Edmonds Kind of Play: Here’s a Taste of what’s to come in August (hint – free fun)

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That whole “good weather between July 5th and Halloween” adage is only mostly holding up this year, and I can only imagine that weather forecasters are getting their mileage out of “Junuary.” Thankfully, it may be more like July 4th than 5th as we are expecting clear skies with temperatures in the high 60s for an Edmonds Kind of 4th.

That’s how I like it, considering last year I saw my oldest march by with his band and ended up following them (in much warmer weather) for the rest of the route for the best picture/video options. I can imagine the grapevine-slash-shuffle I was doing for the row of people standing behind those who put their chairs out on July 3rd at 6 p.m. and was quite the Mom caricature.

My (possibly over) excitement to see my oldest march in a parade again this year brings me back to how we get to have such a popular event in Edmonds and the answer is, in large part, due to the annual Taste Edmonds. In 2015, rain and lightning caused the first day of the festival to be shut down, the first time in the festival’s 33-year history. The storm caused a loss of more than 50 percent of the chamber’s annual operating revenue, which they use to put on the events that you love and have come to expect in Edmonds — Edmonds Kind of 4th, Halloween and the Christmas Tree Lighting. I had no idea — until the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce ended up putting on a benefit concert to recoup the funds — that the Taste was such an integral part of keeping our beloved local events on the calendar.

Events like the Taste can be overwhelming, knowing you’re going to manage kids and say “no” a million times and they can also be tricky for families on a budget. That is why I am so excited to tell you about the changes to this year’s Taste Edmonds. I met with Jan Nicholas, who does Development and Community Engagement at the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce, at Mel & Mia’s in Perrinville. We’ve gotta talk about Mel & Mia’s sometime — it has all the good part of Farrell’s, but was less chaotic. Ncholas gave me the rundown of some of the changes to this year’s Taste and I think you are going to like them.

The first change is the price — the event is now $3, it had previously been $5. After hearing from families that “$8 for 3 minutes on the rides was one of their least favorite parts of Taste Edmonds,” this year they are offering eight, what Nicholas calls “ginormous” inflatables for FREE in the Kids Zone, thanks to these generous Edmonds businesses:

Rogue, Walnut Street Coffee, The Mar·ket – Edmonds Fishmonger & Eatery, Hero ACE Hardware & Grocery, C’est la Vie, Reliable Floor Coverings, Cline Jewelers, Comstock Jewelers, Edmonds Bookshop, Glazed & Amazed, HOUSEwares, Insurance Services Group, Inc., The Wooden Spoon Kitchen Shop, Edmonds Vision Center and ILLUMAGEAR.

On the Taste Edmonds Facebook post with this announcement, a resident commented that while living within walking distance, they hadn’t gone in years and the changes are “making me want to go,” piggybacking on another commenter’s retelling of her kids’ disappointment when they had to say “no” to the expensive attractions! The inflatables, one of which Nicholas says is “45 feet long” will be in a fenced-in area and kids will need a wristband to enter. These wristbands will be available on-site at the Taste.  Another kid-friendly Taste addition will be that the companies that sell windows, spas, etc. will be including kids activities such as coloring, painting, games, and giveaways to their booths.

Nicholas told me about some changes to the layout at the Taste this year that are about preference and comfort, and not just that the bleachers are gone. They are planning on having the booths be on the track, which will allow for patrons to walk on the field. In the past, I’d always associated the Taste with dust, expensive kid activities, and sales booths  — and even after finding out how much of an integral part of event funding it was, I still didn’t feel a lot of motivation to go. It is clear in talking with Nicholas about the Taste that the Chamber is not only listening to feedback, but considering what it’s like to attend an event like this. Now that you can get in for less, grab some food, watch your kids jump minus the $8 price tag, and have less track dust, it feels like a much more doable event.

Now, typically info on the beer garden wouldn’t make its way into a column about fun things to do with the kids, but I think the changes to the Taste’s beer garden open up the possibility of having a glass of wine or getting a beer. While you can still only drink in one place, you can now go in and out of the Beer Garden while you are at the Taste, whereas before you paid to get in and couldn’t come back in if you left. If you did somehow end up with a kid-free turn in the Beer Garden or made a trip without them, besides grabbing a drink,there is also a long list of fun events going on in there. For the $6 admission, there will be music, craft beer tasting, Wine Yoga, trivia, cornhole, beer pong, and a mechanical bull. While you will be able to leave, the addition of food trucks to the Beer Garden make it a lot easier to “park it,” as we say in my house, and get comfortable. Some of the Taste will stay the same with lots of food options, a kids stage, and lots of shopping to be had. It is always exciting to see someone passionate about what they do and even more so when you get to benefit from it!

Taste Edmonds will be held on Aug. 10, 11 and 12 at Civic Field in Edmonds. There will be FREE parking and shuttle service offered from Edmonds-Woodway High School, with shuttles running every 15 minutes each day. For more information, visit TasteEdmonds.com.

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time. You can find her on Twitter trying to make sense of begging kids to ”just eat the mac n cheese”

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