Approximately 15,000 people are expected to attend this year's , a three-day, annual event that will feature several extra activities in honor of the city's centennial year.
The festival takes place July 13-15 at the and other downtown areas (see attached brochure for complete details).
Some of the centennial-themed highlights at this year's Derby Days include "old-fashioned contests" like cherry-spitting and pie-eating, as well as a time capsule making workshop and penny candy store for kids. Dignitaries from Redmond's past—including three previous mayors, descendants from all the city's founding families, and several "Derby Days queens"—will participate in the parade on Saturday morning.
Lisa Rhodes, events and marketing administrator for the City of Redmond, said crowning a queen was a way for the festival to raise money several decades ago. Derby Days began more than 70 years ago as a way to generate funds for the city's Christmas decorations, and the queens were tasked with selling raffle tickets to accomplish this goal, Rhodes said.
“The (queens) were not chosen for their looks; they were chosen for their fundraising capabilities,” she said, explaining the motivation behind the contest.
If all of that is not enough of a blast from the past for attendees, Super Diamond, a nationally known Neil Diamond cover band, will be taking the stage Saturday night and performing hit songs from the '60s and '70s.
Some of the festival's regular events will be revised this year as well. The carnival, previously located several blocks away from the rest of the action at the Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center, will be moving to the city hall campus, where most of the rest of the events take place. Rhodes said the amount of rides will be scaled back a bit, but she expects the new location will be a big crowd pleaser.
Other changes at this year's festival include a new sponsor for the Derby Days Criterium, the nation’s longest-running bicycle race. Rhodes said the support of Swedish Medical Center has enabled race organizers to offer a grand prize of $10,000—up from $5,000 to $7,000 in years past.
“That now makes it the largest prize in the state,” she said.
Saturday night's fireworks show will also be bigger and better this year in honor of Redmond's centennial, Rhodes said.
For a complete lineup of events and more information, check out the festival website, or look for a PDF event brochure attached to this post. Rhodes said more than 50 volunteers are still needed for Derby Days as of June 26—follow the above link to find out how to get involved.
Redmond Patch will also have a booth at this year's event. Come find us to spin our prize wheel and pick up some free Patch gear!
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the Derby Days queens as "princesses."