City set to celebrate Aug. 10 at Sammamish Days, Nights

July 31, 2013

By Neil Pierson

When it comes to next weekend’s Sammamish Days and Sammamish Nights events, there’s literally something for everyone to do, regardless of their age, gender or hobbies.
The city’s annual celebration will be taking place Aug. 10, and there’s a cornucopia of activities for the senses: Food from all corners of the world, colorful art in all mediums, and interactive games and performances.

Sammamish Days
The day gets going early – the first activity, the Sammamish Adventure Race to Understand Autism, starts at 8 a.m. – and runs until mid-afternoon.
Dawn Sanders, the city’s volunteer coordinator, offers a tip: Park at Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic Church and make the short walk to City Hall. Depending on the weather, the city expects anywhere from 1,000 to 2,500 people to turn out.
Early birds should check out the Challenge Day Race sponsored by the Sammamish Rotary Club. Roughly two dozen physically and mentally disabled children will be racing soapbox derby cars down the hill on Southeast 24th Street next to Discovery Elementary School. Races run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Donations are welcome – they go to Life Enrichment Options, a local nonprofit group that assists people with developmental disabilities.
“We’re really trying to get more people to go out and watch those kids, cheer them on as they race down the hill,” Sanders said.
The event’s main stage at the Sammamish Commons will be filled with music, dancing and demonstrations between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
“We balance it out between professional entertainment and local entertainment,” said Lynne Handlos, the city’s recreation coordinator.
Two martial arts studios – Karate West and Elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu of Redmond – will bring performance teams to the stage. Karate West’s Sammamish training facility has been lauded as one of the nation’s best, and is the largest of its kind in the Northwest.
Kids will likely get a kick out of Rick Hartman, whom the Christian Science Monitor has called “a Pied Piper of sorts.” His School of Toy workshop, which begins at 10:15 a.m., invites children to use a variety of toys that demonstrate mathematical and scientific principles. Hartman has appeared on the Discovery Channel and “The Tonight Show,” and has invented several commercially-produced toys.
“We’ve had him here before,” Sanders said. “It’ll be very fun for the kids. It’s a very interactive activity.”
Among the first-time acts at Sammamish Days will be Lelavision, a Seattle-based “physical music” company that prides itself on its unique skills. Its co-founders, Ela Lamblin and Leah Mann, have performed with Cirque du Soleil and International Children’s Friendship Festival stops around the world.

Sammamish Nights
Last year, about 300 people enjoyed themselves at the jazz-infused, food-and-spirits festival known as Sammamish Nights, and marketing director Lynn Juniel is hoping to match or exceed that total.
The festival runs from 6:30-10 p.m. and will be highlighted by 10 local restaurants, 20 wineries and breweries – including Red Hook – and the music of saxophonist Darren Motamedy.
“One of the things we hear people say so often is they don’t know there’s something out here on the Sammamish plateau that’s so fun and only for adults,” Juniel said. “This is just our opportunity to inject a little fun – something fun for adults to do that’s not far from home.”
Tickets are available online through the city’s website. They cost $45 each, plus a $3.47 fee.
The event will go on rain or shine, although Sammamish Nights has yet to get wet in its four previous years, Juniel said. Motamedy and his band will play a 90-minute set, perhaps enhancing what Juniel hopes is a “drop-dead gorgeous sunset.”
“He’s terrific because he’s actually a Northwest native, taught in the area for a long time, then went off and found a lot of success in Las Vegas,” she said.
The culinary extravaganza includes Pogacha, an Adriatic-themed restaurant that prizes Northwest ingredients; seafood specialists Coho Café, which has locations in Redmond and Issaquah; and My Chef Lynn, a Lynn Rehn-operated food truck featuring sliders, spareribs, clam chowder and chili.
Among the vintners, distillers and brewers in attendance are Woodinville’s Project V Distillery and Sausage Company, which has created some acclaimed vodkas and is working on whiskeys; and Alexandria Nicole Cellars, a Central Washington producer of several well-received varietals, including Riesling, Viognier and Grenache.

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