No time like the present: Magnolia Summer Festival is here

It starts off with a youth talent show at noon on Friday and winds down with a cinema under the stars Saturday night.

The Magnolia Summer Festival & Art Show is the stuff summer memories are made of.

This year's festival takes place Friday, Aug. 3 and Saturday, Aug. 4, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., at Magnolia Playfield behind Magnolia Village.

Village merchants will kick off the proceedings a day early with a sidewalk sale starting Thursday, Aug. 2.

The family oriented event, sponsored by the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce, prides itself on its appeal across generational lines.

Nancy Callaghan Cleland works as a volunteer on the festival committee. She said her 20-year-old grandnephew from Tacoma attended last year with some friends and they thought it was "cool."

"And it has the biggest kid's parade in the city," she added.

This year's festival features traditional festival favorites along with some new wrinkles.

The music lineup can best be described as eclectic.

Friday's Youth Talent Show runs from noon-2 p.m. Tamara Lewis, an emerging singer-songwriter, takes the stage at 3:30 p.m. Her music has been described as "pure, alluring and passionate."

The Po' Boys, offering up rock 'n' roll, folk, blues and soul, follow at 4:45 p.m. At 6 p.m. GoldbaR, featuring Magnolia's own Rick Egan, will let loose their folky, upbeat originals.

At 7 p.m. it's The Memphis Radio Kings with Magnolia resident Tony Leamer on drums. The Kings, by their own admission, are "wine and bullets ... melody, hooks, rhythm and enthusiasm, aggression and restraint."

Soul Purpose, an 11-piece soul-funk-rock band, starts at 8 p.m. and closes out the Friday music lineup.

Saturday's schedule is just as varied.

Sunshine from Polynesia opens the day at 11:30 a.m. Headed by Lita Hoke, a Magnolia resident who has taught Polynesian dance for more than 20 years, Sunshine from Polynesia performs both traditional and modern dances of Hawaii, Tahiti and New Zealand. At 12:45 p.m. the Quintessence Brass Ensemble will play numbers ranging from New Orleans style jazz, Sousa marches and Broadway tunes.

The music then takes a break for the art show awards.

At 2:30 p.m. Andrew Parker Quintet performs jazz standards and originals, followed by Spare Rib & The Bluegrass Sauce at 3:45, who promise to get some feet stompin'. Rejoice takes the stage at 4:45 p.m. She plays acoustic guitar as well as piano, bass, mandolin and djembe. At 5:45, it's Jon Markel 3 plus 1 with their Nu-Jazz/Funk sound. The Billy Shew Band plays their modern blues groove at 6:45 p.m. Thorton Creek closes the night starting at 8 p.m. "Thorton Creek oozes out of the cracks between Neil Young, John Hiatt, Wilco and John Prine," according to one commentator in-the-know.

The art show, one of the festival's main attractions, will feature an outdoor display of art for viewing and sale. Festival-goers are encouraged to vote for the People's Choice Award.

As for parades:

The Pet Parade takes place Saturday, Aug. 4, starting at 10:30 a.m. Pet owners can sign up their pets until Friday, 6 p.m., at PJ's Paws and Claws, 3320 W. McGraw St, #3. Costumes, for pets or humans, are not required, though there is a prize for Best Look Alike Pet & Person.

The Kid's Parade starts at the same time - 10:30 Saturday morning - and at the same place: West Raye and 34th Avenue West. The route heads south on 34th Avenue West to McGraw, where it turns east to 32nd Avenue West and up to Pop Mounger Pool.

The Summerfest Seafair Parade follows at 11 a.m. The Seafair Pirates will be there, but they promise to observe a "No Blast Zone" along the parade route. Seafair's King Neptune will also make an appearance.

Darrell Drew is in his 34th year and Sally Bostwick in her second year in organizing the parade, with the Queen Anne-Magnolia Lions Club helping out.

There are food booths and more than 20 arts and crafts vendors, a beer-and-wine garden, as well as a big Kids Entertainment Tent with a packed schedule that includes Alleyoop's Musical Games and, new this year, a giant turtle tent with Native American storytelling. Roving reptiles, a festival favorite for many, will also attend.

And what would the festival be without the annual Magnolia Baby Race?

Sponsored by Magnolia Garden Center, the race happens in the parking lot at the corner of West Smith Street and 32nd Avenue right after the Seafair parade ends. To enter just show up.

Four babies race at any one time.

"It looks a bit like Churchill Downs," comments Margaret Flaherty of Magnolia Garden Center.

The outdoor cinema closes out the festival at 9 p.m. on Saturday. The movie, "The Great Outdoors," starring Dan Aykroyd and John Candy, will be shown against the west wall of the Magnolia Community Center. Bring a blanket, chairs and a picnic.

For a complete list of festival events, check last week's Queen Anne or Magnolia News - a program was enclosed; or visit the Magnolia Chamber of Commerce booth on the playfield and ask for a program.

The weekend weather gods appear agreeable: The forecast is for clear, moderately warm days.

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