Celebrate city’s heritage, tradition on Independence Day

June 25, 2013

By Erin Hoffman

The Down Home Fourth of July and Heritage Celebration, a long-standing Issaquah tradition, will be held again July 4, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Every year, the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce Festivals Office, the city and the Issaquah History Museums come together to put on the event to celebrate America’s independence and Issaquah’s history.

“There’s a lot of tradition built around it,” Robin Kelley, director of festivals at the chamber, said in an interview. “The celebration has become a staple in the Issaquah community, with kids who grew up with the celebration growing up to volunteer with it.”

In the Down Home Fourth portion of the event, families can expect live entertainment, inflatable bouncy houses, face painting, slug races, hay hunts and the annual “Kids, Pets ‘N’ Pride Parade,” which will kick off the celebration at Rainier Boulevard North and Northwest Dogwood Street and end at Veterans Memorial Field.

“There are not a lot of bells and whistles,” Kelley added. “It’s a low-key event.”

The Independence Day festivities remain one of the only city-sponsored Fourth of July celebrations in the area. The city aims to keep the celebration free, and since the dip in the economy, attendance has gone up.

“We get to hear a lot of wonderful comments from parents because Issaquah continues this tradition when other communities don’t,” Kelley said.

She explained that because of the economic downturn, other cities have had to cut their Fourth of July celebrations, but Issaquah has remained committed to providing a free event for residents.

In addition to celebrating America’s birthday, the Issaquah History Museums encourages everyone to celebrate Issaquah’s own history with the Heritage Celebration. Originally conceived as its own event, the Heritage Celebration has been a key part of Down Home Fourth of July for the past 13 years, and Museum Director Erica Maniez has been working hard with a group of about 20 volunteers to put on a fun and informative event.

First, attendees can pick up their Passport to the Past, which will be stamped at every activity they visit. This years’ activities are mostly tried and true standards, according to Maniez: butter churning, a dress-up station, a laundry station and an historic pump car are some old favorites, and new this year are a logging station and live chickens.

The stations are designed for kids and adults of all ages to enjoy.

“Hopefully, the kids will leave with an understanding that history can be fun,” Maniez said.



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