Mercer Island residents haven’t experienced a Summer Celebration event in their hometown since 2018. On July 9, that all changes.
The immense city-organized, family-friendly event won’t be spread out over two days like in the past, but it will bring people together for music, magic, food, fireworks and more in a pair of locations: Mercerdale Park (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Luther Burbank Park (6-10:45 p.m.).
City recreation coordinator Katie Herzog, who took the lead role in putting all the pieces together for the free celebration, is getting excited to see everything come to fruition with the help of her colleagues as the event day approaches.
“We’re ready. It kind of feels even more important and big because we haven’t had it for three years now,” said Herzog, adding that a levy failure forced budget cuts and a cancellation of the 2019 event, and the last two gatherings were erased from the calendar due to COVID.
The city’s goal is to reunite the community with this summer’s event, Herzog said.
“This community really does support and love events. They love coming together, and the Island is such a great unique place where so many people do know each other,” said Herzog, who noted that the city aims to deliver a special day in the event’s scaled-down format.
The city budgeted about $88,500 for the event and had amassed about $40,000 more at press time in sponsorships and through a Mercer Island Community Fund grant. Vital sponsors are: The Mercer Apartments, Windermere Real Estate, Mercer Island Community Fund, John L. Scott, Recology, Farmers Insurance – Kimball Agency, Island Books, Healthcare Reimbursement Solutions, Jake Jacobson and Mercer Island Martial Arts.
Over at Mercerdale to begin the day, kids of all ages can climb into city vehicles like fire and public works trucks; attendees can visit community and nonprofit booths like those from the Mercer Island Visual Arts League, Youth Theatre Northwest, Mercer Island Historical Society and more; Bubble Man and reading-focused magician Steffan Soule will entertain and enlighten the crowd; and music lovers can groove to the sounds of the local MIMX (Mercer Island Music Experience) Band and Puget Sound Band.
“It’s kind of fun to have some local bands and music to hopefully bring in more of the community to come watch them and check ‘em out,” Herzog said.
When the celebration shifts over to Luther Burbank for the nightcap, family magician Brian Ledbetter and The Olson Bros. Band will be in the spotlight and set the stage for the fireworks show, which will get booming off a barge on Lake Washington at 10 p.m.
Mercer Island School District has partnered with the city to get shuttles rolling to Luther Burbank Park, and people can purchase premier community center parking passes to help support the event.
For a full Summer Celebration schedule and premier parking information, visit https://www.mercerisland.gov/parksrec/page/summer-celebration-schedule-events.
THEATER AND MUSIC SCENE
Other free city events on tap this summer are the return of Shakespeare in the Park and Mostly Music in the Park. The city has a budget of $25,000 to put on those events and has received a King County 4Culture grant for both and a Mercer Island Community Fund grant for the music event.
Seattle Shakespeare Company and Wooden O will present their event in July and August at the Luther Burbank Park Amphitheatre. All performances will be from 7-9 p.m. unless noted. “Cymbeline”: July 7, 8, 15, 16, 21, 24 (2-4 p.m.), 30 and Aug. 4. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”: July 10, 14, 17, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29 and Aug. 5, 6 and 7.
For more information, visit https://www.seattleshakespeare.org/venue/luther-burbank-park-amphitheatre.
Mostly Music in the Park will take place from 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursdays starting July 14 at Mercerdale Park. The lineup is as follows: July 14, West Coast Feed; July 21, Great American Trainwreck; July 28, Outside The Lines; Aug. 4, Portage Bay Big Band; and Aug. 11, No Rules.
For more information, visit www.mercerisland.gov/mmip.