MYNORTHWEST NEWS

After ‘grueling’ last year, Seattle to celebrate reopening with series of summer events

Jun 30, 2021, 6:42 AM

Seattle reopening...

Seattle's Pike Place Market. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

(AP Photo/John Froschauer)

With Washington now fully reopened, Seattle will soon be hosting a series of “Welcome Back Weeks” to get people vaccinated, help local businesses, and provide information on what the city’s own reopening process looks like.

What’s allowed now that Washington has reopened

The first event will be held at Hing Hay Park in the International District on July 17 and 18, billed as “a celebration of local food and culture,” and featuring live music, cultural performances, and martial arts demonstrations.

“As a city, it’s time to turn our collective attention to recovery, and ensure we build our neighborhoods back better, more just, and more equitable,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a news release. “As part of this effort, the City and our partners are ready to welcome you back downtown, and to welcome back our artists, small businesses, and our ability to be together.”

During that first week of “welcome back” festivities, the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) will also be setting up booths across the downtown area, and will continue to host a series of other events, happy hours, urban hikes, and more throughout the summer.

The second Welcome Back Week event will be an outdoor concert in Occidental Square on Saturday, July 24, running from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Performers will include Shaina Shepherd, Shenandoah Davis, and the Black Tones.

The third and final event will celebrate “Halloween in July” on Sunday, July 25 at Westlake Park, kicking off at 12 p.m. Families and children are encouraged to don costumes to trick-or-treat at businesses and vendors in the area, culminating in a costume contest and a live concert at 7 p.m.

All three events will also feature pop-ups run by the Seattle Fire Department, offering both the Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccines.

Still ‘critical’ work left to do with Washington now fully reopened

This comes amid larger plans to revitalize Seattle’s downtown area, with millions of dollars invested in efforts to aid local businesses and workers in the reopening process.

Over the course of the pandemic, the DSA estimates that over 450 “street-level business locations have permanently closed,” while average daily foot traffic has dipped from roughly 450,000 people in January of 2020 to 300,000 in June of 2021. The early days of the pandemic saw that number plummet all the way down to 130,000 daily visitors.

The hope with the city’s newly-announced Welcome Back Weeks is that the city’s reopening will help the recovery process begin in earnest.

“Our arts & cultural institutions, restaurants and retailers have had a grueling 16 months,” DSA President Jon Scholes said. “We need to harness the momentum of our state reopening and pull these small businesses through to recovery.”

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