Some Serious Fun Going On As The City Of Des Moines Turns 50 This Weekend!

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We already told you about our neighbor to the north, White Center, and its “Jubilee Days” street party this coming weekend, and now we’d like to tell you about another neighbor’s festivities – that ‘hood to the south, Des Moines, is celebrating its 50th Birthday this weekend with a HUGE bash including wooden boats, strong man/woman competition, farmers market, parades, a sock hop and much more!

The series of family-friendly events begins Friday night, July 17th at 5pm, and continues all day Saturday, July 18th, and will include:

  • A Farmers Market from 10am – 2pm (at the South Marina Park – drop by and see us at our sister site The Waterland Blog’s booth)
  • A visit from the tall ships Merrie Ellen and W. N. Ragland
  • A Wooden Boat exhibit
  • Strong Man/Woman competition
  • Classic Car show
  • Children’s Fun Zone
  • Sock Hop
  • Children’s Parade (5:30pm)
  • Seafair-Sanctioned Parade featuring the well-known Seafair Pirates and The Waterland Blog

Des Moines has been a regional destination for the Puget Sound region since 1904 when Redondo Beach was the Northwest’s premier resort, drawing thousands visitors annually. Today, that beach town feeling still exists. Visitors can smell the sea air, dip their toes in the water, stroll along the boardwalk and enjoy the area’s charming shops and restaurants. To celebrate its 50-year heritage (Des Moines officially became a city on June 17, 1959), the city is hosting a series of events throughout the summer, including the Seafair festivities, to capture the feeling of the nostalgic getaway.

Need more evidence of the city’s fun and quirky personality? Look no further than this year’s strongman competition in which feats of strength will be demonstrated by both men and women via a tire flip (100 feet total distance), axle clean and press, farmer’s walk (max weight carried for 200 feet) and keg loading (minimum 4-5 kegs loaded on to a 50 inch platform within 60 seconds). Last year, 40 competitors competed in five events and anticipation is high for this year’s competition.

Visitors will also be treated to sailboat races, a 50th birthday fun run, and performances from the Wenatchee Youth Circus – considered to be one of the top four non-professional groups in the country. Most events will be free, including the classic car and wooden boat show, Seafair parade, and the strongman competition. Minimal costs are associated with other events, such as tours of the Merrie Ellen and W. N. Ragland ($5) and tours of a new 68 foot Ocean Alexander yacht.

Photo by Carmen Scott

Festivities include:


  • Wenatchee Youth Circus (Des Moines Field House; adults: $7, kids: $5; 5 pm)
  • Dinner & Tour of Tall Ship Merrie Ellen (Des Moines Marina; adults: $20; 7 pm)


  • Strongman Competition (South Marina; Free; 10 am-3 pm)
  • Waterfront Farmers Market (South Marina; Free; 10 am-4 pm – look for The Waterland Blog’s booth!)
  • Classic Car & Wooden Boat Show (North Marina; Free; 10 am-4 pm)
  • Children’s Crafts & Activity Station (South Marina; Free; 10 am-4 pm)
  • Clowns Unlimited Fun Zone (North Marina; $10 all day; 10 am-6 pm)
  • Food, Community Vendors & Beer Garden (North Marina; 10 am-9 pm)
  • Tours aboard the Tall Ships Merrie Ellen and W.N. Ragland (North Marina; $5 each; 10 am-4 pm)
  • Wenatchee Youth Circus (Des Moines Elementary; adults: $7, kids: $5;10:30 am and 2 pm)
  • Carfitti Teen Car Painting & Car Raffle (North Marina; 11 am-3 pm)
  • Offshore Boat Races (North Marina; Free; Noon)
  • Sailboat Races (North Marina; Free; 2 pm)
  • 50th Birthday Fun Run & Walk (Run: Highline Community College, Walk: Marine View Dr. S; starts at 4:30 pm, participants check in at 2:30 pm)
  • 50th Birthday Seafair Parade (Marine View Dr. S; Free; kid’s parade: 5:30 pm, main parade: 6 pm)
  • Entertainment Stage featuring Pony-Boy All Star Band and Danny Vernon’s Illusion of Elvis (North Marina; performances at 11 am and 1 pm)
  • Sock Hop Dance (North Marina; Free; 7:30-10:30 pm)
  • 10th Annual Federal Way Symphony Garden Tour featuring speaker Carolyn Jones (Local Gardens and Des Moines Beach Park; tickets at; lectures at 11 am and 2:30 pm)

Many more community events are scheduled throughout the summer such as a Jazz & Blues Series (7/22-8/19), and the Jobies Community Carnival (8/15).

For more information, call (206) 870-6527 or visit

The Des Moines Rotary Club will also be holding a very unique fundraiser on Saturday at 1pm at Des Moines Beach Park – “Pop and Drop” where 1,000 numbered ping pong balls will be dropped, with the ball landing closest to the target winning its sponsor $500!

Here are the details:

WHAT: Des Moines Rotary Club’s “Pop and Drop” fundraiser

WHEN: Saturday, July 18th at 1pm

WHERE: Des Moines Beach Park (look for the very high fire department ladder)

COST: Buy your $5.00 Raffle Ticket from any Rotarian or at CorkyCellars.

INFO: Win $500! 1,000 Balls will Drop from the Sky; The Ball that lands closest to the Target wins!

For more information call 206-824-9462 or go to

You do not need to be present to win.

All proceeds support Rotary Club of Des Moines education, parks & recreation, social services and international projects.

For more information on what’s happening in Des Moines, please visit our sister site The Waterland Blog.

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