This is the time of year we’ve all been waiting for: summertime in the Yakima Valley.
After months of snow, miles of icy roads and the insistent chill of biting winds, we’re all ready to kick off those winter boots and step out for some thawing out.
And we’re ready for some fun — some music, maybe a little dancing, some great food and a few sips of our local wines, beers and spirits.
Good thing we live here, because there aren’t many days on the calendar for the next few months when something isn’t going on. Special events will be flowing at any winery, brewpub, comedy club or restaurant you want to name, along with an impressive lineup of concerts by national artists and a lot of longstanding annual entertainment events.
Farmers markets are starting this month. Sporting events, car shows, film nights, community festivals. In short, you have no excuse for being bored this summer.
We don’t have room to list anywhere near everything that’s going on, but here’s a quick sampling of some of our upcoming favorites:
SELAH COMMUNITY DAYS. Selah loves a parade, and most of the Yakima Valley seems to love this one. But the fun doesn’t stop with floats, marching bands, vintage cars and farm stuff. The city’s biggest event of the year will also have a carnival, live music and loads of food and drink. Oh, and Selah loves its fireworks, too — so be forewarned.
When: May 18-21
Where: Carlon Park, 300 E. Goodlander Road, Selah
GAP2GAP AND JUNIOR GAP2GAP. Yakima’s favorite relay race is back, with its four-legged competition that features running, mountain/road cycling and kayaking. Sign up for solo or team slots and take in a setting that’ll take your breath away almost as quickly as the racing will. The event is a major fundraiser for the Yakima Greenway.
When: June 3
Where: Yakima Greenway
Details and sign-ups: yakimagreenway.org/gap2gap
CHINOOK FEST. Take a drive up the country this summer and breathe in some … nature. Celebrating its 10th year, Chinook Fest’s 2023 lineup is packed, starting with American Aquarium, The Lil Smokies, Mike and the Moonpies and Jesse Daniel. Tickets are limited.
When: June 8-11
Where: Jim Sprick Community Park, 13680 State Route 410, Naches
Details and tickets: chinookfest.com
DOWNTOWN SUMMER NIGHTS. Free music from live bands, food booths and a beer garden spill into Yakima’s historic Front Street every Thursday evening starting in June. Pull up a lawn chair and enjoy a different set of bands from all over the region each week. The Downtown Association of Yakima’s behind this one.
When: June 15-Aug. 17
Where: North Front Street, between Yakima Avenue and Staff Sgt. Pendleton Way
FOURTH ANNUAL YAKIMA MILE. Thanks to this fundraiser for the YWCA, Yakima can lay claim to an enviable title: mome of the fastest mile in Washington state. And who knows? It might get even faster after this year. The one-mile race includes 11 heats with different start times. All skill levels are welcome.
When: July 1
Where: Downtown Yakima
Details and sign-ups: yakimamile.com
VINTIQUES CAR SHOW. Shine up that chrome and top off your tank — it’s time to show off your iron at Yakima’s biggest hot rod party. If you don’t want to burn any rubber yourself, just show up and indulge in some rubber-necking. More than 600 pre-1972 custom vehicles will compete at this year’s Vintiques NW Nationals.
When: Aug. 3-6
Where: State Fair Park, 1301 S. Fair Ave., Yakima
Details and sign-ups: vintiques.com
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