Derby Days set for July 11-12

A youngster goes down an inflatable slide in the Kids Zone at last year
A youngster goes down an inflatable slide in the Kids Zone at last year's Derby Days.
— image credit: Samantha Pak, Redmond Reporter

While the first official day of summer is June 21, it’s a common notion in the Pacific Northwest that it doesn’t really start until Independence Day.

3The season is typically marked with backyard barbecues, family vacations and fun in the sun. In Redmond, summer is also marked with the annual Redmond Derby Days festival, which is July 11-12.

Now in its 74th year, the annual event will have something for everyone — young and old — with new activities for people to enjoy, the return of activities that haven’t been part of Derby Days for several years and the festival staples people have come to know and love.

One of the new highlights attendees should be on the lookout for will be during the Grand Parade.

Lisa Rhodes, events and marketing administrator for the City of Redmond, said Redmond’s artist in residence, Lucia Neare, will have a large performing installation in the parade for everyone to enjoy.

“She’s doing a special presentation in the Grand Parade,” Rhodes said.

With about 100 people, a few Model T cars and an interactive element that will get the crowd involved, she said Neare’s will be the largest entry they have ever had in the Grand Parade. Rhodes added that the Golden Eggs from Neare’s “Recipe for Love” performance earlier in this month at City Hall will make a reappearance, as well.

Rhodes said Neare’s parade performance is one of the things she is especially looking forward to this year.

Both the Grand Parade and Kids Parade routes will begin at the Old Redmond Post Office parking lot and head west on Northeast 85th Street and then left on 158th Avenue Northeast. Registration for the Kids Parade begins at 8:30 a.m. and the parade begins at 10 a.m., followed immediately by the Grand Parade.

This year’s Grand Parade grand marshal will be KOMO 4 weather anchor Shannon O’Donnell. O’Donnell joined the KOMO 4 Forecast Team about five years ago as a weekend weather anchor and is a graduate of Redmond High School and the University of Washington.

Another activity Rhodes is looking forward to seeing is the return of canoe rides in the slough, which will begin at Luke McRedmond Landing, head north along the Sammamish River and end at Northeast 90th Street. She said people will be able to sign up for these free 10-person rides at City Hall.

“I’m excited to have that and offer that,” Rhodes said about the canoe rides’ return.

As usual, Derby Days will feature a free Kids Zone with bounce houses, a trampoline, sandbox, sprinkler park and more. Rhodes said this year’s Kids Zone will be in the Redmond Library parking lot and bigger than previous years.

Another Derby Days staple is the Criterium, the nation’s longest running bicycle race. The race begins at 1:15 p.m., with the last race at 7 p.m. Rhodes said there has been an increase in those who wish to watch the race for longer periods of time. So, to accommodate this, there will be grandstand seating at the race route’s Corner 1 at Northeast 85th Street and 158th Avenue Northeast by City Hall.

Other Derby Days highlights attendees can look forward to next week include musical performances, which begin at 5 p.m. Friday evening and will run through the weekend. There will also be the annual Redmond Fire Department Pancake Breakfast at Station 11 (8450 161st Ave. N.E.) and Derby Dash 5K run/walk Saturday morning at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., respectively. The weekend will come to a close with the R-TRIP-sponsored Fireworks Finale at 10 p.m. Saturday.

Parking is available at the City Hall parking garage, Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center and Redmond Town Center. A free shuttle runs on Saturday only between parking sites from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

For more information about Derby Days, visit

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