Every Fourth of July the city of Tumwater pulls out all the stops. Start with the obvious: The Thunder Valley Fireworks Show is, according to festival organizers, the biggest in Thurston County. It’s certainly impressive — but so are the entertainment and events that precede it. Littles relish conquering inflatable slides, a pirate ship and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Older kids and teens roam freely between a bungee run, inflatable obstacle courses, a field-goal challenge, a “Vertical Rush” slide, a wrecking ball, and the intriguingly entitled “Human Foosball.” Kids join their adults for miniature golf, roving magic acts and musicians, and face-painting overseen by Hands On Children’s Museum. Meanwhile, a DJ plays top-40 music suitable for guests of every age. It’s why Bruno Mars was born.
What’s a fair without food? Start with brisket, hot dogs and pulled pork from The Tailgate BBQ. Add burgers from Big Daddy’s, chicken-bulgogi skewers from Bus 49, Mexican fare from Gringo Maniac, exotic and vegan items from The Jerky Gal and the savory, eastern flavors of Pattaya Thai. Wash it down with Pony Espresso, then move on to dessert. There’s kettle corn from Grandad’s, elephant ears from Hungarian Kitchen, Johnny’s Ice Cream, McNashton’s Shave Ice and, to finish on a healthier note, apricots and cherries from Fardell Farms LLC. Yum! Now, where’s that antacid kiosk when we need it?
Illusionist Jeff Evans does a full act at 6:30 p.m. on the “Family Entertainment Stage,” followed by L-Bow the Clown juggling props at 7:30 and fire two hours later. (Note the wisdom of saving fire-juggling for last.) Meanwhile, the true showstopper appears overhead at 8:45. Explains Marisa Worden, recreation marketing specialist for City of Tumwater, “I’d say something that really sets the Artesian Family Festival apart is the addition of the Kapowsin Air Sports Skydivers, diving right into the festival … The last of three skydivers unfurls the American flag as he or she descends. Kids attending the festival have a chance to enter our ‘Drop Zone’ contest as well. They fill out an entry form and whichever form the skydivers land closest to is a winner.” Happy Fourth, Thurston County!
What: Tumwater Artesian Family Festival
Where: Tumwater Valley Golf Course,
4611 Tumwater Valley Drive SE, Tumwater
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 4
How much: free admission, $10 event parking
Learn more: 360-754-4160 | City of Tumwater