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A History of Lakefair

A History of Lakefair

Olympia Lakefair is a beloved annual event that brings the Olympia community together for a week of festivities, entertainment, and celebration. With its roots dating back several decades, Lakefair has become a cherished tradition, attracting visitors from near and far. The festival has been providing local residents and visitors a chance to get together and celebrate our community for almost 70 years and has become a staple of the Olympia summer season.

The Early Years

The origins of Olympia Lakefair can be traced back to the year 1957 when a group of local business owners and community members sought to create a summer festival that would showcase the beauty and charm of the Olympia area. Inspired by the success of other regional fairs, they envisioned an event that would not only provide entertainment but also serve as a platform to promote local businesses, organizations, and talent.

Inaugural Event

On July 30, 1957, the first Olympia Lakefair took place at Sylvester Park in downtown Olympia. The event featured a parade, talent shows, art displays, and various attractions for children. It was an instant hit, attracting thousands of attendees and sparking a sense of community spirit that would define Lakefair for years to come.

Growing Popularity

As the years went by, Olympia Lakefair grew in popularity and expanded its offerings. The festival incorporated exciting new elements, including live music performances, sports competitions, and a wide array of food vendors offering delectable treats. The event gradually transformed into a multi-day affair, attracting visitors from neighboring towns and becoming a highlight of the summer season.

Carnival Rides and Midway

In the 1970s, Olympia Lakefair introduced carnival rides and a midway area, adding an extra layer of excitement to the festivities. The Ferris wheel, roller coasters, and various thrilling attractions became synonymous with Lakefair and added to the joy and anticipation of attendees, particularly children.

Parades and Fireworks

One of the most beloved traditions of Olympia Lakefair is its spectacular parades. Colorful floats, marching bands, community groups, and local organizations come together to showcase their creativity and community spirit. The parades have become a highlight of the event, drawing large crowds and spreading joy throughout the streets of Olympia.

The grand finale of Olympia Lakefair is undoubtedly the mesmerizing fireworks display. As the sun sets on the final evening of the festival, spectators gather along the waterfront to witness a breathtaking pyrotechnic show that lights up the night sky. The fireworks have become a symbol of celebration and unity, bringing people together as they marvel at the vibrant explosions above.

A Celebration of Community

Olympia Lakefair embodies the spirit of community engagement and collaboration. Local businesses, nonprofits, and volunteers all come together to make the event a resounding success year after year. It serves as a platform for local artists, musicians, and performers to showcase their talent, contributing to the vibrant cultural scene of the Olympia region.

Embracing Change

Throughout its history, Olympia Lakefair has adapted to changing times and evolving community needs. The event now includes more diverse programming, such as cultural performances, interactive workshops, and showcases of local artisans. These additions have helped to make Lakefair more inclusive and appealing to a broader audience.

Olympia Lakefair holds a special place in the hearts of the Olympia community. It is a celebration of history, tradition, and the vibrant spirit of a city. From its humble beginnings in 1957 to its current status as a beloved annual event, Lakefair has thrived by embracing the evolving needs and interests of the community. As we eagerly anticipate each new edition of Olympia Lakefair, let us remember the rich history behind this cherished tradition and the countless memories it continues to create for generations to come.

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