Arts Walk puts spring in locals’ step

Sunny skies brings out crowd for twice-yearly celebration of creative spirit in Olympia

Staff writerApril 27, 2013 


    What: Arts Walk, a free twice-yearly arts festival.

    When: Noon-5 p.m. today; Procession begins at 4:30 p.m.

    Where: Downtown Olympia.

    More information: Call 360-753-8380 or go to For Procession information, call 360-705-1087 or go to

Forget what the calendar says.

For many South Sounders, spring finally arrived at approximately 5 p.m. Friday with the opening of Arts Walk XLVI in downtown Olympia.

“Winters here are so long and rainy and downtown starts to feel abandoned, and during Arts Walk everyone starts to come out,” said Aerin Tolbirt, 37, of Lacey, whose mixed-media work was featured at Lily’s What to Where Boutique. “...And everything starts to come to life.”

The twice-yearly celebration of all things artistic – from paintings and sculptures to swing dancing and orchestra music – continues today at nearly 130 venues. It’s joined by the Procession of the Species, a natural world pageant of music, costumes and dancing in the streets.

Sunny skies and warm temperatures brought out the crowds on Friday. During the first couple of hours, the streets and sidewalks seemed much busier than most of the venues, as folks soaked up some sunshine, people- watched and enjoyed street performances.

“It’s my favorite day in Olympia,” said Porter Eichenlaub, 23, of Olympia, while sitting at a table outside of Traditions Cafe and World Folk Art. “I’m just soaking in the beauty of it all. ...I look forward to this a lot.”

For many people, Arts Walk is a time to meet up with old friends, or peek into shops that they’ve probably driven by dozens of times.

For the participants, it’s a chance to show off their work for friends and family.

“It’s an opportunity to get art out there, and meet people,” said Didi Herron, 48. “I would love to just be an artist. That would be wonderful.”

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