Summer events lined up

June 5, 2014

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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Fireworks will again grace the Newcastle skies this Fourth of July, and this time for more than a few minutes.

Attendees at last year’s Independence Day celebration at Lake Boren Park will remember that technical difficulties shortened what was supposed to be a 12-minute fireworks display.

The Olympia-based company Entertainment Fireworks Inc. took full responsibility for the problems, City Manager Rob Wyman said last year. Newcastle will contract with the company again for its 2014 fireworks show, with assurances the issues won’t occur again.

“I have spoken with the owner multiple times on the phone and he has assured me 200 percent that we will not have the problem again,” said Wendy Kirchner, Newcastle’s community activities liaison. “They’ve got a very, very experienced pyrotechnician that’s going to be working with us.”

Residents can start filing into Lake Boren Park at 6 p.m. July 4. Vendors will serve hot dogs, kettle corn and more. Soul Siren, a band whose appearance is sponsored by The Golf Club at Newcastle, will take the park stage from 8-10 p.m.

The fireworks show starts shortly after it gets dark, or at about 10 p.m.

The city’s annual Independence Day celebration at Lake Boren Park is able to continue this year, thanks to title sponsor AvalonBay Communities Inc.

Fourth of July isn’t the only summer event on tap. The city’s all-volunteer Community Activities Commission is already well into planning for the Concerts in the Park series and Newcastle Days.

The city has scheduled four free summer concerts at Lake Boren Park this summer. The Fabulous Roof Shakers will perform July 23; Ian McFeron Band takes the stage July 30; Cherry Cherry plays Aug. 6; and Crumac will close out the series Aug. 13.

Cherry Cherry, a Neil Diamond tribute band, is particularly notable because the group is sponsoring its own performance, free of charge to the city. Its lead singer, Steve Kelly, is a Hazen High School graduate.

All concerts are from 7-8:30 p.m. Vendors are available onsite for attendees to enjoy.

The city will celebrate its 20th year of incorporation at Newcastle Days on Sept. 6. Planning is still underway, but one thing is for certain, the car show will return after getting scrapped in 2013.

Community Activities Commissioner Linda Newing is also spearheading an effort to add an in-park parade to this year’s festivities. She said she envisions inviting school drill teams, bands, Boy Scouts and members of the Newcastle Historical Society to officially open the festival with a loop around Lake Boren Park.

“It’s the city’s 20th anniversary, so we’re looking at adding some fun, special activities to commemorate that,” Kirchner said.

Newcastle resident Alan White’s group, White, will again be the headline band. White is also the drummer for the band Yes.

Singer Gil Réne will bring the city’s 20 years full-circle when he performs at Newcastle Days. Réne was there in 1994, playing at a special city ceremony in honor of Newcastle’s incorporation.

Popular pony rides, petting zoos and inflatable toys will also return. The Coal Creek Family YMCA will bring its special KidZone activities, including inflatable slides and an obstacle course. Clowns Unlimited, the company that provided a pay-for-play area last year, will have some sort of presence, though it’s unclear what exactly it will bring, Kirchner said.

Last year, the company brought a climbing wall, swing chairs and more. Kirchner and commissioners are hoping that with sponsorship money, kids won’t need to pay to use the equipment this year.

“We don’t want to do pay-for-play,” Kirchner said. “We don’t want to have people paying for things.”

For adults, the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce’s beer and wine garden is also expected to return.

The Community Activities Commission has worked with Kirchner to plan the city’s summer events. Kirchner joined the city staff just three months ago as the community activities liaison.

She will assist in the planning of city events and provide outreach to city volunteer organizations.

“I’m enjoying working on different aspects,” she said. “One day it’s events, the next day it’s parks and the next day it’s something else. You kind of have your hand in a lot of things, which is fun.”

Newcastle residents Newing, Jim Price, Russ Segner, Diane Lewis, Angela Ursino, Victoria Hupf and Zaquis Ross are members of the Community Activities Commission, an all-volunteer advisory board to the Newcastle City Council.

Email Kirchner at for more information about summer events and ways to get involved.

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