For July 2019, we inspected the Greater Seattle on the Cheap event calendar and latest website posts for free events that might be especially worthy of your consideration. Since we publish hundreds of events every month, we like to highlight some of the best, unique, and free community events around the region. We try to whittle it to 10 events, but often overshoot that mark. Sometimes there’s just too much free fun!
In July, there are a crazy number of fun, free things to do. Every weekend you have a choice of festivals: art festivals, food festivals, community festivals, street fairs, farm fairs, and car shows…plus (mostly) free outdoor summer movies, free summer concerts, free sprayparks and wading pools, free summmer dance lessons outdoors, free performances at Neptune in Seattle, and free Shakespeare in the park…to name a few. We think we’ve succeeded in whittling down the choices to the best 10, which in this case worked out to be 11. But who is counting.
July 4, 2019. Where to see 4th of July fireworks in the Puget Sound region. Our list includes the six major shows in the region: Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Bellevue, Kirkland, and JBLM, plus 20 other smaller fireworks shows in communities throughout the region. Many fireworks events include a whole day of free, family fun.
July 5-6,2019. Free stargazing parties around the Sound. Seattle Astronomical Society (SAS) organizes monthly star parties in area parks. These outdoor stargazing events are free, family-friendly, and open to the public. A typical star party gathering features observing through two or more different types of telescopes provided by SAS members, along with the opportunity to ask questions, discuss the observation process, and learn about astronomical topics. Weather cancels the event; last minute updates are available on their website.
July 12-14, 2019. Seafood Festival in Ballard draws over 75,000 people. You can enjoy food vendors, local music, arts and crafts, family entertainment, a beer garden, competitions, oceans of seafood and loads of fun all day.
July 13, 2019. Seafair Milk Carton Derby race on Green Lake in Seattle. A quirky celebration of creativity and boatmanship features nearly 100 colorful milk carton boats of all shapes and design. Children, adults, families and businesses build milk carton watercraft and compete on the waters of Green Lake for prizes and bragging rights. You don’t have to be a sailor to have fun at this event! Participants and spectators can visit interactive exhibit booths, satisfy hunger with food vendors, and meet Seafair personalities. Free to watch. Register and pay the fee to compete.
July 13-14, 2019. Free Derby Days festival in Redmond. The world’s longest-running bike criterium race, a carnival, parades, arts, music, and great food with a unique Redmond twist. Enjoy free contests, games, virtual reality, a gaming arcade, battle of the bands, an action-packed kids zone and so much more.
July 14, 2019. Free art & music festival in Tacoma. “Art on the Avenue” is an annual music and art festival hosted by the 6th Ave Business District, Tacoma WA’s Most Eclectic District, along 6th Avenue from State St. to Alder. In its 18th year and attracting thousands of patrons, it is Tacoma’s largest arts-based yearly event.
July 19-21, 2019. Getaway: Free Lavender Festival in Sequim (66 mi. NW)
July 19-21, 2019. Festival season really heats up in mid-July. The 3rd weekend of July, you could try any (or several) of these 3-day festivals in far flung corners of the region. All have free admission along with free and paid activities. We’ve arranged them roughly north to south:
- Kla Ha Ya Days festival in Snohomish. This festival has been celebrated in the community for over 100 years. There’s a little something for everyone from babies to seniors: a carnival, car show, parade, concerts, beer gardens, and market.
- Farm and art festival in Sammamish Valley. Visit farms and businesses to enjoy food and farm demonstrations, take a class, chat with a farmer, enjoy farm inspired art, learn about local farms, sample freshly pressed apple cider, taste farm-fresh food and local wine, dig in some soil and take a walk in a peaceful farm field. Each location has its own schedule of events. Free and paid activities.
- Seafair Indian Days Pow Wow in Seattle. Held annually on the third weekend in July at the Powwow Grounds adjacent to the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center within Discovery Park on Magnolia Bluff in Seattle. The 3-day powwow showcases traditional Indian cooking, jewelry-making, music, and especially dancing. Throughout the day, tribes from the United States and Canada dance in full tribal regalia and eagle-feather head-dresses. Admission: Friday FREE, Saturday-Sunday $5 (age 12+).
- Strawberry festival on Vashon Island includes parades, a Sunday car show, plus food, alternative carnival, local artists, vendor booths, live music, beer garden, children’s activities and more.
- Jubilee Days festival in south Seattle. Founded in 1923, this community celebration in White Center is one of the longest running Seafair events in the Northwest, attended by thousands of friends, neighbors, and visitors each year. Activities include a street fair, carnival, main stage, car show, parade, and more.
- Waterland festival & parade in Des Moines. Free activities include wooden boats in the marina, live music, and Sunday car show plus food trucks, beer/wine garden, and other paid activities, and paid parking in the marina.
July 20-21, 2019. Bon Odori Festival in Seattle. A traditional summer festival to honor ancestors who have passed on, remember and appreciate all they have done for us, and celebrate their ongoing presence in the lives we enjoy today. Also known as Obon, the festival is an official Seafair event held at the Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple. The main event is traditional music and dancing in the street in a giant oval, plus Japanese food booths and refreshment, taiko and martial arts performances, and craft exhibits and demonstrations. Many festival goers dress in Japanese kimono, yukata, or happi coats.
July 21, 2019. Free Chinatown-International District Seafair parade in Seattle. The family-friendly event features lion and dragon dances, the Seattle Chinese Girls Drill Team, and many more local community groups along S King and S Weller Streets.
July 26-28, 2019. Free BAM arts fair in Bellevue. Every year during last weekend of July, the immense, fun, and fascinating Bellevue Art Festival takes place in and around Bellevue Square. Bring the entire family and plan for a weekend of fun in the heart of downtown Bellevue. It’s actually 2-fairs-in-1: BAM ARTSfair and Bellevue 6th Street Fair.
July 27, 2019. Silvana Fair in Snohomish County. A small, one-day fair that draws crowds of a few hundred who come to enjoy the 4-H offerings. The primary focus is on helping kids prepare for larger fairs. Live music and a greased pole contest are fun activities during the day. Parking and admission are free. If you like farm fairs, check out our list of State and County Fairs in Washington State. The following community farm fairs might make a great getaway in July for some old-fashioned fun centered around animals and farming activities:
- July 11-13, 2019. Getaway: Kalama Fair near Longview, WA (135 mi. S)
- July 18-20, 2019. Getaway: West Valley Fair in Yakima County (150 mi. SE)
- July 31 – August 4, 2019. Getaway: Thurston County Fair in Lacey (60 mi. S)
July 27, 2019. Seafair Torchlight Parade & FanFest in Seattle. Seattle’s jewel for over 60 years, the Seafair Torchlight Parade is the Northwest’s largest nighttime parade (100+ units), stretching two-and-a-half miles through the Emerald City. There’s also a pre-parade FanFest at Seattle Center beginning at noon, where you can see parade units and floats lining up, plus exhibit booths and food vendors. It’s your chance to get up close and personal to parade activity.
July 27-28, 2019. Best of south Sound Ethnic Fest in Tacoma. Voted the best festival of the South Sound. Since 1986 Ethnic Fest has grown to become the largest celebration of culture and community in Tacoma. Enjoy two full days of music, dance, art, and foods from around the world.
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