Monroe Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Una Wirkebau-Hartt presented to Monroe City Council on Tuesday, August 12, to share her plans for the Monroe Fair Days Parade and to give an update on the chamber’s recent activities.
She began her presentation by introducing council to a game called Find It, which is made in Monroe by a company called Identity Games. The game, which consists of small items hidden amongst brightly colored plastic pellets in a see-through plastic containment device, is described as “a family-friendly treasure hunt in a tall clear tube.”
“It is one of the largest selling games in the world right now,” explained Wirkebau-Hartt. “100 percent of this game is made here in Monroe.”
The game is available in many themes including dinosaurs, sports, travel, birds and more. It can be purchased at retail outlets like Barnes and Noble, Target, Borders and many others. Wirkebau-Hartt decided to approach the firm about creating a Monroe-themed game and found that they were amenable to the concept.
The new version of the Find It game will be completed by the August 23 Monroe Fair Days parade.
“Monroe will have the first custom Find It game in existence,” said Wirkebau-Hartt. “I think that’s pretty cool.”
The game will be given out to parade participants, as well as the event sponsors.
Wirkebau-Hartt also shared that this year’s Monroe Fair Days parade will be much larger than it’s been in the past. The parade, which will begin at 11 a.m. on West Main Street and 179th Avenue, will include racecars from Evergreen Speedway, the Ixtapa Equestrian Team, the Seafair Pirates, the Pirates of Treasure Island and much more.
In past years, after the parade was over, folks have typically dashed off to enjoy the Evergreen State Fair. This year, Wirkebau-Hartt has planned additional activities to take place until around 5 p.m., turning the parade into an all-day event.
“I’m hoping that, over time, we’ll kind of retrain the community to hang out a little bit longer and maybe turn it more into a street fair,” said Wirkebau-Hartt. “Yes, we want them to go to the fair, but we also want them to stay a little longer in the downtown area.”
To help facilitate that goal Wirkebau-Hartt has arranged a beer garden, a root beer garden, a climbing wall, face-painting, photo booths and more.
“All of the vendors will stay open until 5,” said Wirkebau-Hartt.
Wirkebau-Hartt also shared with council details from her recent Darrington Chamber Mob event, which took place on Friday, August 1. Wirkebau-Hartt traveled with Monroe Chamber Operations Manager Shelley Nyhammer and several others up to Darrington to spend the day with Mayor Dan Rankin and to meet some of the local business owners. Although the event was intended to include various local Chamber of Commerce organizations, the number of attendees dwindled on the actual day of the journey.
“We still had an amazing time,” said Wirkebau-Hartt. “We hung out with the mayor all day and we hung out with the business owners… It was a great experience.”
She shared the story of Brook Alongi, a Darrington resident who was a manager at Boeing when the Oso slide hit. Unable to get to work due to the blocked roadway, Alongi began volunteering at the slide area, sometimes working up to 20 hours a day. It was during that time that he felt his priorities shift.
He made the decision to leave his job at Boeing and open his own leather saddle company called Whitehorse Saddlery.
“It is absolutely breathtaking work,” said Wirkebau-Hartt. “He does saddles; he does side bags; he does anything with leather and he was actually opening that day that we were in town.”
“As tragic as the events were, it put him in this amazing place,” she continued. “We met a lot of people like that.”
Alongi specializes in custom, one-of-a-kind saddles, tack, chaps, gun leather and other leather items, as well. For more information on Whitehorse Saddlery, visit the Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/WHSaddlery.
For additional information about the Monroe Fair Days Parade, please visit the Choose Monroe website at: http://choosemonroe.com/place/the-monroe-fair-days-parade-experience-animal-magnetism/.