It’s Arts Fair Weekend

Its arts and crafts fair time in downtown Bellevue. This weekend celebrates the 71st annual BAM ARTSfair, the largest arts event in the Northwest. This much anticipated event, with outdoor exhibits and events throughout Bellevue Square and the art museum, includes art exhibits, music, KIDSfair, a Sound and Movement Stage, BAMboozle Stage, Chalk It Up, food trucks and more.

I love this time of year (second only to Snowflake Lane). Starting Thursday afternoon exhibitors will que up for check-in and start setting up their booths, the main level of Bellevue Square’s west parking garage will close to traffic and hotels and restaurants will be filled with artists, exhibitors and visitors. The fair literally takes over downtown for three days and no doubt moving around, either as a pedestrian or driver, will be challenging, and local restaurants and bars will be crowded  –  but its only for 3 days. This is the largest and most well regarded juried arts event in the Northwest and yes, it will be a bit of a hassle, but it’s an honor to have an event of this caliber in our city.

Don’t miss the the other arts events this weekend  –  Bellevue is also hosting the Bellevue Festival of the Arts, located across the street from Bellevue Square at the Cost Plus World Market shopping area and the 6th Street Fair with exhibits along the Pedestrian Corridor and 106th Avenue NE.

Downtown Park Celebration

Downtown Park fountain 6-2015Today is the grand opening celebration for Bellevue’s Downtown Park. Closed for the past year to complete a major renovation, the park will open just in time for the July 4th celebration and fireworks.

For nearly 30 years the popular park has existed with an incomplete circular promenade and canal. During the last year work has been completed to create a grand entryway, water feature and terraced seating at the south end of the park, enhanced lighting and landscaping throughout the park and a new Inspiration Playground designed for children of all ages and abilities which was made possible through a partnership with the Rotary Club of Bellevue.

Events include a ribbon-cutting with city officials, live music, including the Seahawks Blue Thunder band, food trucks and more. Free parking is available at Bellevue High School with shuttle service to and from the park.

Its going to be a beautiful afternoon. Get out and enjoy the park.

Bellevue Lake to Lake

 

Take a look  –  here’s the June edition of the City of Bellevue’s Lake-to-Lake video. There’s a great overview and update about the Meydenbauer Bay Park construction, Bellevue’s gold courses and more.

The Meydenbauer Bay Park, scheduled for completion fall 2018, is going to be a fabulous addition to the city’s access to the lake and the connection it will create to the Downtown Park and beyond.

What to Do in Bellevue this Weekend

The Memorial Day holiday weekend marks the beginning of summer and outdoor activities. After the brutal winter and spring weather, any opportunity for outdoor activity will be welcome. While many people have holiday plans to visit ocean or mountain destinations, don’t forget there’s a lot to do in town. If you’re looking for some local activities here’s a partial list of what’s available in Bellevue.

  • With nearly 100 parks and recreation facilities, Bellevue offers plenty of green space. The city maintains 96 miles of trails and six beachfront parks.
  • Bellevue Aquatic Center has a lap pool, warm water pool and party room
  • Robinswood Tennis center offers programs and lessons for all ages
  • Crossroads water spray playground is a favorite destination for the younger set
  • Explore the lake  –  the SE 40th Street boat launch provides boat access to Lake Washington
  • Tune up your golf game  –  the Crossroads 9 hole/par 3 chip and putt course is great for beginners and the Bellevue Golf Course offers a more challenging       18 hole/par 7 course plus a 46 stall driving range
  • Visit the Mercer Slough – take a guided nature walk or canoe tour
  • Bellevue Botanical Gardens has 17 acres of display gardens, natural wetlands and woodland trails
  • Bellevue Arts Museum – visiting and permanent exhibits cover a wide range of arts and crafts and design elements
  • Shop til you drop at Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square, Old Main Street or The Bravern. You’ll find world class shopping, dozens and dozens of fine and casual dining options offering indoor and patio opportunities for lunch, dinner sweets, snacks and libations, cinemas, comedy and bowling.

There’s no need to leave town to find something fun and interesting to do during the next 3 days – just make it a safe holiday weekend.

Bellevue Downtown Park Expansion

Downtown Park Intersection Closure

photo courtesy City of Bellevue

The “Complete the Circle” project at the Downtown Park is underway with work scheduled to be completed in time for this year’s Fourth of July celebration. The expansion includes completion of the last section of the circular canal and tree lined promenade, creating a new entry and water feature at the south end of the park, upgrading the playground to create a universally accessible Inspiration Playground, adding landscaping and terraced seating and enlarging the parking lot on 100th Avenue NE.

Construction of the park’s new south entry and pedestrian crossing caused the closure of the intersection at NE First Street and 102nd Avenue NE this week. The intersection is expected to open again mid-to-late April.

The Downtown Park is a 21 acre oasis in the heart of the city and the centerpiece of the Bellevue Parks System. There’s something for everyone . . . a half mile level tree-lined promenade, canal, waterfall and reflecting pond, a ten acre lawn area, playground, picnic areas and formal gardens . . . all framed by views of Bellevue’s skyline and Mt. Rainier. It will be exciting to see the improvements and have the park open again this summer.

Bellevue Television

Did you know the City of Bellevue/Bellevue Television produces a monthly video, Lake to Lake, featuring news, projects, activities and events in and around Bellevue. Current and past videos are posted on YouTube – definitely worth watching to find out what’s happening, or what’s about to happen, in your city. Open the links below to take a look at this year’s videos.

Lake to Lake/January

Lake to Lake – February

KidsQuest Childrens Museum Opening Next Week

kidsquest

photo courtesy KidsQuest

KidsQuest Children’s Museum is scheduled to open its doors January 31st in its new location in downtown Bellevue at the corner of NE 12th Street and 108th Avenue NE (the former Rosalie Whyle Museum of Doll Art).

If you never had an opportunity to visit the museum’s former Factoria location, this is a “must do” activity for parents and children. The museum’s indoor and outdoor hands-on interactive exhibits are designed for exploration and experimentation with a focus on science, technology, engineering, art and math. If you’ve driven by lately the big rig truck cab is visible through the windows on the north side of the building. There are also three classrooms and an art studio with a kiln.

The museum isn’t just for kids  –  KidsQuest will continue to offer their popular “Recess on the Rocks”  –  after hours access for adults to enjoy the exhibits and activities accompanied by food and cocktails. You must be 21+ to play. The museum is also available to rent for evening events and dinners.

Downtown is Bellevue’s fastest growing neighborhood with new apartments and condos scheduled to break ground this year. What’s happening – and what’s about to happen – in downtown Bellevue’s real estate entertainment scene? I live and work in downtown Bellevue – contact me to find out what’s planned for 2017.