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Kirkland's Summerfest attracts hundreds amid pandemic uncertainty

The ninth annual outdoor arts and music festival returns this weekend after a 2020 cancellation due to the pandemic.

KIRKLAND, Wash. — One of Kirkland's biggest outdoor events is making a comeback this weekend after a pandemic hiatus in 2020.

The Kirkland Summerfest welcomed hundreds of visitors to Marina Park by Lake Washington on Friday for the start of the three-day arts and music festival.

"People are thrilled to be able to come back and feel normal again," said Rob Butcher, the festival's creative director.

It's the festival's ninth year and among the first larger-scale events in Kirkland that was on the verge of being canceled again, until Gov. Jay Inslee lifted restrictions.

"A lot of event companies were devastated because they couldn't do business. We were fortunate enough to keep chugging away and planning for this year," Butcher said.

Despite some uncertainty over rising COVID-19 cases in Washington, many visitors at the festival had no qualms over enjoying the sun, the music, the cocktails and beer, and outdoor activities without a mask.

The festival is following current COVID-19 safety guidelines laid out by the state, which does not require masks in outdoor settings. Currently, masks are recommended, but not required or enforced, in indoor public settings.

Many enjoyed the warm waters of Lake Washington on paddle boards, tried a beer or two from several vendors featuring local brews, or shopped for art pieces.

"We all need to have our community time for sure," said Kyle Jordan.

Events for Saturday and Sunday's festival include kid-friendly activities and an appearance by Miss Washington USA and Miss Washington Teen USA at noon on Saturday. 

For ticket information visit https://kirklandsummerfest.com