Cheers! Downtown Issaquah wine celebration returns

January 29, 2013

Revelers can sip, snack and shop as the Downtown Issaquah Wine Walk series returns.

The popular winter and springtime event launched last February to attract people to downtown merchants even as the weather turns gray and soggy. Organized by the Downtown Issaquah Association, merchants host musicians, and offer sips from Washington vintners and hors d’oeuvres, during the monthly event that launches Feb. 1.

Though the event is designed to appeal to oenophiles — the 1-ounce wine pours remain limited to the 21-and-older crowd — creativity is showcased in arts-focused downtown, too. Highlights at the opening event include demonstrations by master glass blower Lenoard Whitfield at artbyfire and artEAST’s latest exhibit, “Stitch,” at UP Front Gallery.

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ChileToKili global fundraising trek comes to Issaquah

November 6, 2012

Elvis Munis is cycling around the globe to raise funds to educate students in Tanzania.

The native Tanzanian and ardent naturalist launched the project to help other Tanzanians obtain the education necessary to manage the country’s abundant natural resources.

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Monthly open-mic night invites performers to Issaquah Brewhouse

April 10, 2012

Join the city Arts Commission for Poetry & Prose on Tap, a monthly open-mic series.

The program is open to all ages and abilities. Organizers encourage participants to share poetry, stories and more.

The next Poetry & Prose on Tap is April 17. Participants can start signing in for the free event at 6:30 p.m. at the Issaquah Brewhouse, 35 W. Sunset Way. The open-mic portion starts at 7 p.m.

The brewhouse is open to patrons younger than 21, and organizers hope to attract a crowd diverse in age.

Toast Downtown Issaquah Wine Walk as series ends for season

April 3, 2012

Visitors on Front Street who enjoyed wine tastings, snacks and live music in February during the Downtown Issaquah Association’s Wine Walk have one more chance on April 6. By Greg Farrar

Oenophiles can sip and stroll through town as the Downtown Issaquah Wine Walk series concludes for the season April 6.

Organized by the DownTown Issaquah Association, merchants host musicians, and offer sips from Washington vintners and hors d’oeuvres, during the monthly event. The inaugural Downtown Issaquah Wine Walk occurred in February.

“We got a lot of people down here that had either never been to downtown Issaquah or hadn’t been down here in a long time,” association Executive Director Karen Donovan said. “I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from people saying how much they enjoyed it. They enjoyed the music and the appetizers and the wine, of course.”

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Issaquah Arts Commission’s open mic night celebrates written word

February 28, 2012

Nancy Talley, a Providence Point resident, reads one of her poems at the Issaquah Brewhouse. By Greg Farrar

A flier for the evening promised “poetry, prose and other ponderings.”

Open mic nights of the Issaquah Arts Commission are the third Tuesday of each month at the Issaquah Brewhouse on Sunset Way.

The evenings are now dubbed “Poetry and Prose on Tap.”

“We had a lot of fun and a lot of people,” Joan Probala, commission chairwoman, said of the open mic events that were formerly held at Vino Bella.

She noted the open mic events are for writers of every stripe and skill level.

For this night, the second event at the Brewhouse, there were about a dozen people and some competition for attention. The same night as the open mic event, the Brewhouse hosted a meet and greet with a Rogue Ale brewmaster. Still, those involved with the open mic night didn’t seem overly bothered by the loud atmosphere or the AC/DC music pouring out of the bar’s speakers.

“I’m happy to see people stroll in,” Probala said.

While she is not a writer herself, she appreciates the craft and likes the open forum.

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Arts Commission, Issaquah Brewhouse host all-ages open-mic event

February 14, 2012

Join the municipal Arts Commission for Poetry & Prose on Tap, a monthly open-mic series.

The program is open to all ages and abilities. Organizers encourage participants to share poetry, stories and more.

Sign-in for the free event starts at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Issaquah Brewhouse, 35 W. Sunset Way. The open-mic portion runs from 7-8 p.m.

Commissioners used to hold open-mic nights at Vino Bella, but officials discontinued the series. The brewhouse is open to patrons younger than 21, and organizers hope to attract a crowd more diverse in age.

Poetry & Prose on Tap debuted in January.

First Friday Wine Walks offer a new taste of downtown

January 17, 2012

The artEAST Art Center and UP Front Gallery, which always participates in ArtWalk in the summer, will be one of six locations on Front Street to take part Feb. 3 in the inaugural First Friday Wine Walk. File

Adding to its list of events to draw more visitors to downtown, the DownTown Issaquah Association announces First Friday Wine Walk from 5-8 p.m. Feb. 3.

Wine Walk, following other popular events such as ArtWalk and a zombie invasion, will feature boutique wine tasting at six locations up and down Front Street.

“It should be fun,” said Karen Donovan, the association’s executive director. “I’m excited.”

Wineries will include Lodmell Winery in Walla Walla; Woodinville’s Smasne Cellars; and, Castillo de Feliciana. Several Wine Walk locations will feature live entertainment to include acoustic guitarist “Uncle Phil” Hansen; guitarist and composer Angelo Pizarro; vocal group Bodacious Ladyhood; and, pianist Meg Mann.

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ArtWalk returns for 10th season

May 3, 2011

Pedestrians pause to admire art displayed at the former UP Front Gallery during ArtWalk last year. The gallery has since relocated down the street. File

The DownTown Issaquah Association’s 10th annual ArtWalk season kicks off May 6. The popular event, the first Friday of every month through September, invites visitors to meet local business owners, enjoy free music, watch artists in action, and shop and dine in downtown Issaquah after normal business hours.

ArtWalk draws hundreds of visitors to traditional art destinations such as artEAST’s Art Center and the newly expanded Museo Art and Design School on Front Street. In addition, nontraditional locations open their doors to the event throughout downtown Issaquah and Gilman Village.

Typically, the event ran from 5-9 p.m. in the past. But by popular request, that has changed.

“The event now runs from 5-8 p.m. with a soft close at 8,” said Annique Bennett, cultural events coordinator for the DownTown Issaquah Association. “Those with signs out front of their businesses can now pull them in and go home at 8, or they can choose to stay open as long as they want to.”

For May, artEAST opens a new exhibit, “150 Feet of Art,” at Up Front Art. More than 100 pieces of art on one-square-foot canvases will be displayed and available for purchase during the monthlong auction.

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Celtic band The Fire Inside makes simply complex tunes

April 5, 2011

Irish music lithely springs from its instruments during reels, jigs and pub songs.

The Fire Inside, a local Celtic band, entertains diners at Vino Bella in Issaquah on St. Patrick’s Day. Contributed

“I like it because it’s actually quite simplistic, but you can make it complex,” Issaquah violinist Tami Curtis said. “It’s just plain fun. It puts a smile on your face.”

Curtis and six other local musicians, living in an area stretching from Issaquah to the Snoqualmie Valley and up to Redmond, have formed a Celtic band named The Fire Inside.

The band is the brainchild of Carol Whitaker, of Fall City. Whitaker played for an informal group, and she knew several other people who played in bands about town. She wanted to play more challenging Celtic music, so she took her flute and penny whistle and formed a group of her own this past winter.

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Diners can sample bargains during restaurant month

March 8, 2011

Eateries encourage diners to sample special offers and menu items during Issaquah Restaurant Month.

The inaugural dine-out event kicked off March 1, as more than 20 restaurants rolled out discounts and other treats for diners. Organizers said the monthlong celebration is meant to attract attention to local restaurants, and encourage residents to try fresh flavors.

The participating restaurants include longtime establishments and newcomers. Diners interested in checking out Issaquah restaurants during the event can nosh on barbecue and pizza one day, and nachos and lo mein the next.

“Each restaurant will offer a lunch and/or dinner prix fixe menu that represents the best of what that restaurant has to offer,” Diane Symms, Lombardi’s Italian Restaurants president and CEO, said in a release. “This is not a discount but rather an offer of quality and value for the community.”

Issaquah Restaurant Month is similar to events staged in Seattle and other major cities nationwide. The year-old Issaquah Restaurant Coalition, a trade group, coordinated and promoted the celebration.

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