Issaquah company cooks up Bite of Seattle

July 12, 2011

The birthday celebration for the Bite of Seattle is super-sized to reflect a festival much, much larger than the gathering around Green Lake 30 summers ago.

So, for hungry festivalgoers trekking to Seattle Center on opening day July 15, organizers plan to hand out 1,000 cupcakes.

In a downtown Issaquah office building along East Sunset Way, the company behind the largest food festival in the Puget Sound region is planning celebratory cupcakes and other touches to mark the 30th event.

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

Festivals Inc. 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.

Jody May, Festivals Inc. president, said the original concept for a picnic in the park evolved into a celebration encompassing more than 60 restaurants and, in a good year, more than 400,000 attendees.

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Issaquah company generates buzz for Coffee Fest

October 26, 2010

The state convention center is due to transform into a colossal coffeehouse soon, as hundreds of baristas, coffee roasters and entrepreneurs cram the downtown Seattle space for Coffee Fest.

“If it looks like coffee, smells like coffee, tastes like coffee or is coffee, you’ll find it at Coffee Fest,” David Heilbrunn, president of the organization behind Coffee Fest, said in a pre-convention interview.

Coffee Fest is the handiwork of Issaquah-based Lifestyle Events Inc. The company has produced 59 of the coffee tradeshows since 1992.

The upcoming event runs Oct. 29-31 at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center. The last Seattle tradeshow, in late September 2009, attracted about 8,000 attendees and exhibitors.

The lineup includes coffee vendors aplenty, classes and a latte art championship — a chance for sure-handed baristas to turn out elegant patterns in the steamed milk atop espresso drinks.

Other highlights include a coffee origin challenge — a taste test to determine if beans sprang from the ground in Kona, say, or Ethiopia — and a similar aroma test.

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