Issaquah holiday activities offer fa-la-la fun

November 27, 2012

Bartell Drugs and Salvation Army’s Toy ‘n’ Joy drive through Dec. 14, accepts new, unwrapped gifts for children up to age 14, or shoppers can chose a gift request tag item in the store and put it in the donation barrel in the store. The Issaquah Bartell is at 5700 E. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E. Learn more at

Toys for Troops seeks donations for Christmas presents for children of service members. Drop off donations through Dec. 15 at the Issaquah Police Station, 130 E. Sunset Way, or make financial donations at

Small Works Holiday Exhibition, through Dec. 29, artEAST Art Center, 95 Front St. N., 392-3191,

Downtown Issaquah holiday lights work party, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 1, meet at Hailstone Feed Store, 232 Front St., a lunch break at noon features donated pizza from Flying Pie Pizza, call 391-1112 to volunteer

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Eastside Baby Corner seeks 2,000 pairs of children’s pants

September 4, 2012

Eastside Baby Corner’s third annual Pants Party collection event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 8 at its wareouse, 1510 N.W. Maple St.

Last year, the organization, which distributes almost everything needy children need from birth to age 12, collected 1,000 pairs of pants. This year, the goal is 2,000.

The community is encouraged to donate new or gently used pants for children, sizes 5 to14.

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Chocolate, Wine and All That Jazz celebrates triumvirate of tastes

July 17, 2012

Attendees at last year’s Chocolate, Wine & All That Jazz enjoy the festivities at Boehms Candies. Contributed

Chocolate, Wine and All That Jazz is just around the corner and this year it’s bigger than ever.

Put on by the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce and Boehms Candies since 1988, the evening of wine, food and jazz in the gardens at Boehms is set to be twice as large as past festivals.

“Whether it’s entertainment and apparel or arts and crafts and all kinds of various wines and fares,” said Laura Walker, event organizer, “we were trying to make it a little different and unique from all the other wine-tasting events while showcasing Issaquah businesses.”

Tickets include entry, a souvenir wine glass and plate, and food and drink samples from all the various vendors. Booths featuring Washington wines and samples of favorite dishes from local restaurants will be set up around the chocolate factory’s garden. Attendees will also be serenaded by the three voices of jazz trio Tish, Hans and Phil.

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ArtWalk returns to downtown Issaquah on July 6

July 3, 2012

The Downtown Issaquah Association’s next ArtWalk is from 5-8 p.m. July 6.

Stroll the various businesses that host local and regional artists, including Artists in Action at the artEAST Artist Alley, and a wood carver at the historic Shell Station. ArtWalk venues include artbyfire, Centennial Park, Confetti Cupcake, Christian Science Reading Room, Eastside Audiology, Experience Tea, Fischer Meats, Hailstone Feed Store, Illuminate, Issaquah Valley Senior Center, Issaquah Library, Mills Music, Museo Art Academy, Opus Bank and Thrive.

Scattered along the walking route are musical acts, including Acoustic Couti, Sold Only As Curio and the Kaleidoscope School of Music.

Event maps will be available in front of the library, 10 W. Sunset Way, and the historic Shell station, 232 Front St. N.

To accommodate the ArtWalk, Northwest Alder Place will be closed from First Place Northwest to Front Street from noon to 10 p.m.

Learn more at

Community invited to celebrate diversity at Highlands Day

June 19, 2012

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. Read more

Denny Croston, backyard artisan, creates scrap-metal wonders

June 5, 2012

The artist collects railroad memorabilia and much of it is on display behind his house, including a restored 1921 Northern Pacific Railway caboose, traffic signs, light posts and a host of smaller items inside the railroad car itself. Photo by Ilona Idlis

Stepping inside Denny Croston’s world is as easy as walking onto his driveway.

The Issaquah artist’s home embodies all of the whimsy of his repurposed scrap metal sculptures. A visitor is immediately greeted by Poncho — a rusty gentleman with wrench arms and a “cute butt” — as well as army-helmet turtles and a horseshoe cactus before making it to the front porch. But the true wonderland is tucked behind the house.

Croston’s backyard is an eclectic medley of curiosities and creations. A huge red railroad car sits on the left, flanked by antique light posts and traffic signs. It took Croston two years to restore the 1921 Northern Pacific Railway caboose to its former glory and it’s the crown jewel of his railroad memorabilia collection.

Behind it, a shed teems with scrap-metal findings from junk yards and estate sales from all over Washington. A tree “yarn bombed” by local artist and friend Suzanne Tidwell casts shadows over the neatly trimmed hedges and fishpond on the right, while flowers made out of tractor parts peek through the greenery. Heaps of junk, rusting in the sunshine, punctuate the well-tended lawn.

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Community can meet artEAST artists June 15

June 5, 2012

ArtEAST invites the community to meet its artists from 6-8 p.m. June 15 at the artEAST Art Center, 95 Front St. N.

ArtEAST has just added a new group of member artists and their art works to its retail gallery. This public reception offers a chance for the community to meet them and see their work. These artists work in a variety of media and will be available to discuss their techniques. The evening will feature a demo of sumi painting technique by Karen Dedrickson. There will also be free, light refreshments.

ArtWalk returns June 1 to downtown Issaquah

May 29, 2012

Head outside for the next ArtWalk on June 1.

The spring and summertime ArtWalk transforms local businesses into art galleries for the evening and enhances the vibrant arts scene in downtown Issaquah.

Participants can enjoy art, music and community spirit in downtown Issaquah. Watch artists in action at the artEAST Artist Alley. Share personal poems at the Poetry Machine. Listen to live music by Preheat, Ogre, Train Wreck and The Greg Glassman Trio.

Organizers expect more than 30 artists to present works on Front Street, at the Issaquah Train Depot, 50 Rainier Blvd. N., and at the Issaquah Valley Senior Center, 75 N.E. Creek Way.

Participants can find event maps in front of the Issaquah Library, 10 W. Sunset Way, or at the Hailstone Feed Store, 232 Front St. N. Learn more about ArtWalk and the Downtown Issaquah Association, which organizes ArtWalk, at 

Heron is a ‘beautiful metaphor’ for artEAST creations

May 22, 2012

Pandy McVay's finished heron sculpture, ready for outdoor display. By Pandy McVay

The name “Issaquah” reportedly comes from a Native American term meaning “the sound of the birds.” So it’s appropriate that a local bird — the great blue heron — is the inspiration for a current art exhibition.

Artists of the nonprofit art center artEAST are hoping to spread the value of art and of Issaquah’s special nature with its new heron exhibit, “The Rookery Project.”

A rookery is a breeding ground for birds, and Issaquah’s local artists have focused on the heron for the inaugural exhibit. Those creating pieces for the project are given the same basic armature, or metal framework, upon which to build their herons.

While there are currently 11 completed herons, the center aims for a total of 30 artists and works by November. Pandy McVay, a fused-glass artist with the artEAST program for six years, was intrigued by the idea of the heron as an inspiration.

“I didn’t realize the rookery aspect of herons,” McVay said. “You always see them standing individually on the lake, and it was (not only their beauty, but) their sense of community that interested me as well.”

McVay named her heron Fanni, which comes from the great blue heron’s scientific name, ardea herodias fannini.

“There are five subspecies of the great blue heron, and the subspecies fannini is a regional bird, particular to the Pacific Northwest,” she explained.

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ArtEAST assembles 150 Feet of Art for auction

April 24, 2012

Among the 12-by-12 originals in artEAST’s 150 Feet of Art are Mary Masterson’s the watercolor ‘The Bird of Paradise,’ by Katalin Fazekas. Contributed

Issaquah’s nonprofit art gallery, artEAST, presents its sixth annual 150 Feet of Art Auction and Fundraiser, launching April 27 and culminating May 12.

As in the past, artEAST literally has 150 feet of art for sale starting April 27, said Karen Abel, artEAST executive director. The kick-off event is free and open to the public.

The gallery has put together 150 12-by-12 artworks, none costing more than $350, even if actually valued at more than that amount.

“There are some great bargains to be had,” Susan Walker, event chairwoman, said.

But there is one big difference between this show and previous auctions. For the first time, the show has a lead juror in Seattle artist Stephanie Hargrave.

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