Issaquah memorable moments from 2012 entertain, educate

December 25, 2012

The cast of the national tour of the jukebox musical ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ performs a song in the Tony Award-winning show. File

Entertainment came to Issaquah in some surprising forms throughout 2012.

Besides the usual retinue on the page, stage and screen, a documentary peeled back the layers at Costco and big-name authors signed books for local readers.

The city hosted celebrities, spotlighted residents on the national stage and celebrated big debuts in recent months. The boldface names earned cred through stints on reality TV, titles on bestseller lists and hardware aplenty — a Tony Award, a National Book Award.

Reality TV plugs in local contestants

Lindzi Cox pursued “The Bachelor” and Lizzie Parker competed for the title “Fashion Star” as local women added grace to reality TV contests.

Cox, a 2003 Liberty High School grad, competed against 24 other bachelorettes to win a rose from the titular bachelor, Ben Flajnik, and reached the final round on the ABC dating game.

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Issaquah residents recall Seattle World’s Fair as 50th anniversary of closing approaches

October 2, 2012

Ron Blyth and Beverly Blyth Huntington show off the pop-up souvenir their family produced for the 1962 World’s Fair. By Greg Farrar

In the heady months from April to October 1962, more celebrities visited the Century 21 Exposition than “The Tonight Show” couch.

The boldface names — Walt Disney, George Burns, John Glenn and dozens more — trekked to Seattle to gape at the Space Needle, ride the Bubbleator and snack on a Belgian waffle. Even Lassie came to the fair.

In the hubbub, longtime Issaquah resident Kaaren Mathiesen sold souvenirs at the fair from a booth near the Food Circus, a global food court and a nucleus of activity.

Funnywoman Carol Channing stopped at the booth to purchase a postcard and on another day Mathiesen sold Liberace a giant postcard to send to his brother.

“I kept very calm, cool and collected, but I sure smiled a lot,” she said in a recent interview.

The fair ran 50 years ago, from April 21 to Oct. 21, and by the end, Mathiesen and other local residents involved in the once-in-a-lifetime event said the Century 21 Exposition reshaped the region.

“It brought people to the realization that Seattle was no longer a little fishing village,” she said. “It put us on the map.”

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Discover images from local history on Pinterest

September 4, 2012

Find iconic images from local history on the King County Archives’ Pinterest boards,

The agency launched several Pinterest boards containing dozens of photos to pique interest in a vast collection of documents and photos. Some photos in the collection have not been widely seen before by the public.

The collection on Pinterest contains more than 100 images, including old maps, artwork and photos from the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.

Citizens can contact the archives for more information about the photos or purchase copies. Call 206-296-1538 or email

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See local students’ visions of future at Seattle Center

July 24, 2012

The Classroom of the Future Exhibition, featuring the works of 20 students in Mary Rusk’s second-grade Clark Elementary School class, launches July 31 and runs through August.

Many of the young minds behind the event will be present at the July 31 launch to explain their predictions for learning in the future.

The launch starts at 6:30 p.m. at Seattle Center’s Intiman Theatre, 201 Mercer St.

After that, the exhibition — which showcases children’s ideas about what classrooms will look like 50 years from now — will be open noon to 5 p.m. Fridays through Sundays at the playhouse. Both are free and open to the public, but because of limited space, organizers suggest reserving a ticket for the launch.

Reserve tickets at Learn more about the Classroom of the Future exhibition and other Seattle Center 50th anniversary events at Follow the “Next 50” links.

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Issaquah company dishes up Bite of Seattle

July 17, 2012

Diners can sample cuisines from across the Pacific Northwest and around the globe as Issaquah-based Festivals Inc. presents Bite of Seattle from July 20-22.

The event on the Seattle Center grounds includes 38 restaurant booths. Each participant offers signature items and a healthier Hope Heart Right Bite.

Bite of Seattle runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 20-21 and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 22. Admission to the event is free. Find menus and more information about the Bite of Seattle at

The event includes a free showing of “It Happened at the World’s Fair” July 20 — a tribute to the 50th anniversary of Seattle’s 1962 Century 21 Exposition.

Festivals Inc. settled in Issaquah in January 2009 after stints in Mercer Island and Bellevue.

The company  also produces Taste of Tacoma each June. In the same building, sister company Lifestyle Events Inc. produces Coffee Fest, a popular trade show for the coffee industry.

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What’s your Issaquah IQ?

June 28, 2012

So, you think you know Issaquah? Is the city just another buttoned-up suburb? Nope. Issaquah is home to more than 30,000 people — and more than a century of secrets. Issaquah anecdotes stretch deep into the past and continue into the 21st century. Look beyond the basics to discover tidbits and trivia.

Test your Issaquah IQ. (Scroll to the bottom to check the answers, but please, no cheating!)

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Students envision classrooms of the future for exhibit

June 26, 2012

Eight-year-old Sam Korostov envisions that 50 years from now, children like him will be attending class in a blimp covered in windows, with sky bridges replacing school hallways.

“It would clear so you can see the sun,” Sam said. Inside the classroom “smart boards” would be everywhere so that whatever word said aloud would automatically appear. “And you would never have to go to bed because the blimp would keep flying around the world.”

Sam is one of the 20 students in Mary Rusk’s second-grade class at Clark Elementary School whose submission will be featured later this summer at the “Classroom of the Future” exhibition in Seattle.

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Student can submit artwork, essays for 1962 World’s Fair celebration

May 15, 2012

Budding Washington student artists and visionaries have the opportunity to showcase their talents at an exhibit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.

Seattle Center and the League of Education Voters are asking Washington’s K-12 students to think about what the classroom of the future will look like. In 50 years, what technology will be used? What are students learning? What will the classroom/learning environment be like?

The deadline to submit a short intent form to participate in Seattle Center’s Classroom of the Future Exhibition has been extended to May 21. The letter of intent is just a short form letting Seattle Center know a project will be submitted. The deadline to turn in the project is June 1. Submissions can be in a variety of forms, including essays, poetry, videos, slideshows or 3D models.

Students can submit their work individually or as part of a team. Selected artists will be showcased at an exhibition in August at the Seattle Center.

Professionals in the fields of education, technology, architecture, art and design will curate the submissions to present common themes apparent in the participants’ visions of future learning environments.

Go to for information about the letter of intent and exhibition rules.

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120 years of Issaquah

April 24, 2012

Click on the image to view the full-size timeline.


  • Issaquah is founded as Gilman. The city is named for railroad baron Daniel Hunt Gilman.


  • The postmaster called for mail sent to Gilman to be addressed to Olney, Wash., to avoid confusion between Gilman and Gilmer, another city in the state.


  • Townsfolk start calling the frontier town Issaquah, or “the sound of water birds” in the language of the American Indians native to the region.


  • State lawmakers approve official name change from Gilman to Issaquah.


  • Wilbur W. Sylvester founds the Bank of Issaquah in a clapboard building.

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Issaquah Library celebrates 1962 Seattle World’s Fair

April 10, 2012

Fearless construction workers check the joists on the Space Needle’s halo. Photo from ‘The Future Remembered: The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and Its Legacy’ Photo from 'The Future Remembered'

The region is in the midst of a back-to-the-future moment.

The 1962 Century 21 Exposition opened a half-century ago and transformed Seattle and surrounding communities. Paula Becker and Alan Stein, staff historians for, chronicled the expo in the book “The Future Remembered: The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and Its Legacy” — a retrospective commissioned by Seattle Center and the Seattle Center Foundation.

The authors plan to lead a discussion about the book April 14 at the Issaquah Library.

Organizers originally scheduled the library event for Jan. 17, but a snowstorm led to a delay. Now, Becker and Stein plan to hold the event a week before the 50th anniversary, as Century 21 nostalgia grows as thick as a Belgian waffle.

April 21 marks 50 years since President John F. Kennedy tapped a telegraph key encrusted in golden nuggets to open the fair. The expo lasted until Oct. 21, 1962.

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