Road Trip: Issaquah Salmon Days Festival

Have you checked out the local streams lately?  It’s that time a year again when the persistent and determined salmon return to their birthplace to complete their life cycle.  What a beautiful story and inspiraing demonstration of perserverance.  A salmon, after being at sea, will find the same river it once left behind.  It will swim upstream, fight against the current, fight against it own decaying body to achieve its purpose to spawn.  Unjustly, the salmon quietly dies before its offspring start their own journey.  Despite all the obsticals, these fish can swim hundreds of miles upstream and some swim up thousands of feet in elevation to return to their birthplace.Salmon Hatchery

In honor of the annual return of the salmon, Issaquah, Washington has celebrated with Salmon Days Festival since 1970.  This year Issaquah Salmon Days will be celebrated on October 5-6, 2013.  This fantastic and FREE festival attracts over 180,000 visitors.  We will return again to this festival for our 9th time and I wanted to share a few things I have learned over the years.

  1. Getting there early is key.  The festival starts at 10am, but we are usually parked and starting to walk over at 9am.
  2. We skip the parade and head straight for the huge kid area behind the Issaquah Police Station.  Shhhhhh – if you get there this early, there are NO LINES!
  3. The main food area is adjacent to the Field of Fun for the kids.  After we have spent plenty of time letting the kids roll around in inflatable hamster balls, ride the ponies, and countless other activities, we head over to the food.  There are plenty of options and something for everyone.  Of course eat some salmon!!  The Kiwanis BBQ their salmon behind the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.
  4. Now, the kids are happy and its our turn to walk up and down the streets and check SalmonDaysMap1out the hundreds of vendors and their products.  And – I have to have a funnel cake 🙂
  5. Toward the end of the day and on our way out, as a reward, we stop back by the Field of Fun and let the kids do a few last activities.
  6. Parking is challenging, unless you get there early.  Try to ride a shuttle offered in surrounding neighborhoods, like Issaquah Highlands. (Photo credit:
  7. Of course you want to see the Salmon right?  Wrong.  If I can offer anyone any advice, it is to see the salmon at the hatchery during the week or weeks before the festival.  It is very crowded at the hatchery during the festival.  We went yesterday to see the salmon and we leisurely strolled the hatchery and saw thousands of fish.

Where to park your RV:

Thanks for reading and please comment if you have any tips I missed about the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival.

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