About a year ago, the Rotary Club of Edmonds announced it would suspend the Edmonds Waterfront Festival. The event had run for 31 years at the Port of Edmonds Marina. Then-president David Kaufer explained the group decided to take that step “after carefully evaluating and analyzing the return on investment, both in capital and volunteer effort, in the current format.”
Then I heard the news that that the club would be putting on what Kaufer, a fellow hockey parent, called an “Edmonds kind of Oktoberfest” instead. I was excited at the prospect, as the previous Waterfront Festival incarnation wasn’t a big hit with us. When announcing the event, Kaufer told My Edmonds News, “We’re excited and confident that Edmonds Oktoberfest will become a new favorite city tradition for a new generation of residents and businesses alike.”
Edmonds Oktoberfest will be on the Frances Anderson Center Field this Friday, Sept. 20 from 4:30 to 10 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
When I think of Oktoberfest, I don’t tend to think about kids activities, but Saturday’s festivities involve a lot of options for kids/families. Saturday starts with a 5K Fun Run/Walk at 9 a.m. After that is the Pet Parade, where costumes are encouraged as you walk your pet(s) through downtown Edmonds — the route is a nice walk down Main Street to 6th Avenue to Maple Street and back up to 7th Avenue before finishing at the Frances Anderson Center stage for the awards and Oktoberfest.
All proceeds from the 5K go to Washington Kids in Transition, and their executive director, Kim Gorney, is really the driving force behind the Oktoberfest’s Kids Korner. The focus is on fun, free kids activities, and the Kids Korner will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21. There is no admission fee to experience the Kids Korner or food trucks, though you do need tickets to get into the beer tasting.
The focus of Kids Corner is to highlight the great organizations and activities so families can bring their kids and enjoy themselves without having to open their wallet to participate in each activity. There will be three free bouncy houses, which you can find on the Dayton side of the Frances Anderson field; fun, interactive booths; and a stage with family entertainment. You can find a full list of participating organizations on EdmondsOktoberfest.com under Entertainment, but there will be free face painting, veggie car races, pumpkin painting, wooden boat painting and more activities from Imagine Children’s Museum and Home Depot. The Frog Lady, Thayer Cuter, will be there with her famous van too.
In addition, there will be Kids Korner fun on the stage below the playground. At noon Saturday, Master Cho’s ATA Taekwondo — which will also have a booth — will do a demonstration. At 4 p.m., local ukulele band, “LeLe” will play an “eclectic mix of covers and originals with a unique acoustic boho grunge style.”
Another one of the booths/shows that I am excited about is from The Cogworks/Steam-Age Foundation. I went to an event at the Edmonds Library where they put on a demonstration and it was a big hit with the range of kids we had with us, and the adults too. I reached out to founder, Kirk Siqveland, and he let me know his plan for his stage time, which he’ll have intermittently along with the booth. At 1 p.m. he will “play with electricity and have a few shocking demonstrations,” and at 2 p.m. will cover Magnets, Motors and Generators, showing those in attendance how we make electricity. At 3 p.m. you can get a look into how steam-engines work! Siqveland told me that he expects to invite participants onto the stage for some hands-on fun during the demonstrations.
I am excited that there will be so much free fun for the kids to enjoy at Oktoberfest. It feels good to know that what is raised from the event will go to two local groups, with the 5k benefiting Washington Kids in Transition and the proceeds from the entire event benefiting The Rotary Club of Edmonds, which will include funding for a new inclusive playground at Civic Field.
For all the info you need, you can visit EdmondsOktoberfest.com.
— By Jennifer Marx
Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.