Experience Tacoma through neighborhood festivals


A spate of summer festivals slated for near future

As we progress into the hot and gritty part of summer, a cluster of local festivals and street fairs are slated to take place. Over the next few weeks, fairgoers can cruise car shows, enjoy all flavors of music, experience the arts and get their happy faces painted as they munch, crunch, lick and digest dishes gleaned from a panoply of cuisines. Most of all, these neighborhood events allow us to get out and get a sense of the multifaceted dynamism of our City of Destiny; its diversity, its charm, its zesty zaniness and the resilience of its residents.

McKinley Hill Street Fair
Aug. 19, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
3500 block of McKinley Avenue near the Tacoma Dome

13939486_10208702152885148_2453659038338753580_n.jpgEast Tacoma’s premier outdoor festival offers an amazing full day of family-friendly activities and experiences. This annual street fair has been going strong since 2001.There is something for everyone with Food Truck Alley, live music, a free youth carnival, 1,500 free stuffed backpacks, 75 vendors, a live mural painting, a huge chalk-art zone, four beer gardens and business and craft vendors. New this year, fairgoers will find seating all along Food Truck Alley and a designated craft vendor space called Artisans Avenue. The day starts out with Tacoma Christian Center’s giveaway of 1,500 free stuffed backpacks. With a full day of live music and a free youth carnival, there is fun for everyone. The live aerosol art mural is a half block long. Swing by and chat with the artists. Between bands there will be giveaways from vendors on stage. Northwest bands are on stage all day long with set times listed: 10 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Free. Info: McKinley253.com

McKinley Hill Street Fair offers a diversity of vendors. Many amazing new vendors have been added to the 2017 street fair line up.

Artisans’ Avenue
New this year is a specially designated area called Artisan’s Avenue. Everything in this special area is made by hand, crafted locally or is uniquely Northwest themed.

Food Truck Alley
In the heart of the street fair sits 11 food trucks and specialty foods vendors. The amazing smell of burgers, barbeque, pizza, catfish, baked potatoes and sweet treats. It is enough to make any foodie smile. Deciding what to sample is the hard part. Added this year is loads of seating in Food Truck Alley. Bring your appetite.

1,500 Free Stuffed Backpacks
Tacoma Christian Center’s annual stuffed backpack giveaway is a vital part of the street fair. Backpacks are filled with traditional school supplies.

Free Carnival
The large free carnival entertains young and old. Mixed in with the fun and games are great vendors who offer health booths that include medical screenings, sports physicals, dental exams and vision screenings. It’s hard to tell which is a learning tent and a gaming tent with all of the goodies being handed out at each booth. It’s easy to see why this event has been going strong since 2001.

Chalk-Art Zone
The McKinley Hill Street Fair is happy to provide a giant canvas for artists of all ages. Please feel free to grab a handful of chalk and share your artwork. This is a fun artistic landscape for young and old. Street doodling is for all.

Graffiti Alley
Don’t miss out on Graffiti Alley, tucked away next to Fergie’s On The Ave. The Duenas crew tackles the massive wall with live aerosol art and leaves the neighborhood with a huge piece of amazing art to enjoy for the next year. Swing by and say hello while they paint.

Beer Gardens
Four outdoor beer gardens with full bar menus are run by Top of Tacoma, Parky’s, Fergie’s, and the VFW 969. The cold drinks never run out and the gardens are great places to stay cool while listening to the bands.

19990202_647806388755075_5755786329421858612_nLincoln International Festival
Aug. 19, noon to 6 p.m.
Lincoln District, along 38th St. in Tacoma

Not exactly well promoted, the Lincoln International Festival is featuring music, vendors, a beer garden and a kids’ area. This is the second year of the event. While it is scheduled for the same day as McKinley Hill Street Fair, organizers of Lincoln International Festival hope that revelers will be willing to support both events. Free. Info: facebook.com/LincolnDistrictTacoma

Summer Bash
Aug. 19, activities begin at 5 p.m., movie at dusk
STAR Center, 3873 S. 66th St., Tacoma

2017-star-center-summer-bash-poster_mSTAR Center and Metro Parks Tacoma bring you the fifth annual Summer Bash. Pack your snacks, blankets and lawn chairs and head to STAR Center for a free outdoor movie. This festival is for the whole family. The evening’s movie is “Sing” (2016, PG).

In addition to the movie there will be: bounce houses, food vendors, face painting, field games and crafts, community resource booths, open access to Treetops Playgrounds, SERA Campus Playground and Spray Ground. For entertainment, there will be the “Rising STAR” competition. There will also be performances by local artists Abigail Sloane and Gus Reeves.

Seating is on the lawn, so you are encouraged to bring blankets or folding chairs. Bring a flashlight and some cash for the food vendors. Make sure to carpool or walk due to limited parking. Free. Info: www.metroparkstacoma.org/summer-bash-2017.

Garfield Street Fair and Car Show
Aug 19, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Garfield Street, near Pacific Lutheran University in Parkland

Garfield St Fair_2x5_08.11.17The Garfield Street Fair features more than 200 vendors, a classic car show and live music. Kids activities includes bounce house, games, sidewalk chalk art contest and rock painting. There will be an abundance of great food and prizes.

Entertainment schedule

  • 10 a.m. Burlap Tuxedo
  • 11 a.m. Cocktail Jazz
  • noon Thrift Store Brats
  • 1 p.m. Mt Hwy Bluegrass
  • 2 p.m. Blvd Park
  • 3 p.m. Danny Cash
  • 4 p.m. Harrison St. Band

After the fair, enjoy music and margaritas at Reyna’s Mexican Restaurant or go to Q’s Coffee House for an open mic. Events at Trinity Lutheran Church (12115 Park Ave. S.) brackets the Garfield Street Fair with an Aug. 18 movie at dusk. The church also hosts “Worship in the Park” Aug. 20 at 10 a.m. followed by a potluck BBQ. Everyone is invited. Free. Info: shopgarfieldstreet.com.

Hilltop Street Fair
Aug 26, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Between S. 9th and S. 13th along Martin Luther King Way S.

12aa603124a02e7d5fec01bc883ba92e.jpegThe fourth annual Hilltop Street Fair is among Tacoma’s largest, with 15,000 attendees anticipated this year. Family-friendly activities, games and music will be featured in People’s Park all day. Varied food will be available from vendors. Newly added this year will be a quilt show, which symbolizes the theme of “Unity Through Diversity.” A locally-produced film festival will also be featured. Music will be continuous on four stages. Back by popular demand, a fashion show — presented by Sound Movement Arts Center — will feature clothing from local merchants. Central Latino will present a procession with costumed representations from 21 Latin cultural empires. Community Health Care will offer free wellness and dental exams. The 9th and 10th Horse Cavalry from the Buffalo Soldiers Museum will make an apperance. A car show sponsored by the the Blacktop Rebels Car Club is certain to draw interest.

The Hilltop Street Fair is presented by Hilltop Business Association with partnerships and support from The City of Tacoma, Tacoma Arts Commission, KBTC, Community Health Care, Associated Ministries, Allen AME, Blacktop Rebels CC, The Eleven Eleven, Mr. Mac, Centro Latino, US Bank, Broken Spoke and more.

Car Show
The car show is presented by Blacktop Rebels Car Club. All car makes and models are welcome (classics, hotrods, tuners, lowriders, etc.) Prizes will be awarded regardless of vehicle categories. Registration can be completed online at blacktoprebelscc.com. Preregister to save $5 and get a free dash plaque. Car show: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Registration begins at 9 a.m.) Preregistration: $15 (Free dash plaque.) Day of registration: $20. Free. Info: hbatacoma.com

3rd Annual Mobile Food Fest
Aug. 26, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sprinker Recreation Center, 14824 C St. S.

A variety of food trucks with a mixture of tastes from all over the Puget Sound will be invited to share their fare for all you “foodies” to enjoy. The event will utilize the grass outfields at Sprinker Recreation Center. Bring your blanket and grab a spot in the grass to enjoy your favorite tastes of the day. A beer garden and stage with live bands will make this an event you won’t want to miss:

  • 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. North of 50 Band (oldies, classic rock 60s and 70s, country)
  • 2-3:30 p.m. Cannibal Hamster (classic rock)
  • 4-6 p.m. Slim Wizzy (blues, country, classic rock)

Free. Info: piercecountywa.org/4141/Mobile-Food-Fest

Open Air Outdoor Aerial Festival
Aug. 26, 4-6 p.m.
Open Space for Arts & Community, 18870 103rd Ave. SW, Vashon

Open Air celebrates all things aerial. Discover magic in the meadow as aerial artists dance above on a blue sky canvas at Open Space for Arts and Community. It will be an over-the-top farewell to summer.

All ages can relax in the shade or bask in the sun and let the senses delight in the beauty and athleticism of this beloved annual open space event. Bring family, friends, blankets and picnic baskets to share while you ooh and ahhh to beautifully choreographed aerial spectacles.

The festival begins with the Acid Washed Marching Band, a group that wowed at Oregon Country Fair this year. Then, sit back and view a variety of performers as they climb and swing gracefully from the sky. See UpSwing Aerial by the amazing Cherie Carson; daring Lynelle Sjoberg, sweet Josie Slade, marvelous Madeline Schroeder, the dramatic Dreame Frohe & PJ duet and extraordinary Annie Crawford. Gravity-defying Esther Edelman and company add to the line-up, along with hand balancer Aly Komarzec, fabulous fabric dancer Laura Miller, Madam Martha Enson and Abby Enson add to this amazing line-up. Expect a surprise MC and guest characters from the past to make an appearance.
Kinetic art exhibition and putt putt will be open before and after the performance.




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