When we first moved to Issaquah Highlands, my family and church volunteered a lot. We started by helping commission the dog park. Our job was to serve (can you believe it?) hot dogs, while one of our friends in a dog suit entertained the kids with Frisbee tricks. Next, we were part of the first Green Halloween festival with members of our church dressed as the Peanuts gang. Then we helped plan and staff Christmas festivals in 2007 and 2008. These were big productions which included a nativity with live animals, horse carriage rides, and story-time with Mr. and Mrs. Clause.
As a girl growing up in small town Indiana I remember our big annual festival called Settler’s Days. The town square would be closed off, carnival rides and booths set up, and people would come from all over the county to enjoy the festival. My family of eight drove ten miles into town in our dodge van to be part of the fun.
Back then I didn’t imagine that I would raise my kids in a community where we can attend multiple festivals each year just a short walk from our front door. The biggest and most constant festival we have been part of is Highlands Day.
This summer festival has been a community staple since the beginning. In the early days it was held in Ashland Park and near the fourth of July with an Americana theme. Highlands Day moved to Blakely Hall and Village Green when they were built. In recent years, Highlands Day has been celebrated in August with different creative themes each year. My kids have enjoyed many of the themes, but especially Art Outside, Super Heroes, and Once Upon a Highlands Day.
As Issaquah continues to grow, Highlands Day remains a chance to experience the small town feel of our urban village. My family and I love walking to Village Green taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the festival. My husband and I catch up with neighbors while the kids and their friends run off to enjoy the rides and activities, sometimes even becoming part of the attraction. Last year, Lizzie ended up in the dunk tank calling out for anyone nearby to come dunk her.
Whether it’s a sunny day or a drizzly one, Highlands Day is a great time for your family to get out and enjoy our community spirit. Make memories with your neighbors while eating good food, riding rides, and visiting the vendor booths. This year will be a special Happy Birthday Highlands Day, celebrating 20 years since the first residents moved in their Highlands homes. Be sure to stop by the Issaquah Highlands Community Association (IHCA) photo booth to include your picture and a Highlands memory in the 20th birthday time capsule.
Thank you for joining me this past year in a look back at our Highlands history. I’ve enjoyed writing these articles and taking a trip down memory lane with all of you. The Highlands has been a wonderful place for my kids to grow up, and whether you are brand new to the Highlands or have been here since the beginning, I wish for you the same experience of community the way it was meant to be.