In conjunction with the Queen Anne Farmers Market and the support of the QA Community Center and QA Chamber of Commerce, Queen Anne Greenways organized its second annual Playstreet for kids on Thursday, July 27, 2017. As you can see, there were a number of people who got with the program.
To stir up interest we designed and distributed a flyer in the weeks before the date. The day was consciously selected to be in conjunction with the Queen Anne Farmers Market.
We believe that streets can be used in many ways, that this Playstreet in 1st Avenue West, in conjunction with the Farmers Market (in adjacent West Crockett Street), illustrates how lively and social well-managed streets can become. It’s also clear that local businesses see the value in supporting activities like the Farmers Market; and we found that many of them supported us as well.
The day started with the quiet bustle of market set-up shortly after noon.
At 3:00 the Market opened for business.
Lots of carrots and radishes this time of year.
The Playstreet also started quietly, in anticipation that the kids would all show up when their parents came to the market. This view looks from the Market back to 1st Avenue where the Playstreet activities are being organized.
We set up our booth appropriately IN the street so we could answer questions, hand out information, and keep things running.
Several members of our ‘core group’ manned the booth during the afternoon.
We learned last year that activities for the smaller kids worked well at the south end of the block, nearest to the Queen Anne Community Center. This also made it easier to set up, since the scooters, cars, wagons, blocks and mats were provided by the Center.
A variety of vehicles were driven in a variety of ways.
But the group effect showed clearly that these kids understand Seattle traffic.
The band this year was Snake Suspenderz, a group of four characters that played and sang a variety of tunes.
We set up the band in the middle of the block so that both the Farmers Market and the Playstreet could enjoy it at the same time, using the grass hill as an amphitheater.
Smaller and quieter activities took over the northern half of the block.
Ashley Barnett from Once Upon a Time, blew up over 300 balloons for a steady stream of customers. There were balloons everywhere !
Across the way, a couple of ball games attracted attention. The ‘idea’ of this first one was to throw the balls into the hoop from a distance – though in this interpretation it was apparently a lot easier and more direct to just dunk the balls.
Foosball has a lot more structure – though I’m not sure it was intended to be played by committee. Some of the onlookers seem skeptical as well.
We were lucky to have a new community partner this year, the Queen Anne branch of the Seattle Public Library. Christiane Woten, Children’s Librarian, came along and brought Ryan Dahlquist to lend a hand.
Zigzag across the street again we come to Scott Cooper of Blue Highway Games.
Scott brought along some table games and some lawn games to add variety. This one involved balancing ice cream type cones and balls to see how high you could go.
In the grass just behind Scott’s table, Corey Lynn Atencio introduced a few young Playstreeters to the basics of Yoga. Lots of enthusiasm here !
And after being enthusiastic, you definitely need to chill for a bit.
But wait ! It’s not really time to chill when there’s still a wall to climb.
Don Cheyette of Seattle Adventure Sports drove up with a wall on wheels and cranked it up – a good 24′ up. (This is a sequence of taking it down; but you get the idea)
This was definitely a smash hit; and Don said when I asked him, that he hadn’t come up for air the whole afternoon. The process is intentionally deliberate – there is gravity involved after all. First, some paperwork for Mom and Dad; and then a harness to securely hold the climber.
One of Don’s assistants hooks the harness to a cable and you’re ready to start.
Of course it’s not always as easy as it looks, especially when you realize that you actually have to do the climbing.
Some took to it easily (the girls climbed with bravado) and moved right up.
There was a clever secret that increased the fun.
The cable retracts as the climber goes higher on the wall – and doesn’t slip backwards. So if you want to rest or aren’t sure where to go next, the cable holds you in place. And then, when you’re ready to come down, you just pull down on the tube covering the cable right in front of your face, and the cable lets you slowly back down to mother Earth.
So for four hours lots of climbers gave it a go. The wall can take four climbers at a time.
It was a pretty exciting exclamation point to put on the north end of the Playstreet.
As the day wound down, everyone started to focus on the basics – dinner !
Up in the food court part of the Farmers Market the communal table was packed.
On the Playstreet the groups were more clustered.
Conversation took the place of foosball and climbing walls.
And lounging Roman style was encouraged.
Chalk up a pleasant end to a fun day.
We at the Queen Anne Greenways hope that you enjoyed Playstreet 2017. As the coordinator this year I benefited from the sturdy assistance of the QA Greenways Core Group and would like you to know who they were:
Juliette Delfs, Michael Herschensohn, Jody and Bill Lemke, Mark Ostrow, Louise Franklin, Heather Trim, Andrew Koved and Schaun Valdovinos.
I also want to throw kudos to Charley Shore of the QA Chamber of Commerce for helping us with our printing needs, and Brittany Ryan of the QA Farmers Market for coordinating so smoothly with us on what is her busiest day of the week. And last but not least, a huge Thank You to Gina Saxby and Dirk Hallingstad at the QA Community Center for going all in with us in making their equipment available for the day.
Finally, I would encourage you to contact us with your thoughts about your experience and any suggestions and/or changes you think would improve the Playstreet.
You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact one of the other core group members if you already know them.
Thanks for coming !