DennyFest organizers hoping for better weather in 2016

Organizers of DennyFest are hoping last fall's conditions don't return to haunt the eighth-annual Finn Hill bash.

Organizers of DennyFest are hoping last fall’s conditions don’t return to haunt the eighth-annual Finn Hill bash.

“With the weather, we really try to exercise control,” said festival director Marc Ackerman of the neighborhood celebration, which is set for Sept. 17. “We really got decimated by rain last year.”

Wet conditions tend to put a damper on DennyFest staples, which have drawn hundreds to O.O. Denny Park at the Kirkland beach for savory eats, tasty treats and — it’s impossible to rhyme this one — a local dog show.

The festival features a chili cook-off and pie bake-off, both of which are free to taste. For those who’d rather eat a regular meal before sampling the best of Kirkland’s spicy craftsmanship, festival-goers are treated to free hot dogs, hamburgers, soda and (Akerman said it was a maybe) ice cream.

Kids will have plenty of activities, including a magician and bouncy-house, arts and crafts and a short adventure in nature.

For older kids, LA Fitness is sponsoring a handful of sports activities — volleyball, badminton and the like.

Kirkland’s own Geoffery Castle, whose electric violin show was part of the Thursday Marina Park concert lineup on Aug. 4, will return for another summer at DennyFest, along with a new, local group: the Finn Hillbillies.

“I’ve seen their set list, and I think it’s going to be very popular,” Ackerman said. “Let’s call it, ‘Standards with a jazzy interpretation,’ or stylizing familiar rock, folk and country.”

Ackerman said the Audubon Society will drop in, along with a few representatives from the city of Kirkland and a few other organizations. The Kirkland Fire Department typically brings a handful of vehicles.

“We invite the City Council and encourage that they show up, but they do so more reliably when they’re up for election,” Ackerman said with a laugh.

The two parking lots at O.O. Denny Park are small, and Ackerman suggested parking at Inglewood Presbyterian Church on Northeast 141st Street, where there will be shuttle vans down to the festival.

The festival is scheduled to run from noon to 4 p.m. on Sept. 17.

Forecast — thankfully — is for partly cloudy skies.