seattle’s Alki Beach, Phillip Morris, co-chairman of the Issaquah Tourism Committee and general manager of the Issaquah Motel 6, said in an interview.

“We feel we are forming a long-term partnership,” he said, adding he expects the festival to return to Issaquah and become an annual Lake Sammamish event.

The association has met with the city and the chamber to help bring in local vendors and sponsors, Morris added. The event is expected to draw more than 1,000 people to the area from south of Tacoma to north of Vancouver, he said.

The paddling association decided to move its festival to Lake Sammamish for a number of reasons. First, there is a larger area available for launching boats, Morris said. The launch area also is protected from strong winds. Morris further talked about the state park simply being a more intimate and secure setting than Alki Beach.

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