For many of us, there are few places we'd rather be than spending summertime in Kirkland and the Northwest. Personally, when the temperatures rise and skies turn blue, there are few places on Earth that I'd rather be (in the winter, I'm always ready with a packed bag).
Events and festivals play a big part of summertime entertainment and activities Kirklanders have come to enjoy over the years. In our town, these events are largely run by volunteers working for local non-profit organizations and are supported by our business community through sponsorships.
The business leaders and volunteers who give of their time and treasure are unsung heroes in my view because without them, Kirkland would be a very different place. Kirkland is a gathering place for Eastsiders because of our waterfront location. Our beautiful views and small town feel are what attracts visitors and event goers alike. They come to Kirkland, enjoy their time, spend a little money and, if they like what they see, they may even decide to move here. Some of them move their businesses here too. This is a good thing.
Look at the following list of events and festivals and note that each one of these supports a Kirkland-based non-profit, is run mostly by volunteer efforts and is funded, in large part, by Kirkland businesses.
Polar Bear Plunge, Kirkland Shamrock Run, 7 Hills of Kirkland, Kirkland Wednesday Market, Celebrate Kirkland 4th of July Parade and Fireworks, Kirkland Art Walk, Summer Concert Series in Marina Park, Summer Concert Series in Juanita Beach, Kirkland Classic Car Show, Kirkland Summerfest, Dennyfest, Kirkland Oktoberfest, Holiday Tree Lighting Festival.
It is hard to say that there isn't something for everyone on that list. These events and festivals are a part of what makes our community special. They thrill us, inspire us, move us and bring smiles to the faces of tens of thousands of folks.
It is in this context that I'd like to say thank you to the generous sponsors of these events. Take a look at the events and festivals you most enjoy and take note of the sponsors. Without these sponsors, the above events would not exist. Sponsorship support is critical and as any nonprofit will tell you, funding is always a concern. Our Kirkland-based businesses are a major reason why we enjoy so many great festivals in our city. I encourage you to learn more about the festivals you enjoy. Educate yourself about their non-profit connections and support the businesses who support our non-profit events and festivals. Our Kirkland business owners are one of our unsung heroes. To the healthcare providers, the auto dealers, the restaurant owners, the mom and pop shops and everyone in between, we say THANK YOU! Please say thank you and support these businesses.
Photos of Kirkland Summerfest provided by Bob Gassen/Humanature