Diverse and exciting events draw in new visitors to parks

From the first day of the calendar year on through the year, state parks provide the setting for music, educational and cultural inspiration. Planning is under way for 2017 events. Here’s a sampling of events visitors enjoyed in 2016:

First Day Hikes

The 2016 calendar started with a bigger turnout than ever for First Day Hikes. Some 1,300 people came out to 30 parks to join 39 different hikes. They logged about 3,000 miles, then shared a warm fire and cocoa with other like-minded people ringing in the new year with a healthy jaunt outdoors.

Sponsored by State Parks, with donations from Washington State Employees Credit Union (WSECU) and the Manufactured Home and Recreational Vehicle Association (MHRV).

Check out our Adventure Awaits blog coverage of the 2017 First Day Hikes events.

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Folk and Traditional Arts in Parks

Washington State Parks provided 20 different top-quality events in parks all over the state, celebrating the arts and cultural diversity. The fun included tribal celebrations such as Canoe Families and the Salish Sea Native American Cultural Celebration; cultural celebrations of Southeast Asia, Laos and Cambodia; and music of Japan, Latin America, Ireland and Eastern Europe, as well as a variety of styles, including Tex-Mex, Northwest roots, American old-time and a fun marching band. Events included fisher and cowboy poetry, too.

Performances presented by the Folk & Traditional Arts in the Parks Program are made possible through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Washington State Parks Foundation.

Watch for next year’s events on the State Parks calendar page.

The New Old Time Chautauqua (NOTC) rolled into 7 parks and nearby communities, to bring good old-fashioned fun to neighbors and visitors. Chautauqua was a 19th-century American tradition, revisited this summer with a modern troupe of talented folks. Artists and entertainers hit the road to perform and educate in rural communities, and the community’s own experts and stars shared their talents in return.

Another great year of Chautauqua is being planned for 2018.