Every Fourth of July—around 4:00 p.m. or so—I watch as scores of drivers swoop in for one of the precious few remaining parking spaces on my street. As the hours pass, the scene changes from motorists to pedestrians, who make their way down Wallingford Avenue in a slow and steady stream. They’ve got quite a few blocks to go before they hit Gas Works Park, but this stretch of Wallingford becomes a giant block party in and of itself. The street closes just south of 40th, and neighbors go so far as to carry out couches to the middle of the road. The smell of BBQ and the sounds of music, interrupted by the occasional pop of a firecracker, carry on well into the night, which is capped off by our stellar view of the magnificent fireworks show on Lake Union.
Honestly, though, in all my years here, I’ve never once ventured down to Gas Works Park to participate in the festivities. My view from above provides no incentive to want to fight the crowd below, and it’s too far to walk with my little ones. Plus, our dog gets pretty nervous every Fourth of July, and leaving him home alone seems like a bad idea. We still have a wonderful view of the fireworks, and someone on the street inevitably turns on a radio so we could hear the accompanying broadcast.
This year, though, I may have to join the masses. You’ll remember all the hullaballoo about this year’s cancellation of the Fourth of July at Gas Works. Well, it seems that One Reel, in conjunction with over 300 businesses, managed to pledge enough money within 24 hours to carry on the tradition, and they’ve planned an enormous day of events at the park, on Sunday from noon until 8 p.m. Here’s a rundown of the July 4 family-fun activities:
• Buzz your way through coffee sack and three-legged races, or coffee bean bag tosses, hosted by Starbucks.
• Have the kids explore their inner circus curiosity with a static aerial rig, a tightwire, and juggling equipment provided by The School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts.
• Climb the face of a 24’ rock wall or take a spin on a bungee trampoline platform.
There will also be face painting, kite making, and a giant inflatable play center for kids 3-12. Moreover, Wallingford businesses have stepped up to make the day thoroughly enjoyable. Set your sights on these events:
• Rocking Chair Races, hosted by Wallingford Chamber of Commerce: Compete in the races or buy a raffle ticket to win amazing prizes from Wallingford area businesses with all proceeds from the event to benefit the Wallingford Community Senior Center.
• Cakewalks, Hosted by Trophy Cupcakes: Kids 3-12 can participate in fun cakewalks held throughout the day for their chance to receive delicious cupcakes. Random giveaways for grownups will also take place during the day.
• Dunk Tank, hosted by Not A Number Cards & Gifts: Here’s your opportunity to put your pitching skills to good use. There’s always somebody who needs a good dunking!
• Inflatable Sumo Wrestling, hosted by Fuerte Fitness: Here’s your chance to don a hilarious giant inflatable suit and go head-to-head with a friend, loved one, or even a neighbor for ring supremacy.
There will be a lakeside beer garden for those 21 and over, as well as a selection of food vendors onsite.
And last, though most certainly not least The Presidents of the United States will be performing before and after the fireworks show.
The spectacular 21-minute, elaborately choreographed fireworks show begins around 10:00 p.m. For more information, visit the Family 4th website: http://family4th.org/