Don't miss the Olympia Arts Walk on the third weekend of April, with performances, literary and art events, and tours of local galleries. Many downtown businesses—even furniture stores—open their windows for budding artists. The unique and whimsical Procession of the Species (360/753-8380 or www.procession.org) is the main event, with magically bizarre creatures and plants of every shape and form. A second Arts Walk (sans procession) takes place in April.
The Wooden Boat Festival (360/357-3370) held in mid-May at Percival Landing, includes a regatta and wooden boats open for public viewing.
In mid-June, Evergreen State College’s Super Saturday (360/866-6000) features hundreds of arts and crafts booths, food, and entertainment for all ages.
The city’s biggest summer festival is Lakefair (360/943-7344, www.lakefair.org), held the third weekend of July. Activities include a twilight parade, fireworks, a carnival, food and craft vendors, and crowning of the Lakefair queen.
From mid-July through August, Sylvester Park has Music in the Park events at noon on Wednesdays.
The fourth weekend in July brings all kinds of commotion to quiet Tenino with the Oregon Trail Days, including a parade, arts and crafts, entertainment, and a muzzle-loading camp.
The Lighter than Air Hot Air Balloon Festival takes place in Yelm in mid-July.
The Thurston County Fair (360/786-5453, www.co.thurston.wa.us/fair) held the first full weekend in August at the County Fairgrounds in Lacey, is a five-day festival with entertainment, food, and booths.
At the end of August, the Shakespeare Festival/Renaissance Faire at Sylvester Park brings out costumed performers of all types; performances of Shakespeare’s classics are presented in the nearby Capitol Theater.
Harbor Days Festival (360/754-4567) at Percival Landing is highlighted by a regatta and vintage tugboat races on Labor Day weekend.
December brings the Parade of Lighted Ships (360/357-6767), put on by the Olympia Yacht Club, and Winterfest in Historic Tenino features wagon rides, living history demonstrations, a gingerbread house competition, a quilt contest, and 1880s arts and crafts.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition