It’s going to be a very busy summer — and one that celebrates things you never imagined could be celebrated. Such as logs (June 26-28), water (Saturday and Sunday) and lawnmowers (July 18). This summer, you also can pet goats, eat an elephant ear, enter a pie contest, buy artwork and get a back-to-school health screening. You can watch dozens of bands and check out classic cars.
Above all, these events from now through Labor Day weekend celebrate the communities we call home.
If you plan well, you can hit as many as four festivals a day on July 11 and 18. Those appear to be the peak weekends for summer festival goers. So plan accordingly.
Listed here, you’ll find festivals with a community focus, and organized by a city entity or a civic or community organization.
UNIVERSITY PLACE DUCK DAZE
Food trucks, fountains, face-painting, fun — it’s all there at the University Place Duck Daze, which now has even more reason to celebrate, with a new glass sculpture visible inside and out of the civic building’s atrium and the brand-new Whole Foods just next door. Buy a breakfast oatmeal bar there before 10:30 a.m., and they’ll donate $1 to Peace Out.
When: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, parade at 10 a.m. Live music from noon-3 p.m.
Where: Plaza in front of the University Place Library, 4609 Market Place W. (at Bridgeport Way), University Place.
Tips: Wear yellow and blend in with the duck theme.
GIG HARBOR MARITIME GIG FEST
It’s a weekend of waterfront fun at the Maritime Gig Fest in Gig Harbor, with favorite events like the Fun Run, Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast, Grand Parade and Round Rock Contest. Get ready for music and entertainment, food vendors, historic boat displays and loads of children's activities.
Where: Skansie Brothers Park, 3207 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor.
Tips: Don’t try to park in downtown Gig Harbor, as many roads will be closed and the streets packed. Instead, take a trolley shuttle for 50 cents ($1 all-day riding) which runs from the Uptown Mall down Olympic Drive Northwest, past Kimball Drive Park and Ride, down Pioneer Way and Harborview Drive and on up Peacock Hill Avenue.
ROY PIONEER RODEOS
The Roy Pioneer Rodeo draws participants and rodeo fans from around the Northwest to watch events such as calf roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, saddle bronc riding and bull riding. Concessions at the venue include souvenirs, food and a beer and wine garden.
When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and Sept. 5-6.
Where: 8710 Higgins Greig Road, Roy.
Cost: $12 teens and adults, $6 seniors, $5 ages 6-12,
Tips: Gates open at noon. Credit and debit cards are not accepted. Children 5 and younger are free.
A three-day celebration of the Puyallup community, sponsored by the Puyallup Main Street Association, featuring a vendor fair, battle of the bands and antique tractor display.
When: Noon-9 p.m. June 19, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. June 20 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 21.
Where: Downtown Puyallup.
Tips: This year’s festival celebrates Puyallup’s 125th anniversary of its 1890 incorporation.
BUCKLEY LOG SHOW
Includes a carnival and a city parade at 10 a.m. June 27, with the log show beginning at noon afterward. The log show will continue June 28. A vendor fair takes place June 27-28.
When: June 26-28.
Where: Downtown Buckley.
Tips: There’s also a log show for children the weekend before, check the website for details.
Information: buckleylogshow.com for information on the log show. Contact the city or Buckley chamber about the parade, carnival and fair.
TACOMA HIGHLAND GAMES
The 46th Tacoma Highland Games starts with a Celtic concert to get athletes and spectators ready for the next day’s competitions in Scottish sporting events, piping and drumming and Highland dance. Bring your kilt and see how you stack up in the heavy events. These are basically games that determine who can throw really heavy stuff (cabers, weights, weights, hammers, sheafs) the farthest or highest. Scottish meat pies, sausage rolls, shepherd pie and haggis will be available at the concession stand.
When: 6-9 p.m. June 26 and 8-5 p.m. June 27.
Where: Frontier Park, 21718 Meridian Ave. E., Graham.
Cost: $5 per car or $2 per walkup on June 26. $15 for adults; $10 youth, seniors 55 and older, and military with ID.
Tips: Tickets are discounted $2 if purchased in advance via the event website. Tacoma Highland Games Association memberships start at $15 and include tickets to the games.
LAKEWOOD SUMMER FEST
A one-day city-sponsored festival with a car show, triathalon (10 a.m.), vendor fair, kids play area with a petting zoo, food and live music.
When: 11 a.m. July 11.
Where: Fort Steilacoom Park, 8714 87th Ave. SW, Lakewood.
Tips: A showing of “The Lego Movie” at dusk.
TACOMA’S OLD TOWN RHYTHM AND BLUES FESTIVAL
Puget Sound blues icon Little Bill will play Tacoma’s Old Town Rhythm and Blues Festival. Other performers include Jr. Hill Band, Dean Reichert Band, James King Band, Driving Sideways. During the day, acts will play on an outdoor stage. Evening events will occur inside The Spar and Slovonian Hall. Entry for those evening shows is $20 and limited to 21 and over.
When: Noon-7 p.m. July 11.
Where: Old Town Park, 2350 N. 30th St., Tacoma.
Cost: Free outdoors; $20 inside shows.
Tip: Start your day with a pancake breakfast from 9-11 a.m. inside the Slovonian Hall.
OUT IN THE PARK
Tacoma Pride honors Pierce County’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community with Out in the Park, a day-long celebration includes entertainment and community resources. The all-ages outdoor street festival brings visibility and unity to the LGBT community. Two stages provide non-stop entertainment including the Kim Archer Band and Gritty City Sirens. Food vendors will sell meals. A beer garden will provide adult beverages, and a kids fun zone will keep children entertained.
When: Noon-5 p.m. July 11.
Where: Broadway, between Ninth and 11th streets, and on St. Helens Avenue between Seventh and Ninth Streets, Tacoma.
Cost: Free (suggested $5 donation).
Tip: When Out in the Park ends, The Mix’s Pride Block Party begins at St. Helens Avenue and Sixth Street (21 and over, $10).
Information: 253-383-2318, tacomapride.org.
ART ON THE AVE
Commerce, community and culture is the goal of Art on the Ave, which unites local businesses, restaurants, residents and artists in a celebration that’s sometimes quirky (think intersection-sized Monopoly games or sewing-machine performance art), sometimes elevated (singer Vicci Martinez was a regular here) and always different. There’s something for everyone, whether beer gardens, skate ramps or hula hooping.
When: July 12.
Where: Sixth Avenue from Cedar to Trafton streets, Tacoma.
Tips: Come with an empty stomach, Sixth Avenue is known for its beer and wine, gourmet and ethnic food, handmade ice cream and donuts.
A festival with handcar races, lawn mower races, a tug-o-war competition and a parade.
When: 11 a.m. July 18.
Where: Downtown Wilkeson.
Cost: Free except for competition entry fees.
Tips: Parade at 11 a.m., handcar and lawnmower races start at 12:30 p.m.
Information: Wilkeson Booster Club or townofwilkeson.com/wilkeson-days.
GIG HARBOR SUMMER ART FESTIVAL
Organized by the Peninsula Art League, the Gig Harbor Summer Art Festival brings together over 120 artists, a member exhibition, sidewalk chalking and all the usual food, drink and entertainment in the historic waterfront downtown.
When: July 18-19.
Where: Judson Street, Gig Harbor.
Tips: Wander down Harborview Drive past miniature parks and retail shops to the Harbor History Museum, where you can delve into the history of sports on the peninsula in “Instant Replay.”
RHUBARB DAYS FESTIVAL
A celebration of Sumner’s long legacy with growing rhubarb. This year’s festival has been combined with the historic Sumner Fine Arts Festival. A vendor fair with arts and crafts booths; bake-off competition; beer garden; petting zoo; photo contest and farmers market.
When: 10 a.m., July 18-19
Where: Downtown Sumner, from Main Street down Alder, Kincaid and Cherry avenues to Maple Street.
Tips: Live performance by Elvis impersonator Danny Vernon at 6 p.m. Saturday.
TACOMA MARITIME FEST
2015 marks the 23rd iteration of the Tacoma Maritime Fest. The weekend festival has entertainment, food and a number of water-related activities. A large variety of ships will be on display. The Quick & Dirty Boat Building competition will occur. The festival celebrates the history and accomplishments of Tacoma’s waterfront.
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. July 18, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. July 19.
Where: Thea Foss Park and The Foss Waterway Seaport, 705 Dock St., Tacoma.
Tip: A free shuttle will take participants to the festival from points along Dock Street.
Information: 253-617-7172, maritimefest.org.
TACOMA JAZZ AND BLUES FESTIVAL
Blues legend Curtis Salgado headlines this year’s lineup at the Tacoma Jazz and Blues Festival. Salgado influenced actor and Blues Brother John Belushi before going on to have his own distinguished career as singer, songwriter and master of the harmonica. Also on the bill are Tacoma “The Voice” contestant Stephanie Anne Johnson, Kareem Kandi, Lance Buller, Rich Wetzel and several others, all on three stages. Parachute canopies will provide shade this year. The beer garden promises to be bigger and better.
When: 1 p.m. July 25.
Where: South Tacoma Way between South 54th and South 56th streets, Tacoma.
Cost: $20 advance, $25 at the door. Outdoor areas are all ages, indoor areas are 21 and over.
Tip: Free parking can be found in lots behind businesses and on South Puget Sound Avenue in the area of the festival.
Few regions in the United States can boast more ethnic diversity than Puget Sound, and Metro Parks’ Ethnic Fest celebrates most of them with a weekend of entertainment, food and culture. Since 1986, the festival has brought together people of multitude backgrounds to share and learn each other’s roots.
When: July 25-26.
Where: Wright Park, 501 S. I Street, Tacoma.
Tip: Come hungry — a number of food trucks and vendors will be present.
STEILACOOM SALMON BAKE
The Steilacoom Historical Museum Association’s annual event is more than just the traditional salmon dinner. Live entertainment, vendors, ice cream, pie and games on the beach are all part of the festivities. Tom Kurtz of the SHMA says groups from Steilacoom High participate in the event. A vendor will be giving free coffee samples this year.
When: Noon-4 p.m. July 26.
Where: Sunnyside Beach, 2509 Chambers Bay Road, Steilacoom.
Cost: $15 for the salmon dinner; $6 for the hot dog dinner.
Tips: Parking is $5 at the park, but a free shuttle runs from town. Kurtz says city hall is a good place to catch the shuttle. Some visitors walk from town. Debit and credit cards are accepted.
PROCTOR ARTS FEST
One of the longest-running community festivals in Tacoma, the 18-year-old Proctor Arts Fest features local arts, crafts, entertainment, dog fashion shows, demonstrations like blacksmithing and wool spinning, and an original juried art show in the Mason United Methodist Church. Add in a farmers market, a kids zone and all the Proctor retailers (gifts, clothes, games) and you’ve got some artsy fun happening.
When: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Aug. 1.
Where: Proctor and North 26th Streets, Tacoma.
Tips: It can get surprisingly hot in that intersection — and very crowded at Starbucks. Cool off with Proctor Frozen Yogurt, gelato at Metropolitan Market, coffee there or in the Safeway Starbucks, or smoothies at the farmers market. Find water fountains inside the library, and let your pooch slurp outside Foxfire Salon.
PIERCE COUNTY FAIR
The Pierce County Fair, in its 68th year, bills itself as a “celebration of rural life, agriculture and good ol’ family values.” The four day fair packs Frontier Park with 80 vendors, rides, 4-H and Future Farmers of America activities and other goings-on. Entertainment includes acrobats, magicians, hypnotists and illusionists. Kids can marvel at goats, rabbits, dogs, horses, llamas, livestock and other animals.
When: Aug. 6-9.
Where: Frontier Park, 21718 Meridian Ave. E., Graham.
Tips: Camping is only allowed at the park for exhibitors and vendors. Camping is available at nearby locations such as Camp Lakeview and Rainier View RV Park. Parking is $5. Children 6-15 can get in for $1 and adults can get in for $4 on Aug. 6 with the donation of a non-perishable food item. Donations go to the All-Saints Food Bank. Military members in uniform or with ID get free admission on Aug. 9.
EATONVILLE ART FESTIVAL
The Eatonville Lions Club presents the 44th annual arts festival in Glacier View Park, with a beer garden, live entertainment (harp, country, big band, rock and more), kids’ activities, and 100 Northwest artists and craftspeople showing and selling their wares. Bid at the live or silent auctions — all proceeds go to help the Lions Club donate eyeglasses or hearing aids to those in need.
When: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 7-8 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 9; beer garden and music through midnight.
Where: Glacier View Park, 211 Fir St., Eatonville.
Tips: If you’re from outside of the area, Eatonville’s just a step away from Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Pioneer Farm and of course, Mount Rainier National Park, if you want to make it a weekend.
FIRCREST FUN DAYS
This celebration of small-town living, where neighbors gather to catch up and let the kids play. The events include live entertainment, rides, games, food booths, vendors and a fireworks show.
When: 5-9 p.m. Aug. 7 and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Aug. 8.
Where: Fircrest Park, 555 Contra Costa Ave., Fircrest.
Tips: Bring your lawn chairs early and get a good spot to view the fireworks on Aug. 7.
MUSIC AND ART IN WRIGHT PARK
There’s no mistaking what this festival is about or where it occurs. Music and Art in Wright Park is a family friendly festival of art, music, crafts and food trucks. Rock, alternative, pop and punk are some of the music genres represented.
When: Aug. 8.
Where: Wright Park, 501 S. I St., Tacoma.
Tip: Wright Park has plenty of shade trees, but be prepared for hot weather.
MCKINLEY HILL STREET FEST
A community festival featuring a back-to-school health fair (including health screenings), a backpack giveaway to children who attend, live music, a vendor fair and many restaurants.
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Aug. 15.
Where: Between 34th and Division on McKinley Avenue.
Tips: A new band performs every two hours. Hosted by Tacoma Christian Center, Eastside Neighborhood Advisory Council and the Dometop Neighborhood Alliance.
HILLTOP STREET FAIR
Kick-started by a Tacoma Arts Commission grant last year, the first-ever Hilltop Street Fair celebrates everything Hilltop including food, entertainment, community health information, the Buffalo Soldiers Museum, vendors, a car show and more. There’s also the awards ceremony for Hilltop Heroes, awards in three categories and five individuals who contribute to building up the Hilltop community.
When: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 22.
Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Way from Ninth to 13th streets, Tacoma.