Playstreet 2018 – July

Our third Queen Anne Greenways Playstreet took place during a Seattle heat wave so everyone looked for shade while enjoying this year’s activities.

We ran an outreach campaign a few weeks ahead.


The Queen Anne Community Center provided some promotion as well. They are our primary collaborator since we have clear, overlapping missions.


We organize the Playstreets to run at the same time on Thursdays as the adjacent Queen Anne Farmers Market, since the market draws a steady flow of families.


Many parents combine events, shopping for produce at the stalls, sampling the food trucks for dinner, and jumping into the Playstreet activities. We’ve noticed that many of the farm stalls carry more than just food, in this case pelts.


The kids get into shopping as well –  present and future customers !


I don’t think of kids as being particularly interested in flowers; but there you are.


The food truck court is as busy as the market, with a wide variety of ethnic choices.


As a service, the market sets up a communal table that is heavily used.


All of this socialization factors heavily into our Playstreet planning since we draw on these crowds but we also provide interest and variety to the end of everyone’s day. Alongside the market’s activities, our start-up is pretty quiet –


but it doesn’t take long to close the street and start organizing.


The Community Center arranged for tables and chairs from their central source. We set up 50 tables and 300 chairs in a variety of arrangements.


This year’s activities were a mix of things that had worked well previously and some new ideas that were experiments we thought people might enjoy. One of the new ideas was ‘Giant Checkers‘, played on a street-stenciled checkerboard. We used spray chalk that wears / washes off relatively easily.


The checkers were improvised from 5 gallon bucket lids. This was one activity that some of the older kids got into.


And it was also something that parents could do with their kids,


although the kids appeared to have more fun on their own.


I did observe that for some players, moving the pieces with their feet was clearly preferable (jumping was tricky); and evidence of this was left behind.


In the center of the block we set up our Queen Anne Greenways headquarters.


We used this location to make information available about our activities.


We also collected comments and impressions from the crowd. A lot of these relate to intersections where the conditions are a challenge to pedestrian and bicyclist safety. We use these to organize our efforts in working with the Seattle Department of Transportation to have ADA ramps, curb bulbs, and crosswalks added at intersections.


This year our booth became Button Central for another new activity we added to the collection this year, courtesy of Michael Herschensohn and Cathy Tuttle of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.

The idea is to make a picture within a circle with a personal message or image.


Just about any medium that works on paper will do.


Then the circular disk of paper goes through a magical metamorphosis, courtesy of the metamorphosis-machine on the table above – and voila !


Michael, Heather and Louise spent pretty much the whole afternoon helping with button-making. Definitely a winner.


Nearby, this year’s ride’em race track was in full swing.


Chalk spray made a good medium for racetrack outlining. There was even signage!


It was interesting to see how lines on a pavement focused the activity, even for kids this young – though driving sorta nearby the lines was also OK.


It helps of course to be appropriately dressed for driving in public.


There were the occasional violations of the rules of the road, but not too many.


Another new feature this year was an appearance by the Seattle Fire Department.


This popular outreach program impresses both the kids and the adults, though no one will admit to not knowing what they’re looking at.


But riding up front is another story – everyone knows about that.


Just beyond the fire truck was located one of our most popular activities from last year, Seattle Adventure Sports’ climbing wall. It arrives on wheels,


but then it stands up into its full 24′ height.


With a lot of safety and security features, it creates a secure way to try out this sport. Don Cheyette of Seattle Adventure Sports explains the set-up to a mom –


then puts each child into a harness, gives them a short trial climb to be sure they understand the basics; and sends them on their way up.


Definitely a big hit.

We had BALLOONS again this year, basic and sculpted. The Queen Anne Community Center staff set up a balloon production booth that cranked out about 300 in a variety of colors.


They also added a Play Doh table on the side that drew quite a crowd.


We want to acknowledge the enormous amount of support we got from the Community Center staff and their director, Gina Saxby, on the right below.


We met with her frequently as our plans unfolded (and refolded and unfolded); and she was always ready with suggestions and assistance. THANKS GINA !

Farther up the line, Jessica, one of the regular Farmers Market Buskers, joined us for the afternoon, crafting various animals by request.


I’m sure she’s learned and practiced these shapes dozens of times; but it was like magic watching her pull a dog out of a balloon.


Our band this year was Reposado. We set them up in the grassy area between the Playstreet and the Farmers Market so both groups could enjoy their funky music.


They’re a duo, with Joel Reposado on percussion and Jean Paul Builes on Guitar and Vocals. They played and sang a nice variety of themes and tempos that they call TequilaFunk and that the audience enjoyed.


If you’re curious, you can find them at:

At the games end of the street, along with the checkers, we enjoyed the return of the Seattle Public Library and its collection of craft activities.


Christiane uses a mix of things, from outreach booklets and information to crafts and games to engage with the kids; and it was obvious to me that a lot of these kids were library users and ready to jump in, especially at the crafts end.


Just down from the library we tried a new venture this year – Painted Parasols.

Heather Graham, aka the Parasol Lady, brought her paint-it-yourself operation and gave kids a chance to try it out.


There’s art combined with science lab involved, so special garb and guidance are included to ensure things go smoothly.


The results speak for themselves.

Nearby, Jeff came over from Blue Highways Games, a local store specializing in board games and puzzles. Some of the kids were familiar with them as well.


A few smaller things were simply scattered in among the larger activities.  We set up a beanbag toss that got some enthusiastic tossers with great form,


as well as some success-oriented droppers who adjusted the rules to suit.


I’m not quite sure why giant LEGO-type pieces are popular; but they are. Imagine if we had a hundred of these pieces to work with !


As the day faded gradually into evening, the shadows lengthened and the temperature dropped a bit. The end of the Playstreet brought out the picnics and dinners. Some people took advantage of grassy areas in the shade.


Others did the same but were also able to follow the Checkers contests.


Jake and his dad Mark Ostrow of our own QAG crew took time out as well.


Mark is one of the QA Greenways Core Group and also a Board Member of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. It was his thought to disperse the dining tables into a variety of settings to encourage people to use them as they were inclined.

Jake helped with set-up and also added some good photos to the blog collection.

Larger groups took advantage of the ability to group tables and chairs,


while smaller family clusters picked out a table just for themselves.


Of course, just as we found last year, some people found the simplest solution the best.


After clean-up, the street returned to its “normal” self.


We took a commemorative photo


and chalked this one up as a success.


But wait – there’s more !

Or there will be on August 30, 2018 when we do it all again.  See you there !