3 Free Seattle Summer Festivals

As school quickly comes to a close and summer nears, families begin to look for ways to occupy the kids. With summer so short and precious in the beautiful and rainy city of Seattle, the proliferation of wonderful summer festivals is to be expected. But for a family on a budget, which festivals are worth attending and also affordable? Three festivals every local family should see include Family 4th (of July) at Lake Union, the Chinatown-International District Dragon Fest (formerly Summer Festival), and the Bite of Seattle Festival.

Known as one of the best fireworks shows in the nation and funded by the community, the Family 4th begins at noon on Independence Day at Lake Union with family activities and entertainment such as kite flying, games, and face painting. The park allows families to bring their own food, with the exception of alcoholic beverages. Lake Union also has food vendors and a beer garden for those families that would rather not carry a cooler along. Admission is free but the event does have a security check prior to park entrance. Fireworks begin later in the evening and are wonderfully and carefully synchronized with patriotic music, leaving the whole family with an experience to remember.

The Chinatown-International District Dragon Fest of 2011 comes to Seattle on Saturday, July 9, between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday July 10th, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. With programs, food, and entertainment, the festival is a great family-friendly way to spend a day on the town. Located in Hing Hay Park (S. King St. and Maynard Ave. S.) and surrounding streets, the event sports family-friendly entertainment ranging from dragon dances, arts and crafts, and booths from community organizations to drumming, drill teams, entertainment, and, of course, food. Admission is, naturally, free.

Between July 15-17, the 30thBite of Seattle Festival takes place in the Seattle Center between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Sunday. Take the time to sample many different Seattle restaurant offerings. The festival itself is free, and, at the request of the public, over 50 different restaurant samplings and over 30 food product companies are offering smaller food portions at a lower price so families can try more. With a comedy club, a kid’s stage, music, and entertaining acts, the event also provides a way to burn off those calories and allow the kids to find an outlet for their energy.