Tour de Terrace is back! It runs July 19-21.
For some, this event is a long-standing family tradition. For others, it’s a good time to learn more about this family-run community festival, which dates back to the City of Mountlake Terrace’s 40th birthday in 1994. After all these years, and a pandemic hiatus, it still offers free admission and family fun!
Mountlake Terrace’s long-time former Mayor Jerry Smith and his wife Judi started Tour de Terrace, nearly a decade before he was elected to public office. Though Jerry Smith died in 2018, his wife continues to be involved, along with their son Scott and his wife Tisa.
“I want to preserve the legacy that Jerry and Judi had for the past 27-plus years … the same city and community vibe and feel,” Tisa said.
Until recently, the whole, three-day event was organized with paper records and snail mail.
“The newer generation is getting it a little more tech-savvy,” Scott Smith said.
So what’s Tour de Terrace?
This is one of the few Seafair-sanctioned events in communities outside Seattle, and you’ll see official Seafair clowns and pirates in the parade, along with a number of other attractions over the course of the festival. The parade travels along 56th Avenue West on Friday, July 21.
Then, the weekend includes a carnival with rides and games, classic car show, fireworks, fun run/walk, live music with beer garden, mini golf, pancake breakfasts, and a street fair with vendor booths.
Vendors include businesses and arts and crafts makers, with priority given to locals and those with legacy ties to Tour de Terrace.
While admission is free, guests can pay for carnival activities, mini golf, food and drinks. Everyone is asked to keep pets out of the food area, and to know that bags and backpacks are subject to search.
All that said, more volunteers still are needed. Many of the dedicated crew members have retired, and various skill sets can be put to use, from folks of all ages.
As Tisa put it, “Please reach out and we’ll find something for you to do!”
The 2019 festival was the first one without Jerry. Then, COVID struck, and large gatherings weren’t in the picture.
This year, just like every year, the Smith family will work through it, together. Judi remembers a few doubters who were surprised to see 56th lined with parade spectators, and that was back in the 1990s. Today the parade has grown tremendously in popularity, with 56th Avenue packed with viewers over the course of the 12-block route.
During a recent interview, the family shared this exchange:
Creating something from scratch like Tour de Terrace? “That was typical of my dad,” Scott said. “He was very good at networking, and he just made it happen.”
“He made it fun,” Judi replied.
“And his ideas were good,” Tisa followed.