My MI Guide to Mercer Island's 2018 Summer Celebration!

July 9, 2018 | by Julia Hess

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It’s the festival we’ve been waiting for all year – Mercer Island’s 28th 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 “Island Vibes,” bringing a taste of tropical fun to Mercer Island through themed activities and events all weekend long.
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 and travels down 78th Ave SE, ending at 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 “The Merry Wives of Windsor” performance, and the departure location for Argosy “Celebrations” and their 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 14:

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

Sunday, July 15:

  • 10 am – 5 pm: Downtown Festival, Mercerdale Park, and surrounding streets
  • 10 am – 3 pm: Car Show, Farmer’s Insurance Parking Lot
  • 1 – 3 pm: Sk8te the Rock Event, Mercerdale Park

Festival Locations

Mercerdale Park (Main Festival)
3249 78th Ave SE
Luther Burbank Park (Firework Festivities, “Luau on the Lake,” Fireworks, Shakespeare in the Park performance, Boat Rides around the Island)
2040 84th Ave SE
Farmer’s New World Life Insurance Building (Car Show)
3003 77th Ave SE
Mercer Island City Hall (Fireworks Shuttle pick-up/drop off and parking)
9611 SE 36th St

Purchasing Tickets

You can purchase wristbands and tickets either before the festival at the Mercer Island Community and Event Center until July 13th, or during the festival at a ticket booth! There will be two ticket booths at Mercerdale Park on Saturday from 10 am – 7 pm and Sunday 10 am – 5 pm.
Prices:

  • Weekend Super Pass Wrist Band (Includes unlimited use for all rides and the train, fireworks, and downtown both days!) – $35.00
  • Saturday or Sunday Wrist Band (Includes unlimited use for all rides, does not include the fireworks OR the train, but does provide $1 discount on train rides) – $18.00
  • 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. The lines are especially long right after the parade.

Festival Information Booth

Festival Information Booth will have maps, a printed schedule of events, the crafter’s directory, and helpful people on hand to answer any other 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) in the Parks & Recreation booth tent.
Hotline/Live Festival Help: The Summer Celebration! Hotline (206-275-7857) will be available for live help during festival hours on Saturday (10 am – 7 pm) and Sunday (10 am – 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 Parking: The South Luther Burbank Parking lot, Mercer Island Community & Event Center parking lot, and limited off-street parking are available for parking during the Fireworks festivities at Luther Burbank Park. (Expect long delays exiting the parking lots.)
Fireworks Shuttle: There will be a shuttle from Mercer Island City Hall to Luther Burbank Park that will continuously loop around 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 at Mercer Island City Hall.

Events at This Year’s Celebration

Grand Parade 

Saturday, July 14, 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 the region on Saturday from 11 am – 7 pm and Sunday from 10 am – 5 pm.

Boat Rides Around the Island 

Saturday, July 14, starting at 10:30 am, Luther Burbank Docks
Enjoy a narrated tour around Mercer Island on the Argosy “Celebrations” boat with a drink or snack from the onboard, 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 $12 for kids under 18 and $17 for adults 18+.
Sailing Times: 

  • 10:30 am
  • 12:30 pm
  • 2:30 pm

Children’s Fun Zone

Saturday, July 14, 11 am – 7 pm & Sunday, July 15, 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, Uncle Stinky’s Magic & Novelties booth, 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

Car Show

Sunday, July 15, 10 am – 3 pm, Farmers New World Life Insurance parking lot
On Sunday, check out some awesome classic cars at the 16th 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 2018!

Sunday, July 15, 1 – 3 pm, Mercerdale Skate Park
Mercer Island Parks & Recreation is partnering with Bellevue Parks & Recreation for a new skate event! 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.

Island Vibes! Themed Events

To celebrate this year’s theme, there will be Island and beach activities at the “Aloha Corner,” located next to the Mercerdale Skate Park. The events below take place at the Aloha Corner during the entirety of Summer Celebration unless indicated otherwise.

Dig & Create Sandbox

If you love the beach and everything that comes with it (buckets, shovels, digging, and sandy masterpieces), this “Dig & Create Sandbox” is a must-do activity at this year’s Summer Celebration.

Fotos for Fido

Saturday, July 14, and Sunday, July 15, 12 – 3 pm, MIVAL Gallery, 2836 78th Ave SE
Stop by the MIVAL Gallery for a photo shoot with your pooch. MIVAL will have a photo booth set up with props for all things silly and serious. Participants will have an opportunity to have a painted portrait done of your favorite pet.

Meet Moana!

Saturday, July 14, 11 am, “Aloha Corner”
Moana from Motunui is coming to Mercer Island and she can’t wait to meet you! Make waves while you hang loose with the ultimate ocean voyager, Princess Moana. Find the “Spirit of Aloha” with Moana as she shares stories, hugs, and takes photos with her fans at this meet-and-greet event. Don’t forget your cameras!

Photobooth and Selfie Station

Don’t miss your chance to show off your best selfies or pose for that perfect photo with friends or family at this “Island Vibes” photo station. Tons of props and backdrops will be here to help you make the best creative photos. Tag your photos with #misummercelebration for a chance to win prizes and be used in future promotional materials if your photo is selected.

Sand in the City Sand Sculptures

Saturday, July 14, 11 am – 7 pm, and Sunday, July 15, 10 am – 5 pm, Mercerdale Park
Master sand sculptors will put their creative skills to work making artistic, imaginative sand sculptures. Watch the creative process unfold throughout the weekend as these artists turn 15 cubic yard piles of sand into masterpieces

Seattle Mermaids

The Seattle Mermaids are heading to Summer Celebration to share their love of all things mermaids and pose for a photo or two. Photos with the mermaids will be available at their booth immediately after the parade.

Surf’s Up! Robo Surfer

Try out your surfing skills: Hang ten, catch a curl, and try not to wipe out on this mechanical surfboard challenge. This activity provides you a simulated surfing experience on an actual surfboard over an air-cushioned ocean that makes wiping out fun!

Wet & Wild Splash Zone

Mercer Island’s BSA Troops & Packs will be on hand to provide activities centered around boating and water safety. Build a boat or race one in the Raingutter Regatta. Water activity tables will also be on hand for little ones to splash away the day. Stop by for games too, such as coconut bowling and flamingo toss.

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 14th from 11 am – 7 pm, and Sunday, July 15th from 10 am – 5 pm, at both Mercerdale Park and Town Center. Explore street fair and local food vendors during Summer Celebration, including Ezell’s Express, Gemini Fish Too, Meat on a Mission, Tacos La Flaca, Athena’s, and Street Donuts, and many more!

Entertainment Schedule for Saturday, July 14th 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 performance by “Charlie and the Flashbacks.”
Noon – 1 pm: Rain City Time Machine, Windermere Stage: Rain City Time Machine is the Puget Sound’s premier cover band, playing danceable hits from The Beatles to Bruno Mars.
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 pm: Shakespeare in the ParkThe Merry Wives of Windsor, Luther Burbank Park: Watch the Shakespeare play that practically invented the modern sitcom. Please note this performance takes place at the amphitheater in Luther Burbank Park.
2 – 3 pm: My First Garden, Kids Planting Activity, near Windermere Stage: Sponsored by Windermere Mercer Island, kids will learn how to plant their own flower in a decorated pot that they’ll get to take home!
2:15 – 3:15 pm: The Edsels, Windermere Stage: The Edsels consist of four Seattle area musicians (Kile Jackson, Wade Reeves, Gary Ballard, and Grant Stott) that have a collected total of over 100 years of musical experience. Each has played professionally since childhood. For Summer Celebration, they will be performing some Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffett, and other popular island tunes to help get you into the “Island Vibes” mood!
3:30 – 4:30 pm: Memphis Belles, Pergola Stage: The Memphis Belles are a trio of women whose core ballads are bursting with talent from the late 1930’s through the early 1950’s! Expect to hear tunes from the Andrew Sisters, Glenn Miller, Judy Garland, Dean Martin, Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald, McGuire Sisters, Bing Crosby, and more!
4:45 – 5:45 pm: Exapsos, Windermere Stage: Exapsos is an alternative rock band consisting of Leah Raissis, her 12-year-old brother Zane Raissis, and guitarist Nate Madera. The sibling duo formed in 2012 on Mercer Island after moving from the East Coast. Their influences include Heart, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and the Stone Temple Pilots.
6 – 7 pm: Darci Carlson Trio, Pergola Stage: Three-time Outlaw Female of The Year Nominee and 2017 winner of Dale Watson’s Ameripolitan Music Awards, Seattle’s own Darci Carlson delivers a throwback, honky tonkin’, true country affair.

Fireworks Celebration on Saturday, July 14th at Luther Burbank Park

Luther Burbank Park will be transformed into a “Luau on the Lake” for the fireworks festivities on Saturday night. The first 500 guests will receive a Hawaiian silk lei, courtesy of the Roanoke Inn. Enjoy Hawaiian dancing, singing and entertainment, a family magic show, and the smooth Caribbean Steel Drum tunes of Ian Dobson’s Pan Leggo to round out the night.
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: Mini the Donut Nut, Delfino’s Pizza, Big Dog’s, Simply Kettle, Falafel Salam, and Budda Bruddah.
6:30 – 9:30 pm: Clowns Unlimited Inflatables: There will be three inflatable attractions for even more fun!
6:30 – 7:30 pm: Rainbow of Hawaii, Fireworks Stage: Rainbow of Hawaii is part of the Halau Hula O Napualani (HHON) Hawaiian School of Dance, the oldest Hawaiian dance school (Halau) in Seattle. Rainbow of Hawaii will be performing hula with live musicians as a part of Summer Celebration!
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 have a booth on site with a variety of fun glow and light-up toys to purchase.
8:15 – 10:15 pm: Ian Dobson’s Pan Leggo, Fireworks Stage: Ian Dobson’s Steel Drum Party show takes the audience on a tropical vacation through an interactive, musical tour of the Islands and will put you into an island state of mind.
10:15 pm: Fireworks Show: Sponsored by the Roanoke Inn, enjoy the spectacular firework show!

Entertainment on Sunday, July 15th at Mercerdale Park

10 – 11 am: Jim Basnight Band, Windermere Stage: A four-piece band that performs all around the country, Jim’s band and his music span blues, country, soul, punk, pop, folk and all styles of rock and roll.
11 am – Noon: Bellevue Community Band, Pergola Stage: The Bellevue Community Band plays a variety of music including traditional marches, patriotic selections, jazz, and pop music as well as hits from stage and screen. This summer, their concert selections feature music from Doctor Who, Star Trek, How to Train Your Dragon, and Jurassic Park, as well as more traditional band selections.
12:15 – 1:15 pm: Cyndi Soup, Children’s Performance, Pergola Stage: Sing, dance, and join the fun with Cyndi Soup as she performs fabadabulous family favorites. Fun and interactive for all ages, enjoy a delightful hour of songs, sing-a-longs, puppetry, storytelling, dancing, and plenty of audience participation.
1:30 – 2:30 pm: The Dogtones, Windermere Stage: The Dogtones are a Pop-Rock cover band featuring three accomplished lead vocalists, soaring harmonies, and a rock-solid danceable backbeat. The Dogtones play songs spanning several decades that virtually everyone has heard, from easy listening to party classics.
2:45 – 3:45 pm: The Ukadelics, Pergola Stage: The Ukadelics are Seattle’s best kept Ukulele secret. They have been charming audiences in and around Seattle since 2006, from backyard luaus to larger events and festivals.
4 – 5 pm: The Chris Stevens Band, Windermere Stage: Their show at Summer Celebration will include the fiery virtuosity of saxophonist Brian Kent, as Chris Stevens Band presents a set of modern and classic blues, some of Chris’s “blues on the edge of jazz” originals, and a fine helping of reverb-drenched surf guitar favorites!
Download a printable schedule of events here >>

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 at the City of Mercer Island website >>

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