Aquafest '07 an unqualified success
Things have changed during the 20 years I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Aquafest. When I was a kid, I have vague memories of a rinky-dink amusement park, and of eating roast beef sandwiches from the Lions Club booth. The roast beef sandwiches are still here (I had one Friday), and this year’s Aquafest featured a full-fledged carnival on the north shore of the lake - a change in location necessitated by the renovation of Mt. Pilchuck Elementary.
Several other changes stood out as well. One huge difference from last year was the lack of the triathlon (held earlier in the summer). The triathlon impinged upon space and created logistical nightmares for planners. Plus, it’s nicer for the city to split up Aquafest and the triathlon giving citizens two banner events to look forward to each summer.
Jan Larsen and the Kiwanis did a phenomenal job with the beer garden er, Family Dining Area and Beverage Eatery. The main stage was bigger and better in its new location, and the addition of Griffins Crossing Winery helped supplement the crisp hefeweizens and Budweisers served by the thousand.
Friday night in the beer garden, I couldn’t help but feel like the Kirkland bar scene had closed and been transported to an empty field behind Jay’s Market. Hot girls strutted their stuff in heels and tiny skirts, trading the niceties of plumbing and dance floors for honey buckets and freshly-mowed grass but having a good time nonetheless. The fellas chugged beers in muscle tees and sunglasses and steeled themselves for the courage to approach the ladies. All in all, a lot of fun was had.
The grand parade was a blast as well. I rode in the Journal entry, sitting in the back of a pickup with Editor Pam Stevens’ family, handing Otter Pops to the kids and waving to friends. The streets were lined with people and the weather was perfect.
A couple years ago, it was reported that over 32,000 people attended Aquafest. I’m not sure of the tally this year, but it seemed bigger, better and more efficiently organized and orchestrated than ever and that’s quite a credit to Aquafest President Tracy Anderson and the team of volunteers that have sacrificed hundreds of hours this year for the purpose of providing the public with one weekend of fun.
Things don’t always go smoothly, and people may not recognize the politics and planning involved in pulling this off. I attended many Aquafest meeting last year, and I can tell you that things aren’t always wine and roses behind the festival’s scenes, which is why I was even more impressed with how this year turned out.
For the folks that spin the Aquafest wheels, this year’s event is over and it’s time to gear up for 2008. In a few weeks, a new Aquafest board will be elected, a theme will be chosen, and the planning will begin again. For now, I hope those behind this year’s grand event can bask in the glory of an exceptionally well done weekend.
Kevin Hulten writes the weekly Off the Record column and maintains the Off the Record blog at www.lakestevensjournal.com. Kevin can be contacted for questions, comments or story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.