In the absence of a city sponsored Summer Celebration, more than 200 Mercer Island residents came together for a community organized July 4 picnic.
Due to the failure of Proposition 1 tax levy measure in the November 2018, the city of Mercer Island cut back several events as a cost-saving measure, one of which was the annual Summer Celebration. A few residents responded to the dropped event by organizing their own.
Begun with only a few residents, the picnic grew to include hundreds at Mercerdale Park on July 4. Mercer Island resident Gary Robinson said the picnic featured activities and games, face painting, and tours of the Native Plant Garden. The Friends of Mercer Island Library invited magician Stephan Soule to the park for a performance, which was a hit with the crowd, Robinson said.
An estimated 250 residents showed up with their blankets and food to celebrate the holiday as a community.
Robinson said keeping these kinds of events alive is important because it empowers the atmosphere of community, which people move to Mercer Island for.
“It was just a pure community event,” he said. “Just to bring the community together and enjoy one another.”
In a preview of the event on June 24, Mercer Island’s interim director of Parks and Recreation Ryan Daly told the Reporter that he was pleased to see residents banding together to bring some of the lost events back and continue tradition.
“We couldn’t be happier,” Daly told the Reporter. “Having a community step up is how we’re going to bring some of these events back and continue to build community. This group is stepping up and I can’t thank them enough for doing that.”