Rhubarb pie will take center stage in Sumner this summer.
From June 28 through Aug. 18, the City of Sumner, in partnership with the Sumner Arts Commission, will present the Rhubarb Pie Festival. Separate events will be presented as programs of the Rhubarb Pie Festival during the six-week period.
“This will encourage lots of people to come,” said Carmen Palmer, spokesperson for Sumner. “By giving that overarching Rhubarb Pie Festival, this helps smaller groups get a leg up on their event and gain more exposure.”
The city modeled the idea off the success of similar festivals in the state, such as the Tulip Festival in Skagit County and Salmon Days in Issaquah.
Palmer said events included under the Rhubarb Pie Festival umbrella will include Music Off Main, June 28 through Aug. 3; Rhubarb Days, July 13-14; the Sumner Fine Art Festival, Aug. 2-4; and the Classy Chassis car show, Aug. 18.
The Sumner Arts Commission organizes Music Off Main, which takes place each Friday at Heritage Park. The commission also will jury artists for the newly revamped Sumner Fine Arts Festival.
The Puyallup-Sumner Chamber of Commerce took on the decades-long art festival last year and changed the name to the Sumner Art and Rhubarb Pie Festival. The Sumner Downtown Association has been selected to take it back this year and will change the name to the Sumner Fine Arts Festival.
Laurie Miller, executive director of the Sumner Downtown Association, said the organization will get back to the basics of what the arts festival is all about.
“We want to make sure that it’s our own unique event that stands alone by itself but is incorporating itself as an event of the Rhubarb Pie Festival,” Miller said.
The three-day festival will include live jazz music from 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday and into part of Sunday, Miller said.
“Our goal will be to have some variations like reggae, slow jazz, New Orleans, and make sure that there is a little bit of something for everybody,” she said. “We’re going to make sure that Heritage Park is open to the public, and that the music is free to the public.”
Miller said artists featured will come from as far away as Canada, northern California and Idaho.
“We are sticking to really high-end fine arts and handcrafted goods,” she said. “The fact that we’re advertising in so many major publications, we’re expecting to see turnout double than what it was last year.”
The arts festival also will invite nonprofit food vendors to provide something for visitors. They may include the Sumner High alumni group; Kiwanis; East Pierce Fire and Rescue and Sumner Rotary.
“We’re not charging food vendors to participate,” Miller said. “The last thing we want to do is take away from their sustainability. We will support them so they can make the most of the opportunity.”
Rhubarb Pie festival
For more information about Sumner’s rhubarb roots, visit www.rhubarbpiecapital.com. Listed is the history of Sumner’s rhubarb past, a litany of rhubarb recipes and several events to enjoy during the Rhubarb Pie Festival, as well as year-round.Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.