Arts and Entertainment

Festival Days are here again

Mirror staff

Even if there's rain on the parade, Federal Way's Festival Days is in full swing.

The 16th annual end-of-summer community celebration –– featuring live outdoor music, a carnival and other entertainment and activities –– started its three-day run yesterday, continues today and ends tomorrow, with organizers hoping for drier weather than rain that fell heavily off and on this week.

Today's festivities include a parade starting at 11 a.m. Floats, bands, animals, vintage automobiles and dignitaries, including grand marshal Fred Oldfield, the western painter, will take a new, shorter route than in past years. The procession will go from its staging area in the Top Foods parking lot north on 20th Avenue to South 312th Street, then east on 312th to 23rd Avenue before turning to South 314th Street and down 20th Avenue to The Commons at Federal Way (formerly SeaTac Mall).

The mall, whose parking lots are the scene of entertainment stages, the carnival (the biggest in festival history, organizers say) and arts and crafts booths, is one of four locations downtown that are the hub of the festival. The others, and some of their festival attractions, are SeaTac Village (legendary Pacific Northwest television clown J.P. Patches), SeaTac Plaza and Gateway Center (dancing and a children's sidewalk chalk art contest).

For the fitness-minded, St. Francis Hospital is sponsoring a 5K run this morning. It will start at 9 o'clock at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center. Runners can register up to the starting gun.

Other festival highlights include a juried art show, a car show, food booths and helicopter rides.

Parts of the festival were staged in past years at Steel Lake Park. The event is all downtown this year.

Bob Hitchcock, president of Festival Days, praised the efforts of merchant organizations, city officials and civic boosters in organizing the event.

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