Sports

Triathlon, Korean festival coming to town

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

A pair of sports-related events will be making their way to Federal Way during the next year.

The Reebok Women’s Triathlon will take place Sept. 12 at and around Steel Lake Park and a Korean Sports and Cultural Festival is tentatively scheduled for sometime in May 2005.

Officials are hoping the two events will bring thousands of dollars into the Federal Way economy and become yearly fixtures within the city.

“We want to create more events for the city in general,” said Patrick Doherty, the deputy director of community development for economic development with the city. “We want to bring visitors here.”

The goal, quite simply, is the people who come to town for the event will spend money in Federal Way.

In an attempt to help lure possible events to Federal Way, the City Council allocated approximately $30,000 during last year’s budget process to hire a firm out of Seattle called The Workshop to explore several options. The Reebok triathlon and the Korean festival are two events presented by The Workshop.

The city is set to spend $20,000 on the Reebok Triathlon and the council has capped its expenditures for the Korean festival at $176,000, according to Doherty.

The money the city is chipping in to fund the two events is coming out of Federal Way’s 1 percent lodging tax, which is charged at local hotels.

Any expenditure of the revenue earned from that tax must be used to promote tourism within the city and not for any other budget needs.

The Reebok Women’s Triathlon, which includes a swim, bike ride and run, is part of a series of events that is in its second season. Other races in the series include stops in Chicago, San Diego, Boston and St. Petersburg, Fla. The Federal Way race will be the third in the series and will include a full weekend of fitness-related seminars, training sessions and the Reebok MultiSport Experience, along with the competition.

“Everything seems like it’s going well,” Doherty said. “We have got sponsors in place and people are signing up for it to both participate and volunteer. There seems like there is a lot of interest in it.”

City officials have been told to expect around 2,000 women to compete in the triathlon during the first year.

The race will center around Steel Lake. The swim portion will be contested near Steel Lake Park and the bike ride and run will go out in a loop around the lake, onto Pacific Highway and Military Road.

The Korean Sports and Cultural Festival is still in the preliminary planning stages, but officials are anticipating a huge turnout for the event. Early estimates have between 5,000 and 10,000 people attending, which would generate up to $250,000 in local economic activity during its first year, Doherty said.

“We just want to create something that celebrates the Korean culture with sports and entertainment,” he said. “We want to make it as appealing to all audiences. We will have a variety of events.”

Ideas being bounced around include golf and soccer tournaments, Tae Kwon Do demonstrations, as well as other traditionally Korean sports. Other cultural events might include a film festival, dances and concerts around Federal Way.

Doherty said the Korean festival will take place at several venues around Federal Way, including Celebration Park, and a temporary indoor facility might be constructed to host larger events. A venue like the tent erected in Renton during the spring, which hosted the Cirque de Soleil, he said.

The idea for the festival stems from Federal Way’s sizable Korean population.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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