Mercer Island Summer Fun Guide 2023

June 30, 2023 | by Sophia Maggio

Explore +
Photo courtesy Seattle Shakespeare Company

Fourth of July festivities are around the corner, and Mercer Island’s annual summer events and traditions are ramping up. Soak up the sunshine – and some Shakespeare – in a park, taste the local terroir at the farmers market, and mark your calendar for the season’s most anticipated events and activities. The island has lots of summer fun in store!

Mercer Island Farmers Market

Photo courtesy Mercer Island Farmers Market

Sundays, June through mid-October, 10 am – 2 pm, 7700 SE 32nd St, free

Buy the juiciest fruit and most colorful flowers straight from the people who grow them at the Mercer Island Farmers Market. Each Sunday, vendors from island and the Pacific Northwest region set up to sell their fresh produce, sustainably caught fish, pasture-raised meats, artisan crafts, and other local goods. Prepared food stands and live music, ranging from solo artists to full bands playing folk, rock, swing, bluegrass, gypsy jazz, blues, and more, create a party atmosphere. The Ask a Master Gardener program provides advice and consultations for local gardeners, kids can learn more about food, gardening, and nature through volunteer-led activities at the Children’s Table, and vendors offer tastings on a rotating schedule through the season.

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Shakespeare in the Park

Photo courtesy Seattle Shakespeare Company

Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, from July 6 through August 5, 7 pm – 9 pm at Luther Burbank Park Amphitheater, donations encouraged.

An enchanted island with magical spirits sounds like somewhere we know, but this version comes from the talented performers from Wooden O of the Seattle Shakespeare Company. Each summer they recreate classical Shakespeare plays in the Luther Burbank Amphitheater with support from 4Culture, and this year’s show is a sea-shanty take on The Tempest, inspired by elements of the Pacific Northwest. Pack a picnic and gather for one of the free outdoor performances.

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Mostly Music in the Park

The Olson Brothers Band will perform on Mercer Island on August 10th | Photo Courtesy Luke and Isaac Olson

Thursdays, July 13 through August 17, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, Mercerdale Park, free

A slate of talented musicians and bands has been set for Mercer Island’s Mostly Music in the Park. The Russian Chamber Music Foundation will kick off the city’s outdoor music series on July 13th, followed with Classic Rock, Country Rock, and Oldies bands. Pack your blankets, chairs, and a meal to share, and settle in for an evening of music, entertainment, and hands-on arts and crafts to occupy little ones each week in Mercerdale Park.

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Mercer Island Summer Celebration 

Flyer courtesy City of Mercer Island

Saturday, July 15, 11 am – 4:30 pm at Mercerdale Park and 6 pm – 10:15 pm at Luther Burbank Park, free

Celebrate the season with the island’s signature parade and a fireworks show that brings together the community. The day kicks off with the Community Parade, starting at 10 am, down 78th Ave SE and ending in Mercerdale Park, with booths from local businesses and nonprofit organizations, art vendors, live music, children’s activities, and food trucks. Then the party moves to Luther Burbank Park for evening festivities until the fireworks display begins at 10 pm.

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National Night Out

Tuesday, August 1, 5 pm – 8 pm, various locations, free

Gather on the streets and in the community for cookouts, conversation, and camaraderie, encouraged by the city and Police Department in recognition of National Night Out. The annual community-building event held on the first Tuesday of August in cities around the country to promote community-police partnerships, emergency preparedness, and community-building closes off streets to create meeting space for neighbors and officials to talk about community safety efforts.

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Seafair Weekend: Boeing Seafair Airshow

Friday, August 4 – Sunday, August 6, various locations, free

Watch some of the most elite flight teams on the planet perform, race, and maneuver – all from the comfort of Mercer Island – when the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Army Golden Knights, as well as civilian pilots, vintage aircraft, and parachuters, fly over Genesee Park and Lake Washington, showing off gravity-defying moves and stunning aerial performances.

The best spots to watch on Mercer Island include Landings on 60th Ave, Park on the Lid, Groveland Park, and the I-90 floating bridge, but if you can’t make it to a lookout spot, tune into KING TV or Mercer Island High School’s radio station: 88.9 FM “THE BRIDGE” for the Log Boom Radio broadcast. Both stations provide live coverage of the air show and other races throughout the weekend.

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& More Events

Park Restoration Events

Photo courtesy City of Mercer Island

Weekly, various dates, times, and locations in Mercer Island, free

The City hosts several restoration events and “work parties” at green spaces throughout the island. Connect with neighbors and get your hands in the dirt while learning about our local plants and forests. 

Small snacks, gloves, and tools are provided, and no experience is necessary. Please visit the City calendar to view the restoration event dates and register as a volunteer.

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Summer Reading at the Mercer Island Library

Photo courtesy King County Library

June 1 through August 31, Mercer Island Library, free

Turn your beach reading into prize winning with this summer’s sea creature-themed version of the Mercer Island Library’s beloved annual summer reading program. Anyone can participate simply by picking up a Reading Challenge log at the local library, printing one at home, or creating an online library account to track their reading.

Whether setting their own goal or using the recommended 20-minute goal, readers track their page-flipping, audiobook listening, or any other form of reading from June 1 and August 31. Then, starting July 1, readers can pick up the Halfway Prize for marking 25 colorful shapes in their logs, and the Finisher Prize after marking 50 shapes.

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First Friday Art Walk

Photo courtesy Ginny Clarke

Friday, July 7, 5 pm – 8 pm, Clarke & Clarke Art + Artifacts and participating locations, free

Stop by Clarke & Clarke for an opportunity to meet their featured artist, Larry Halverson, then follow the Art Walk route to view work by other local artists. Halvorsen’s “Sgraffito Treasures.” is the latest exhibit in Clarke & Clarke’s “The Artists Language” series, and shows off his trademark black-and-white designs that combine the “sgraffito” carving technique with black slip to reveal the underlying white stoneware.

First Friday Art Walk – Participating locations

Island Book Clubs  

Virtual Knitting Book Club: Every month, 6 pm – 7 pm, online, free

Open Book Club: Last Thursday of every month, 7:30 pm – 9 pm, Island Books, free

Island Books hosts two monthly book clubs: an in-person Open Book Club and a Virtual Knitting Book Club. 

To join Virtual Knitting Book Club, simply click the Zoom link and knit or craft while discussing the assigned book. This July, knitters plan to discuss Musical Chairs by Amy Poeppel. Sip tea, listen to the clacking of needles, and embrace the silence when troublesome patterns interrupt the conversation. All levels of knitters and crafters are welcome!

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At Open Book Club, members read and rehash books from a variety of genres, chosen by a staff facilitator. This July, join fellow readers to discuss Emily Itami’s novel, Fault Lines.

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Summer Playdates for Lakeridge Kindergarteners 

Sunday, July 23, 10 am – 11:30 am, Thursday, August 10, 4:30 pm – 6 pm, and Saturday, August 19, 10 am – 11:30 am, Lakeridge Elementary Playground, free

The Lakeridge Elementary PTA hosts a series of summer playdates for children starting kindergarten at Lakeridge this September, creating a fun and casual opportunity to connect with other kindergartners and their families before school begins.

Quest For Light: Watercolors By Genny Rees

Photo courtesy Nancy Abel

Wednesday through Saturday, noon – 6 pm and Sunday, noon – 4 pm, through Sunday, July 30, MIVAL Gallery, free

Genny Rees, a local watercolor artist with exquisite technical ability, paints flowers in large scale and bright, joyful colors, and the MIVAL Gallery is currently running an exhibit of her work. Throughout her 40+ year tenure as a MIVAL member, Rees has shared her talents with other artists, and this exhibit celebrates her art and contributions to the local arts scene.

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