Crossing Kirkland, described as a “for-neighbors-by-neighbors” block party, will be returning to the city on Sept. 7.
Set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. along the Cross Kirkland Corridor, the annual event seeks to bring the community together by allowing residents to not only interact with each other but with local food trucks, stations, activities and more. This year, it’s set between south location Feriton Spur Park and the north’s 7th Avenue.
This is the third time the block party, which had about 1,500 visitors its first year, has taken place in Kirkland.
“It’s kind of a love letter to the city and folks in the neighborhood,” event co-founder Jonathan Heuer said.
Heuer said the idea for Crossing Kirkland came a few years ago via a city workshop called For the Love of Kirkland. The gathering was facilitated by someone who had put on similar events in other towns, and invited people from the Kirkland area to brainstorm ideas for events that would foster pride and connection in the city.
While coming up with ideas, Heuer remembered that there was a recurring suggestion among his peers that an event be done across the Cross Kirkland Corridor. Eventually, Heuer and five other people took this idea and, as Heuer says, “ran with it.”
The same six people, including him, have been involved with planning for the event for the last three years.
“For me, it’s really about connecting with other folks in the city,” Heuer said. “In the process of putting it on…it’s really just about building those personal connections and fostering connections among others.”
This year’s block party, which is supported by Google, SRM Development and McLeod Autobody, as well as in-kind donations and volunteers, will be a bit more concentrated than it has been in previous years. But there are still numerous dining options and activities being offered.
Heuer said there will be about 10 food trucks there — one of them Tabassum, an Uzbek food truck that was recently called “mouthwatering” by the Seattle Times — and various founts of entertainment, including a performance from a K-pop group.
Among the activities he and Amanda Judd, who is the treasurer of the Moss Bay Neighborhood Association, are most looking forward to is the “selfie hunt.” While participating in the activity, which Judd said was recently tweaked, attendees take photos with residents from different neighborhoods to get prizes that can be obtained at certain stations.
“I’m mostly looking forward to interacting with more people this year,” Judd said, adding that this is especially because of this addition.
In helping plan the event, Judd has found a community, too. When she volunteered to represent her neighborhood’s association for the event in 2017 after falling “in love” with its for-neighbors-by-neighbors theme, she had no idea that she would get along so well with people who had still been strangers at that point.
“The thing that I love the most is I actually became really good friends with people I didn’t know three years ago through this event,” she said, adding that brainstorming and divvying up responsibility have often been fun for her, full of bluster and humor.
Though Heuer joked that getting the event together is “a lot of work,” it pays off.
“Just seeing the number of people and organizations participating is really gratifying,” he said.
Now that more people are aware of the event — Heuer mentioned that it has more of a “brand” now — he believes there’s room to potentially expand what Crossing Kirkland seeks to accomplish.
“I think it could grow quite a bit in the future,” he said. “It’s challenging because it is sort of a volunteer effort, but it could be quite a bit bigger.”
Judd said events like Crossing Kirkland help foster community.
“Kirkland has grown incredibly since I moved here nine years ago,” she said. “With all of the development that happens, our population is going to increase. Events like this focus on community and are accessible to everyone in the community, which is really going to allow Kirkland to maintain that sense of community with our neighbors and other people in town.”
Heuer noted that in a way, the location of the event reflects one of its main goals.
“The corridor is a nice metaphor for the event itself,” he said. “It connects different parts of the city.”
For more information about this event, go to the Crossing Kirkland website.