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Planning underway for Olympic reopening celebration
ARLINGTON A parade and dancing in the street were just some of the ideas thrown out as possibilities for the celebration of the reopening of North Olympic Avenue, at the first planning meeting coordinated by the city of Arlington, June 27.
Although its too early to set a definite date, the plan is to have the celebration as early in October as possible. Potential dates were narrowed down to the first Saturday, Oct. 6, or the last Saturday, Oct. 28, since the citys Harvest Festival in Smokey Point is set for Oct. 13 and the Arlington Arts Councils Fall Into Art Auction is set for Oct. 20.
Events are also set for Oct. 6 and 28, but the group determined that the celebration could compliment those annual events the October Hunt, which is always on the first Saturday of October, and Arlingtons Hometown Halloween, on the final Saturday of the month.
October 6 may be pushing it, said the citys capital projects manager, Paul Ellis.
The small group of community members who showed up included three downtown merchants Jeannie Watanabe, MaryRose Denton and Robin Miller, and interested individuals, Jennifer Shaw, from the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce, City Council woman Marilyn Oertle, and City Council candidates Barbara Tolbert and Virginia Hatch, who is also chair of the citys Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission. The meeting was conducted by assistant city administrator Kristin Banfield, with participation from other city employees, recreation coordinator Sarah Hegge, capital projects manager Paul Ellis and street project manager Terry Marsh.
Arlington has parades for everything. Well have to have a parade, Tolbert said.
Mayor Margaret [Larson] would definitely want a parade, Banfield said.
The group discussed whether the event should be a one-day affair or more than one day, and whether the street should be closed for the event.
Some merchants balk if we close the street. We should consider that, Hatch said.
The gazebo in Legion Park will be done and the parking lot, which is to be paved as part of the project, is also part of the project.
If we plant the grass seed in Legion Park we wont be able to walk on it, Ellis said.
A Taste of Arlington featuring downtown restaurants and music on the street throughout the day were other ideas tossed out.
At this point we are just brainstorming, Banfield said. We know there are a lot of ideas out there, based on the number of calls that Sarah [Hegge] has taken.
Denton suggested a Mardi Gras sort of festival event, with a modern dance performance by Harbinger Dance Company, of which she is a member, and she also volunteered her husbands blues band, The Gryffyn Band, for a dance.
Miller suggested a Poker Walk and other ideas included three-legged races and other games for kids. Another idea was to have each block plan its own little mini-event.
Well definitely have to have some speeches honoring Strider Construction and all the workers, Marsh said.
The street will be lined with original hand-painted banners being completed by members of the Arlington Arts Council and other community artists.
Well need all the schools marching bands and lots of balloons and streamers, the whole group seemed to agree.
Planning for the big day will be a topic on the Downtown Arlington Merchants evening meeting Wednesday, July 11, 5:30 p.m. at Little Italy, 318 N. Olympic, and the city has set another meeting for 5:30 p.m. July 18 in the Council Chambers, 238 N. Olympic Ave.
For information call City Hall at 360-435-3441.