By JONAH BARRETT

Driving to a dark park to spend 30 minutes watching Fourth of July fireworks from the dewy grass is so 2018. Also, there are bugs — gross. Why not turn the outing into an entire festival?

For 19 years, the Tumwater Downtown Association has put on the Artesian Festival at Tumwater Valley Golf Club, and the tradition continues this Independence Day.

It wasn’t always like this in Thurston County. In 2001, there were no public fireworks displays in the county on the Fourth. The Tumwater Downtown Association set a new goal to fix that.

“This group of people wanted to improve life in Tumwater,” says recreation marketing specialist Marisa Worden, “so they began raising funds for a community event.”

With donated funds, support from other community members and a partnership with Tumwater’s parks and recreation department, a decision was reached to create a Fourth of July family festival and fireworks display at the city’s golf course.

Over the years, that festival grew from a few thousand attendees to around 20,000, with food vendors, kids’ activities, musical accompaniment and of course, a fantastic fireworks show, put on by Alpha Pyrotechnics.

When asked her favorite part of the festival, Worden replies, “A big highlight is always the Kapowsin skydivers who drop in to the festival at 8:30 p.m.”

As for the fireworks, expect spectacle. “We can easily say,” adds Worden, “this year’s show is the biggest we’ve ever done and probably the biggest that’s ever been shot in Thurston County.”

WHAT

Artesian Family Festival & Thunder Valley Fireworks Show

WHERE

Tumwater Valley Golf Club,

4611 Tumwater Valley Dr. SE, Tumwater

WHEN

6 p.m. Thursday, July 4

HOW MUCH

Free

LEARN MORE

ci.tumwter.wa.us/departments/parks-recreation/

360-754-4160