Des Moines, Wash. (July 9, 2009) – The sun is shining and summer has officially arrived in the Northwest. To celebrate the season and its 50th birthday, the City of Des Moines is hosting a series of family-friendly events on Saturday, July 18 – including a visit from the tall ships Merrie Ellen and W. N. Ragland, a wooden boat exhibit, strong man competition, classic car show, children’s fun zone, sock hop and a Seafair parade featuring the well-known pirates. For more information, call (206) 870-6527 or visit www.desmoines50th.com.

Des Moines has been a regional destination for the Puget Sound region since 1904 when Redondo Beach was the Northwest’s premier resort, drawing thousands visitors annually. Today, that beach town feeling still exists. Visitors can smell the sea air, dip their toes in the water, stroll along the boardwalk and enjoy the area’s charming shops and restaurants. To celebrate its 50 year heritage (Des Moines officially became a city on June 17, 1959), the city is hosting a series of events throughout the summer, including the Seafair festivities, to capture the feeling of the nostalgic getaway.

Need more evidence of the city’s fun and quirky personality? Look no further than this year’s strongman competition in which feats of strength will be demonstrated by both men and women via a tire flip (100 feet total distance), axle clean and press, farmer’s walk (max weight carried for 200 feet) and keg loading (minimum 4-5 kegs loaded on to a 50 inch platform within 60 seconds). Last year, 40 competitors competed in five events and anticipation is high for this year’s competition.

Visitors will also be treated to sailboat races, a 50th birthday fun run, and performances from the Wenatchee Youth Circus – considered to be one of the top four non-professional groups in the country. Most events will be free, including the classic car and wooden boat show, Seafair parade, and the strongman competition. Minimal costs are associated with other events, such as tours of the Merrie Ellen and W. N. Ragland ($5) and tours of a new 68 foot Ocean Alexander yacht.

Festivities include:

Friday, July 17:

• Wenatchee Youth Circus (Des Moines Field House; adults: $7, kids: $5; 5 pm)

• Dinner & Tour of Tall Ship Merrie Ellen (Des Moines Marina; adults: $20; 7 pm)

Saturday, July 18:

• Strongman Competition (South Marina; Free; 10 am-3 pm)

• Waterfront Farmers Market (South Marina; Free; 10 am-4 pm)

• Classic Car & Wooden Boat Show (North Marina; Free; 10 am-4 pm)

• Children’s Crafts & Activity Station (South Marina; Free; 10 am-4 pm)

• Clowns Unlimited Fun Zone (North Marina; $10 all day; 10 am-6 pm)

• Food, Community Vendors & Beer Garden (North Marina; 10 am-9 pm)

• Tours aboard the Tall Ships Merrie Ellen and W.N. Ragland (North Marina; $5 each; 10 am-4 pm)

• Wenatchee Youth Circus (Des Moines Elementary; adults: $7, kids: $5;10:30 am and 2 pm)

• Carfitti Teen Car Painting & Car Raffle (North Marina; 11 am-3 pm)

• Offshore Boat Races (North Marina; Free; Noon)

• Sailboat Races (North Marina; Free; 2 pm)

• 50th Birthday Fun Run & Walk (Run: Highline Community College, Walk: Marine View Dr. S; starts at 4:30 pm, participants check in at 2:30 pm)

• 50th Birthday Seafair Parade (Marine View Dr. S; Free; kid’s parade: 5:30 pm, main parade: 6 pm)

• Entertainment Stage featuring Pony-Boy All Star Band and Danny Vernon’s Illusion of Elvis (North Marina; performances at 11 am and 1 pm)

• Sock Hop Dance (North Marina; Free; 7:30-10:30 pm)

• 10th Annual Federal Way Symphony Garden Tour featuring speaker Carolyn Jones (Local Gardens and Des Moines Beach Park; tickets at www.federlwaysymphony.org; lectures at 11 am and 2:30 pm)

Many more community events are scheduled throughout the summer such as a Jazz & Blues Series (7/22-8/19), and the Jobies Community Carnival (8/15). For more information regarding visiting Des Moines and upcoming community events, visit www.desmoines50th.com or call (206) 870-6527.