Kent Cornucopia Days is South King County’s largest Family Festival. The Kent Cornucopia Days is a community service project of the Kent Lions Foundation and is completely run by volunteers who insure that the event benefits over 250 charitable organizations. Kent Cornucopia Days takes place Friday, July 12 through Sunday July 14. Directions for the different parts of the Festival can be found here: http://www.kcdays.com/DirectionsMap.php.
According to the Kent Cornucopia website, the Kent Lions produces Kent Cornucopia Days each year. The festival features a full size carnival and street fair with 600 booths offering a variety of items, over 35 food booths to eat, and entertainment. The 11th annual “Cornucopia Dragon Boat Races” will be held on Sunday, July 14 at Lake Meridian Park in Kent, Washington. The Kent Youth Soccer Association will also host the “Cornucopia Cup” and will have over 150 teams this year. The 15th annual Kent Cornucopia Days Skateboard Tournament will be held on Sunday, July 14th benefiting the Lions “Camp Leo” for diabetic kids. There will also be a 25 and 100 mile Bike Ride on Sunday, July 14th along with a Kids Pre-Parade Bike Ride on Monday, July 15th by the Emerald City Lights Bike Ride Organization.
Bill Westcott, volunteer event director for Kent Cornucopia Days, commented about the event, “It’s a great longstanding family festival that’s been going on for decades. Lots of people love coming to it. It’s probably because it’s very well run, huge, there are lots of activities, and very clean and tidy. People have commented on how organized and clean the event is is, compared to other events. One of the biggest attractions is that it’s just a traditional family festival with a traditional family parade; nothing goofy just getting together.”
Bill discussed the best thing about Kent Cornucopia Days from his standpoint and the Kent Lion’s Foundation, “We’ve been able to keep a family festival that’s been going on since at least the 1930s when the festival was referred to as the “Lettuce Festival.” In the 1940s the festival was referred to as “Cornucopia” then referred to as “Meeker Days” in the early 1970s. We revitalized it to “Cornucopia Days,” then finally “Kent Cornucopia Days.” It has been said that the festival goes back to the late 1800s. We continue to have the festival despite all the work because it’s a longstanding family festival in Kent and it raises money for 250 nonprofit charitable groups.” Bill discussed the best thing about the festival from a visitor’s standpoint, “It’s so huge; it’s like going to a large fair without going through a fair. We take over the whole historic downtown area and set up shop. People come all three days to get through it. You can spend one day alone to visit all the booths. It’s free to attend the event.”
Bill mentioned how the event is unique, “It blows me away how many people come to our event from all over the place. People come from Canada and even across the country. I have to admit I scratch my head. For having no staff, it’s a really well run and organized organization. There’s just something there, the largeness of it takes over the whole downtown Kent area that people can just come to and enjoy. It brings back people year after year and in the big scheme of things, there is not a whole lot of advertising. There’s an upwards of 300,000 people that come to all our events from the dragon boat races to our soccer tournaments and summer events.
Every year I get phone calls and people stop me on the street and thank us (the Kent Lion and Foundation) for putting on the event. It’s a fun thing for families since it’s free, enjoyable entertainment, and activities. They just love coming and we hear it all the time. It’s nice to see that all of our free volunteer work is appreciated.”
For more information about the Kent Cornucopia Days, please call the Kent Lion’s Foundation at: 253 852-5466. Bill concluded: “We’re a community service organization and known worldwide for helping people with their hearing, eye sight, and diabetes. We raise money for Kent Cornucopia Days; we buy eyeglasses and provide eye exams for those that cannot afford them in the Kent School District. We collect hearing eye aids and our Kent Lions Foundation collects10 to 15,000 eye glasses and a recycled center in Lacey collects tens and thousands a year. We give eyeglasses to those who need them from the ones that we collect. We provide scholarships to Camp Leo for kids that have diabetes. We raise money to keep entry fees to this camp low.”
By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com