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Originally published October 3, 2012 at 7:02 PM | Page modified October 9, 2012 at 9:03 AM

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Celebrate salmon — and hatchery's anniversary — at Issaquah fest

The annual Issaquah Salmon Days Festival, featuring arts and crafts vendors, food, music and activities, runs Oct. 6-7, 2012, in downtown Issaquah.

Seattle Times staff

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Salmon returning to spawn get a big welcome at the annual Issaquah Salmon Days Festival this weekend. Offering arts, crafts, food, entertainment and activities, this year's "Thrills & Gills" event kicks off Saturday with a grand parade along Gilman Boulevard featuring dozens of floats, marching bands, drill teams and mascots.

Issaquah Salmon Hatchery celebrates its 75th anniversary this year as well as the excitement of returning cohos and chinooks that were raised at the hatchery and released into Issaquah Creek as fingerlings. More than 300,000 people a year visit the hatchery, which is open daily with exhibits and displays on salmon and their habitat including a fiber-optic map tracing their journey, fish-ladder viewing windows and a native-plant garden and wetland. Along with tours and activities, the hatchery hosts a festival stage with bluegrass, folk and Americana music and the Kiwanis Salmon Barbecue this weekend.

Events and attractions throughout downtown Issaquah include hundreds of arts and crafts vendors, artist demonstrations, Puget Sound DockDogs competition and ethnic, Northwest and festival foods. Activities for kids include carnival games, pony and camel rides, inflatables, displays, vendors and a Tot Lot for the youngest festivalgoers. Entertainment includes tribute bands, cover tunes and an eclectic selection of local artists.

Salmon Days draws large crowds that can make driving and parking in the area difficult. For easy access, park in one of the off-site lots and take a shuttle bus to the festival.

The details

Issaquah Salmon Days Festival

Time: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Cost: free.

Location: Memorial Field and other locations throughout downtown Issaquah. Downtown streets including Front Street and Sunset Way are closed to vehicles.

Parade: 10 a.m. Saturday from Front Street North and Dogwood Street, then on Northwest Gilman Boulevard to 12th Avenue Northeast, Issaquah.

Getting there: From westbound Interstate 90, take Exit 15 (Highway 900/Newport Way), turn right onto Highway 900, then left onto Newport Way. From eastbound I-90, take Exit 17 (Front Street) and turn left on Front Street to downtown Issaquah. Pay parking lots available at several downtown Issaquah locations; free parking and $2/person (ages 12 and younger free) round-trip shuttle-bus service from Issaquah Transit Center, Newport Way and Highway 900; Costco corporate parking lot, Northwest Lake Drive off 11th Avenue Northwest, Issaquah; and Issaquah Highlands Park-and-Ride lot, Northeast Park Drive and Northeast High Street, Issaquah. Metro Transit information, 206-553-3000 or see tripplanner.kingcounty.gov/.

More information: 425-392-0661 or www.salmondays.org.

Madeline McKenzie: 206-464-8245 or mmckenzie@seattletimes.com

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