Sunny skies welcome thousands to Salmon Days
By KEVIN ENDEJAN
Issaquah Reporter Assistant editor
October 8, 2012 · 2:41 PM
Since the early 1990s, Margie Gurtner has made a point attend two regional festivals every year — her hometown Edmonds Arts Festival and Issaquah's Salmon Days.
"I like this one because of the time of year it is, said Gurtner, standing in line for her annual beef and cheese Piroshky. "It's kind of the last hurrah before winter."
Gurtner and thousands of others were treated to one of the most pleasant Salmon Days weekends in recent memory, Oct. 6-7. Skies remained clear and temperatures sat comfortably in the mid 70s both days.
"Back in the day, we used to have this kind of weather a lot," said Robin Kelley, director of festivals for the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce, who started volunteering at the event in the 80s. "In the last seven or 10 years, it's gotten to have more precipitation one day or the other."
The 43rd annual festival, operating under the them "Thrills and Gills," remained dry both days.
Kelley said there were a few modifications this year, but most everything stayed the same.
"We always do surveys every year and we ask people why they come, and they come for the overall experience and the tradition of things," she said. "We like them to discover something new and find something, so it's not exactly the same any two years."
There were more than 270 arts and crafts booths, 60 food booths, 80 non profits and roughly 50 family-oriented booths in Memorial Field.
Visitors were also treated to several live musical performances, animal acts, a field of fun – featuring everything from human hamster balls to train rides – and of course the stars themselves, the salmon spawning up Issaquah Creek.
Saturday featured the annual Salmon Days Parade — a first for Janice Parr, a New Orleans resident visiting her recently relocated daughter.
"The floats are a lot bigger where we come from and they throw things," Parr said, smiling. "This is beautiful, though, it really is."
While there are no official number of attendees, Kelley said the numbers were comparable to other sunny years.
"It's just so wonderful to see everybody walking around and enjoying it outside," she said.
Morgan Zielinski, front, wonders when the next salmon will swim by, while sister Lauren keeps her eyes focused on the ladder at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery on Saturday.
Riley MacDonald, a member of Little Gym of Issaquah, enjoys his ride down Front Street.
The Issaquah High School cheerleaders perform during the Salmon Days Parade.
Members of Seattle Hula Productions perform during the Salmon Days Parade.
Members of the Friends of the Issaquah Hatchery march down Front Street during the Salmon Days Parade.