70th Annual Redmond Derby Days expands events, attracts ‘larger turnout’

The Redmond Derby Days started out as a bike-race fundraiser for the city of Redmond to raise money for holiday decorations. It has since evolved.

Brazilian Samba dancer Dora Newman teaches several girls the samba

The Redmond Derby Days Summer Festival started out as a bike-race fundraiser for the city of Redmond to raise money for holiday decorations.

It has since evolved.

Over the past 70 years, parades, live music, food and other activities have been added to the festival. New events added to this year’s Derby Days, which took place July 9-10 downtown near City Hall, included the REI Friday Night Poker Ride and the Impact Eco Fair.

Lisa Rhodes, the event and marketing manager for the city of Redmond, said the entry-proceeds of the Poker Ride went to Little Bit Riding Therapeutic Riding Center.

“The Ride had a great turnout. Close to 100 riders participated,” said Rhodes.

Saturday’s Kids Parade also had a great turnout.

“[The Derby Days Parade] is the longest and biggest kids parade in the USA. Over 1,000 kids participate each year,” Rhodes added.

Students from Eastside Catholic High School’s cheer team performed routines in the parade. Other participants in the parade included Emerald City Gymnasts and the Sumner High School marching band.

The Kids Parade and the Grand Parade, which followed after, were two of many events at the family-friendly festival. Arts and crafts booths were set up, along with play-stations.

“My daughter [Ria] enjoyed the arts and crafts station the most,” said Sheila Talwar, who came out with her mom and daughter to have fun. She has attended the festival in previous years, but Ria was too young to fully enjoy it, she said.

A new addition to the kids’ activities was a Chalk by Numbers booth, similar to painting by numbers. A picture was drawn on the sidewalk and children filled in the corresponding spaces with the color of chalk they had.

Local artist Brain Major created a chalk mural for children to color. This was Major’s first year holding a booth at Derby Days, but he has been doing chalk sidewalk murals for 10 years.

“I love doing [chalk murals] and I wanted to expand it to kids because it’s a medium they understand,” Major said.

Many kids also danced to the live musical performances on both days. There were a variety of performers, local and international artists, including the local Beatles tribute-band, The Nowhere Man.

The Bicycle Criterium, an integral event of the festival, had nine races total, varying in riding levels and time lengths from 35 to 75 minutes.

First-time criterium racer 26-year-old Jessica Culnane participated in the Category 4 race. Ranking 13 out of 27, Culnane said one reason she participated was because her friend, who also raced, urged her to join.

She said that it was odd to race for a short time but she learned new techniques like drafting.

Culnane encourages everyone to try racing in a criterium.

“Everyone seems intense, but if you’re comfortable on your bike, you should give it a try.”

Other than bike racing and free events, 70 vendors participated in the festival, offering services ranging from food and drink to insurance.

This was Tasnim Lykken’s first year as a vendor at the festival. Lykken, the general manager of Vitamin Life, said that the experience was great and that she didn’t know what to expect.

“I’ve always wanted to [have a booth], but I never had the time. I finally did it this year,” she said.

On the other side of the venue was the Impact Eco fair, which showcased Redmond businesses with green-friendly operations and eco-vendors.

“We had a much larger turnout this year and we’re thankful that the community supports the festival,” Rhodes said.

Sepideh Behzadpour is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.

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