My MI Guide to Mercer Island's 2017 Summer Celebration!

July 2, 2017 | by Julia Hess

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It’s the festival we’ve all been waiting for – Mercer Island’s 27th annual Summer Celebration!

Summer Celebration is Mercer Island’s annual community festival, drawing 20,000 to 30,000 people to the island every year. This year’s theme is “Out of this World!” and features robot battles, a robotics competition, space-themed parade floats, and a Pacific Science Center “Space Odyssey”exhibit, among dozens of other exciting activities.

Every Celebration begins with a grand parade that is a must-see, especially for families with young children. The parade begins at SE 27th St and 78th Ave SE (the Tully’s Coffee corner), travels down 78th Ave SE, and ends in Mercerdale Park.

Mercerdale Park serves as a central location for festival activities, including the children’s fun zone, an arts and crafts fair, food fair,  musical performances, a skateboard event, and more.  A car show takes place adjacent to Mercerdale Park in the Farmer’s New World Life Insurance parking lot.

Luther Burbank Park serves as another major hub of activities, including the highly anticipated fireworks display on Saturday night, along with a Shakespeare in the Park “Much Ado about Nothing” performance, and the departure location for Argosy “Celebrations” narrated boat rides around the island.

So without further ado, here’s our My MI guide for all the important information you need to know to make the most out of Summer Celebration this year. We hope to see you there!

Festival Hours

Saturday, July 8:

  • 10 am: Parade, Town Center
  • 11 am to 7 pm: Downtown Festival, Mercerdale Park & surrounding streets
  • 6 pm to 10 pm: Fireworks festivities, Luther Burbank Park
  • 10:15 pm (approx.): Fireworks, Luther Burbank Park

Sunday, July 9:

  • 10 am to 5 pm: Downtown Festival, Mercerdale Park and surrounding streets
  • 10 am to 3 pm: Car Show
  • 1 to 3 pm: Sk8te the Rock Event

Festival Locations

Mercerdale Park (Main Festival)
3249 78th Ave SE

Luther Burbank Park (Firework Festivities, Fireworks, Shakespeare in the Park performance, Boat Rides around the Island)
2040 84th Ave SE

Farmer’s New World Life Insurance Bldg. (Car Show)
3003 77th Ave SE

Purchasing Tickets

You can purchase wristbands and tickets either before the festival at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center, or during the festival at a ticket booth! There will be two ticket booths at Mercerdale Park on Saturday from 10 am to 7 pm and Sunday 10 am to 5 pm.

  • Weekend Super Pass Wrist Band (Includes unlimited use for all rides and the train, fireworks and downtown both days!) – $31.00
  • Saturday or Sunday Wrist Band (Includes unlimited use for all rides, does not include the fireworks OR the train) – $16.00
  • Saturday Fireworks Wrist Band – (good for inflatables at fireworks only) – $8.00
  • Individual Tickets – $2.00/ticket (Rides take 1 to 4 tickets for one time ride)

*Insider Tip – Purchase wristbands and tickets in advance to avoid waiting in lines, especially right after the parade when ticket lines are the longest.

Festival Information Booth

Festival Information Booth will have maps, a schedule of events, the crafter’s directory, and additional information to answer any questions you may have. You’ll find the booth at the corner of 77th Ave SE and SE 32nd St (near the old Recycling Center).

Hotline/Live Festival Help: The Summer Celebration! Hotline (206-275-7857) will be available for live help during festival hours on Saturday (10 am to 7 pm) and Sunday (10 am to 5 pm).

Parking & Shuttle Information

Festival parking: Limited to off-street parking around Mercerdale Park and in the downtown streets of Mercer Island. Some lots will allow festival parking, but most of the shopping complex lots strictly forbid it. (Expect to be ticketed and fined by the businesses if you fail to adhere to the posted signs.)

Fireworks Shuttle: There will be a shuttle from Mercer Island City Hall to Luther Burbank Park from 6:30 – 9:45 pm. At the end of the festival and after fireworks, there will be buses to return riders to City Hall.

*Insider Tip: Avoid the hassle of parking and after-festival congestion by using the shuttles. Mercer Island City Hall is located at 9611 SE 36th Street.

Special Events at This Year’s Celebration

Saturday, July 8th, 10 am
SE 27th Street & 78th Ave SE
The parade is the opening event for Summer Celebration! The floats will celebrate the Mercer Island community as well as the celebration’s theme, and the parade will feature musical performances, too.
It begins at 10 am at the intersection of SE 27th Street & 78th Ave SE, traveling down 78th Ave SE all the way to Mercerdale Park.

Arts & Crafts Marketplace

Visit craft vendors from all over region on Saturday from 11 am – 7 pm and Sunday from 10 am – 5 pm.

Boat Rides Around the Island 

Enjoy a narrated tour around Mercer Island on the Argosy “Celebrations” boat! Enjoy a drink or snack from the on-board, no-host bar. You can get your ticket now by calling (206) 275-7609 or stop by the Mercer Island Community and Event Center (8236 SE 24th Street). Tickets are $10 for kids under 18 and $15 for adults 18+.
Sailing Times: 

  • 10:30 am
  • 12:30 pm
  • 2:30 pm

Children’s Fun Zone

Saturday, July 8, 11 am – 7 pm & Sunday, July 9, 10 am – 5 pm, Mercerdale Park.
Located in the middle of Mercerdale Park, the Children’s Fun Zone will have inflatable rides, arts and craft activities, train rides, and other child-friendly activities. Visit on Saturday and Sunday for hours of fun!

  • Cliff Hanger Dual Slide
  • Black Ops Obstacle Course
  • 50′ Modular Obstacle Course with Planes Panel
  • Star Defender Club Combo
  • Space Shuttle Play Zone
  • Mini Turbo Rush Funhouse
  • 20 ft Round Bouncer
  • Gravitron Gyroscope
  • 24 ft Dual Lane Slide
  • Stargazer Ferris Wheel
  • Circus Train

Children’s Inflatable Rides at Fireworks Celebration
Saturday, July 8, 6:30 to 9:30 pm, Luther Burbank Park

  • Wacky Jr Obstacle Course
  • 20 ft Dual Lane Slide
  • US Military Panel 5 in 1 combo

Area 51 

Located right next to the Skate Park in Mercerdale Park, here’s the spot you’ll find all the fun activities related to the 2017 festival theme “Out of this World!” On Saturday and Sunday, stop by to battle robots, try hands on science experiments with the Pacific Science Center’s “Space Odyssey” exhibit, explore rocket fun with Mercer Island Cub Scouts and YMCA Adventure Guides, and more!
Special events:

  • Robo-Magellan Outdoor Robot Contest: Saturday, July 8th from noon to 6:30pm.
  • Pacific Science Center’s “Space Odyssey” Exhibit: Operating hours are Saturday, July 8, 11 am to 5:30 pm, and Sunday, July 9, 11:30 am to 5 pm.

Car Show

Sunday July 9th, 10 am to 3 pm, Farmers New World Life Insurance parking lot.
On Sunday, check out some awesome classic cars at the 15th Annual Mercer Island Car Show. Meet at the New Seasons Market parking lot to drive around and “Cruise the Loop” before the show, starting at 8:15 am.

Sk8te the Rock 2017!

Sunday, July 9th, 1 – 3 pm, Mercerdale Skate Park
Mercer Island Parks & Recreation is partnering with Bellevue Parks & Recreation for a new skate event! On Sunday, July 9th at 1 pm, visit the skate park at Mercerdale Park for a skating contest, where each contestant will have 60 seconds to skate their best run. There will be giveaways, demos, and prizes for the winners of each age division. Helmets must be worn.

Food at Summer Celebration

There’s something for every palate at Summer Celebration’s Food Fair! There will be dozens of food vendors on both Saturday July 8th from 11 am – 7 pm, and Sunday July 9th from 10 am – 5 pm, at both Mercerdale Park and Town Center. Explore international cuisine and local food vendors during Summer Celebration. There will also be a special Swedish Pancake Breakfast from 9 am to noon hosted by the Songs of Norway at Mercerdale Park.

Entertainment Schedule for Saturday, July 8th at Mercerdale Park

10:45 – 11:45 am: Veteran’s Ceremony, Pergola Stage: Following the opening parade, come thank our veterans for their service! The Mayor and VFW Commander will host presentations as well. There will be a musical performances by “Charlie and the Flashbacks.”

11:45 am – noon: Sons of Norway Spring Maypole Raising and Dance, Grassy area near stage: Join the Sons of Norway and Risa Dala Scandinavian Dancers as they celebrate Midsummer with a traditional Scandinavian Maypole (Majstang).

Noon – 1 pm: The MacDaddy Band, Windermere Stage: Playing oldies rock hits from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, this group will have you on your feet and dancing from the first song to the last!

1:15 – 2 pm: Steffan Soule, “Magic of Wonder and Reading” Magic Show, Pergola Stage: Sponsored by the Friends of the Mercer Island Library, come watch Steffan’s show filled with creative, theatrical magic for a family friendly audience.

2 – 3 pm: My First Garden, Kids Planting Activity & Gardening Talk with Ciscoe Morris, Windermere Stage: A free kid’s planting activity, this year Ciscoe Morris will be teaching kids how to plant their own flower in a pot that they’ll get to take home!

3:15 – 4:15 pm: Robbie Christmas, Pergola Stage: Seattle singer-songwriter Robbie Christmas is known for his soulful voice, timeless lyrics, and skilled musicianship. Listen to Robbie’s music at the Pergola stage in the mid-afternoon!

4:30 – 5:45 pm: Megs McLean, Windermere Stage: Featured as a “Top 10 Next Women of Country,” Megs McLean is the voice behind a country-grunge style of music. Hear her original songs as well as energetic covers of new-country favorites.

4:45 – 5:45 pm: Two Scoops Combo, Pergola Stage: Eric “Two Scoops” Moore is a Blues artist who transcends the genre of Blues, bringing boogie, swing, and rock ‘n roll into the mix. Bringing a twist of optimism, love, and humor to his stories, “Two Scoops” is a show that can’t be missed!

Fireworks Celebration on Saturday, July 8th at Luther Burbank Park

6 – 10:15 pm: Food Trucks at Luther Burbank Park: If you’re looking for a snack or some dinner while you’re waiting for the firework show, try one of the many food trucks at the park: Curry House, Auntie Anne, Falafel Salam Co., Chopstix, Buns on Wheels, Nosh,  Nibbles, and Ezell’s.
6:30 – 9:30 pm: Clowns Unlimited Inflatables: There will be three inflatable attractions for even more fun!
6:30 – 7:30 pm: Brian Vogan & His Good Buddies, Fireworks Stage: A Seattle-based children’s musician, Brian Vogan & His Good Buddies play music that’s fun for the whole family. Bring out your dancing shoes for this show!
7:30 – 8 pm: Uncle Stinky’s Magic Show, Fireworks Stage grassy area: Uncle Stinky (Jonathan Docter) performs tricks for all ages, and he’ll even teach you his tricks — that is, after he fools you himself!  Uncle Stinky’s will also be on site with a variety of fun glow and light-up toys to purchase.
8 – 10:15 pm: Oncore, Fireworks Stage: The party isn’t over yet! Oncore plays a wide variety of high-energy music and has over 500 songs in their repertoire, so you can request anything you’d like. They’ll keep you dancing all night long!
10:15 pm: Fireworks Show: Sponsored by the Roanoke Inn, enjoy the spectacular firework show!

Entertainment on Sunday, July 9th at Mercerdale Park

10:45 – 11:30 am: Mercer Island Chinese Association, Pergola Stage: Come learn about the new MI Chinese Association, a non-profit that focuses on education and community relationship building, especially for new Chinese immigrant families.
11:45 am – 12:45 pm: DoctorfunK, Windermere Stage: Established in 1995, DoctorfunK has set the standard for new soul music in the Pacific Northwest. Come out and listen to an energetic performance from one of the Emerald City’s finest new soul bands around.
1 – 1:30 pm: Youth Theatre Northwest, Pergola Stage: A selected cast from their upcoming show, Music Man Jr., will be performing a brief set. Get a preview for the show, premiering July 14th!
1:45 – 2:45 pm: Exapos, Windermere Stage: This alternative rock band is made of a sibling due: 18-year-old Leah and 11-year-old Zane. They’ll perform both originals and covers. Hear their show for a sneak preview of their debut album, coming out this September.
3 – 3:45 pm: Alleyoop, Pergola Stage: With a variety of instruments and hilarious puppets, Alleyoop performs kid-friendly songs to create a fun and playful concert experience. Come dance and sing along with Alleyoop and his puppet pals.
4 – 5 pm: Bootleg Sunshine, Windermere Stage: A magical blend of violins, Bluegrass, Afro-Cuban rhythms make this concert something you definitely can’t skip. Groove to their “spicy jams” for this final show of Summer Celebration!

Insider’s Tips

  • Bring a small bag for kids attending the parade. Some parade participants will be throwing candy to young spectators.
  • Buy tickets in advance to avoid long lines at ticketing booths at Mercerdale Park.
  • The Children’s Fun Zone is typically less crowded and has shorter lines on Sunday vs. Saturday. (Wait a day for a more relaxed family experience.)
  • Fireworks tip: Bring cash along with blankets and bug spray to the Luther Burbank for the fireworks display. A vendor will be selling glowing necklaces and light-up novelty toys during the twilight hours, and they are a big hit with kids of all ages.
  • Fireworks tip: Park at City Hall and take advantage of the free shuttle rides to Luther Burbank Park to avoid parking headaches around the park.
  • Wear sunscreen and drink lots of water! It looks like it will be a warm weekend!

Still have questions? Complete Summer Celebration information is available the City of Mercer Island website >>