I think it was my second blog post for the Patch where I talked about how excited I was when we moved here and I found happy delusions downtown. Fast forward a year and a half later and those windows I first admired are now filled with things I've made. Yesterday I spent 4 hours straight decorating the space – Mary gave me free reign to do what I want with them. My daughter McKenna didn't have preschool that day and I worried she would get restless but she was an awesome helper – handing me nails, clothes pins, and glue dots. She said, “Some day I'm going to work here. I'm going to sew things and sell them here like you do.” Since I technically don't have a real job, it was as close as a “Take Your Daughter to Work” day as I'll get.
Tonight was First Friday in DTR. (That's Renton-speak for “an art opening downtown.”) Since I'm going to be teaching a daily Spring Break craft class for kids at the store next week (M-F 12;30 -1:30), I offered to set up a table in front of the shop and let people make some of the projects I have planned for my class. The results were adorable. It just goes to show you that if you set out some puffballs, pipe cleaners, googly-eyes and feathers, you'll spark creativity in your community.
A few weeks ago I attend the Arts Equinox get-together at Harambee (an awesome space, I must add, doing great work with the teenagers). The purpose of the meeting was to gather members of the art community in Renton to discuss, well, art in Renton – to find out who's making it, who's appreciating it, how to promote it, and how we can form a unique and creative identity for our city.
What I've found is that it all comes down to who shows up. Some show up to organize and lead and volunteer at events like the Farmer's Market and the Spring and Fall Festivals at the Piazza, classes at the community center, trick-or-treating downtown and at the Landing, Santa's workshop, Flashlight Easter egg hunts, fireworks on Lake Washington, Renton River Days and the parade. Some show up simply to enjoy these events. Their role is no less important. Imagine our town without these community-building events or imagine these events without anyone showing up. Renton would be a much different place – less colorful, quieter, and dull.
I make an effort to take my kids to most of these events. Thankfully there's The Renton Reporter, the community center's “What's Happening” publication, and the Renton Patch and other Renton organizations I've “liked” on Facebook that keep me aware of the events going on around town. Even though we've only lived here for less than two years, my kids now look forward to these annual traditions, and they have become some of the reasons why we love it here.
So, what's your favorite Renton event?