Community invited to celebrate diversity at Highlands Day

June 19, 2012

By Christina Corrales-Toy

Cultural diversity is the theme of this year’s Highlands Day, hosted by the Issaquah Highlands Council.

The annual event that marks the summer kickoff traditionally boasts an American theme. But this year, the council plans to celebrate the great diversity found in the Issaquah community, according to Christy Garrard, special events planner for the council.

“We’re partnering with the Issaquah Arts Commission, Swedish hospital and several other title sponsors to bring a four-hour outdoor festival that highlights different ethnicities and cultures,” she said.

This year’s celebration will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 23. The event takes place in the heart of the Issaquah Highlands at Blakely Hall and Village Green Park. The event is open to the entire community, not just those from the Issaquah Highlands.

The festival includes family-friendly entertainment, multicultural exhibits, booths and carnival rides.

Highlands Day begins with its traditional Kids on Bikes parade. Children are encouraged to decorate their bikes and join the parade that circles around Village Green Park.

“This year, we have encouraged everyone to either stay with the red, white and blue theme or they can decorate their bikes and come in the costume of their cultural heritage,” Garrard said.

Garrard notes that this year’s entertainment will showcase the festival’s theme. Attendees can expect to see a Chinese lion dance performance, Persian singers, Bollywood dancing and more.

The carnival rides are always a popular attraction at Highlands Day. Kid-friendly activities include pony rides, a train ride and various carnival games.

But the highlight of this year’s Highlands Day may be the inclusion of a portable zip line that will send participants flying down Park Drive from Blakely Hall to 25th Avenue.

The event is free to attend, but carnival ride tickets are $1 each (ride prices vary) or $20 for four hours of unlimited fun.

More than 50 vendors will also be on hand selling everything from cosmetics to candy.

“Most of the booths will be offering some type of interactive carnival game or crafts to participate in or some type of giveaways,” Garrard said. “So there are a lot of free things to get into as well.”

In addition, concessions will be available for purchase from local restaurants Sip!, Agave Cocina & Tequilas, Zeeks Pizza and Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop

Also, art pieces depicting herons as part of artEAST’s “Rookery Project” exhibition will be displayed inside Blakely Hall.

Garrard said she expects anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 Highlands Day attendees.

“It’s a great way to celebrate the multiculturalism of the community and to expose all of our families to what makes the city of Issaquah such an enriching place to live,” she said. “I just hope everyone will stop by and enjoy some fun and celebrate the diversity of our community.”

Christina Corrales-Toy: 392-6434, ext. 241, or Comment at

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One Response to “Community invited to celebrate diversity at Highlands Day”

  1. Mark on June 25th, 2012 11:32 am

    It’s a shame the torrential downpours ruined the event. Very chilly, and high winds, too, and some power outages in Issaquah. Very unusual storm for late June.

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