Yes, during the summer there really is a festival for everything. Here’s a sample of what’s up around Puget Sound:
• Opening Day. A parade of decorated boats travels through the Montlake Cut in Seattle to mark the official start of the boating season. Festivities kick off with a dragon boat and crew races.
• Maritime Festival. Tugboat races, maritime-themed kids’ activities and harbor tours on Seattle’s waterfront. Family Fun Day includes tons of activities for all ages.
• Lacey Spring Fun Fair. Two days of free entertainment and lots of kids’ fun at St. Martin’s University in Lacey.
• Seattle International Children’s Festival. Eclectic, sophisticated children’s performances in Seattle and Tacoma. This is one of the best entertainment deals in town.
• Poulsbo Viking Fest. Parade, crafts and activities in celebration of Syttende Mai (that’s Norwegian Constitution Day).
• U District Street Fair. The fair runs through the heart of the University District in Seattle, and you’ll find the usual arts and crafts booths, entertainment, kids’ activities — and some good people-watching.
• Northwest Folklife. It’s always on Memorial Day Weekend at Seattle Center, and it always includes an incredible lineup of musicians and dancers. Great stuff for the kids, too.
• Maritime Gig Festival. Kids’ activities aplenty and entertainment on a children’s stage, parade, regatta, and more in downtown Gig Harbor.
• Super Saturday. One day packed with activities, music, food — you name it — at Evergreen College in Olympia.
• Edmonds Waterfront Festival. Visit the Port of Edmonds Marina for kids’ entertainment, classic yachts on display and other waterfront-themed activities.
• Marysville Strawberry Festival. The long-running celebration includes a two-hour parade down State Avenue, fireworks and the always-popular Pig Out on the Farm at Biringer Farms near Everett.
• Edmonds Arts Festival. Held over Father’s Day weekend, the festival includes fine art for the adults to look over, a juried children’s art show and art activities and entertainment in the Children’s Corner.
• Old Bellevue Strawberry Festival. Heritage displays, entertainment, a family fun area and (of course) strawberry shortcake.
• Greenway Days. Geocaching and scavenger hunts, hiking, farm festivals — your outdoorsy family can stay close or travel far. Events are held in towns and cities along I-90 from Mercer Island to Thorp.
• Taste of Tacoma. It’s all about the food, but there’s entertainment and kid fun, too.
• Tacoma Tall Ships Festival. The graceful sailing vessels are back at the Tacoma waterfront and Thea Foss Waterway. Take a tour or go sailing, and don’t miss the ships on parade.
• Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival. Held on Lake Union over the Fourth of July weekend, the festival is a boat bonanza for kids. Take a spin around the lake, build a toy boat, listen to sea chanteys. 206-382-2628.
• Seafair. Seattle’s old-timey maritime festival has grown to encompass most Seattle neighborhoods — and many neighboring towns. Parades and street fairs, the kick-off Milk Carton Derby, the Torchlight Parade and Blue Angels — activities spill from early July into August.
• King County Fair. The Enumclaw fair is inexpensive and old-fashioned, with free entertainment, rides and farm animals on view.
• Bite of Seattle. Three late-July days of crowds at the Seattle Center, food tastes from local restaurants and plenty to do for kids in the Family Fun Zone. Admission is free.
• Capital Lakefair. Music and entertainment, a bed race, sports activities, Kids’ Day and a finale of fireworks at Olympia’s summer festival, which turned 50 last year.
• Sequim Lavender Festival. Enjoy the glorious sight of lavender in peak bloom by taking a lavender farm tour, or comb the street fair for crafty treasures.
• Bellevue Arts & Crafts Fair. Browse fine crafts stalls and visit Kidsfair, where children can go crafty-wild. Held in the Bellevue Square Parking lot.
• Ethnic Fest. Crafts, performances and food from cultures from around the world, plus events just for kids. Held in Tacoma’s Wright Park.
• Pierce County Fair. Entertainment and kids’ zone, carnival and 4-H displays, located in Frontier Park in Graham.
• Festival at Mt. Si. The North Bend festival features a parade, entertainment, helicopter rides, fireworks and food events.
• Evergreen State Fair. In late August and early September, the fair in Monroe revs into action with animals on display, midway rides and the rodeo.
• Sand in the City. Downtown Olympia turns into a beach for a weekend to benefit the Hands On Children’s Museum.
• Harbor Days. Tour tugboats moored at Olympia’s Percival Landing — and watch ‘em race.
Kris Collingridge is ParentMap’s Out & About editor.
Originally published in the February, 2008 print edition of ParentMap.