Off The Press

February 12, 2013

By Greg Farrar

Adding spice to another Salmon Days

As you may have read on our front page two weeks ago, the Salmon Days Festival has chosen this year’s theme, “Streaming Live,” for the city’s annual October blast of fishy fun. Swimming through a crest of water that looks like an oscilloscope wave is a school of high-tech, rainbow-hued coho salmon, with their fins leaving trails of pixelated bubbles in their wake.

One of the unsung heroes of Salmon Days is Mirrormont resident Robin Dale Spicer, who frequently suggests the theme and always provides the artistic creativity for the logos, the pins, the festival clothing — the “look” of the event.

Greg Farrar Press photographer

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

For “Streaming Live,” Kelley quotes Spicer saying, “‘It just came into my head. It seems perfect and I can’t think of anything else.’” Kelley calls it “colorful and powerful, she was so right.”

Since 1993, when she and Robin Kelley shared Chamber of Commerce office space they nicknamed “The Robin’s Nest,” they’ve been the yin and yang for the festival’s perennial success.

“When we met it was just like we’ve known each other for a long time,” Kelley says. “It was very comfortable. We’re very different, with different styles, but there was a relationship. For instance, she was the early bird and I was the night owl.”

The goal is to have a uniquely different theme each year. Many years, volunteers and staff start a list that grows and percolates. “There are 20 to 30 suggestions a year, most hers. We whittle it down to one. Then, she creates the visual image to go with it,” Kelley says. Spicer “brings samples, colors and mockups, gives us lots of choices, and then we have the luxury of going through her presentations.”

In 2000, Spicer “was literally reading The Issaquah Press and saw a display birthday ad” placed by pioneer resident David Horrocks Jr.’s family. He was proudly holding a catch as a 3-year-old fisherman, Kelley says. “She tore it out of the paper and came in and said, ‘This is next year’s theme!’”

It became “Kids, Chaos and Coho!” and turned out to be an international award-winning festival theme.

“She blows my mind with the creativity she does for all her clients. Our ‘world’ is all about fish, but she’s amazingly clever for a whole, robust clientele of diverse businesses, so the magic she does for us, she’s doing for others as well.”

In May 2002, members of the festival committee chose Robin Spicer as the Community Awards recipient of both the Salmon Days Spawnor Roll award and the Salmon Days Volunteer of the Year award. The previous fall, Kelley says, during a staff person’s emergency absence, “She really stepped in and saved the day, took over all the sponsorship and PR work, weeks before the festival when no one was available.”

Those awards were presented that day by an emotional Kelley.

“It was because of my knowledge of her love for the community, and the energy she gives back to it in so many ways. Our goals align. We both think Salmon Days is the best thing ever. She loves what it does for the community, and when you find someone you align with like that, you really treasure them.”


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