Issaquah, Sammamish festivals start tomorrow, continue through July 4

Ice cream, fireworks and fun are in the forecast, beginning tomorrow and lasting all week as the community gears up for a number of festivals leading up to the Fourth of July.

Ice cream, fireworks and fun are in the forecast, beginning tomorrow and lasting all week as the community gears up for a number of festivals leading up to the Fourth of July.

The celebrations will begin tomorrow, with the Highlands Day Celebration and a “Unity in the Community” festival at Lake Sammamish State Park. On July 4, the city of Issaquah will host its Down Home Fourth of July and Heritage Festival, and Sammamish will hold its second Fourth on the Plateau.

The Issaquah Highlands will celebrate its 10th anniversary during its annual celebration from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. tomorrow. The event will feature a parade, food, booths, games, activities and tours. Other offerings will include tours from 15 new model homes and gifts and prizes will be available at each model home.

Presented by the state Parks and Recreation Commission’s “Folk Arts in the Parks” program and the Sundiata African American Cultural Association, Saturday’s Festival Sundiata will feature African-American culture and music as well as southern barbecue, children’s games and vendor booths.

Also this weekend is Greenway Days, which highlights the scenic corridor along Interstate 90 from Seattle to Central Washington. Greenway Days are tomorrow and Sunday, and include more than 20 events in 10 communities. The Issaquah Hatchery and Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery will host tours at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. both days. FISH will also offer hands-on activities and demonstrations in the hatchery’s Watershed Science Center, as well as posters and other giveaways.

The Down Home Fourth of July and Heritage Festival in Issaquah will include numerous free events including a Pets ‘n Pride Parade, old fashioned games, pony rides, Pie-Eating Contests, inflatables and live entertainment.

There will also be a Sky High Rummage sale, All-American foods, arts and crafts, antique logging machinery, old fashioned butter making, “Dress Up at the Depot” and many hands-on activities.

Sammamish officials have been planning for months, trying to improve upon the hugely successful first-ever Fourth on the Plateau event held last year.

This year’s festivities will include a half-hour, $25,000 fireworks extravaganza by Western Display Fireworks out of Canby, Ore.

“That’s the most important thing of the evening,” said Mike Sauerwein, director of Administrative Services for Sammamish.

Thanks to a number of large donors, officials believe the city won’t need to spend the $50,000 that City Council members had budgeted and set aside. Sponsors include i9 Sports, Instant Imprints, Plateau Jewelers, Rhonda Newton Family Dentistry, Port Blakely Communities, Edward Jones, Allied Waste Services, Whole Foods and others.

“We’ve had a huge outpouring of support from the community,” Sauerwein said.

“This is really a turning point for a community that only incorporated in 1999. The fact that we’re able to have this sort of community gathering is fantastic,” he said, noting that an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 people attended last year’s celebration. That figure represents about one-third of Sammamish’s population.

Organizers are adding a First Aid station, spreading out food vendors into three areas and increasing the number of portable toilets throughout the event area.

Volunteers are still needed, particularly to help clean up starting at 10 a.m. on July 5. For more information, contact Dawn Sanders at