Celebrate opening of Eastside Community Center Oct. 20

Free event begins with a community parade, ends with a movie

What better way to welcome a landmark, 55,000-square-foot community center to Eastside Tacoma than with a giant party?

#CelebrateEastside takes place Saturday, Oct. 20, at Eastside Community Center, 1721 E. 56th St. (on the First Creek Middle School campus). The day begins with the Eastside Families Parade, which starts at 10 a.m. in the Salishan neighborhood and ends at the new community center’s front door.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:30 a.m. featuring Eastside residents will get the show underway, followed by an opening ceremony with live music and special guests who will share the story of how this center came to be. Then the center will come alive with fun for all ages. See EastsideCommunityCenter.org for details.

“After years of asking people to #ImagineEastside, now it’s time to #CelebrateEastside,” said Andrea Smith, president of the Board of Park Commissioners. “We are going to throw one heck of an opening weekend party, and we encourage everyone to come check out the newest community center in the Puget Sound region.”

Highlights of the weekend include:

Free swimming

A major feature of the new center is its 318,000-gallon indoor pool, with a water slide, climbing wall, “Aqua Zip’ N” (a cross between a rope swing and zip line), vortex, log roll, and hot tub. The pool will be open for free beginning at noon, but swimmers should sign up online in advance because space is limited. Later in the day, races with inflatable floaties will get underway.

Image courtesy Metro Parks

Image courtesy Metro Parks

Cake!

Metro Parks is bringing in a giant cake in Eastside Community Center colors to celebrate the new center. We’ll cut the first slice right after the opening ceremony. We’ll also have food representing some of the cultures of Eastside Tacoma, all for free.

Music

Highlights include:

* Stephanie Anne Johnson, an award-winning singer and songwriter from Tacoma, and past finalist on NBC’s The Voice

* Obe Quarless, a steel pan virtuoso whose specialties are soca, calypso and reggae

* Pachanga Alert!, presenting blends of music from Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Argentina and Colombia

* Ballet Folklorico de First Creek Middle School presenting regional dances of Mexico

* Vision Step Team, performing traditional step dance arrangements

* The League, from the Iconic Arts Complex, doing hip hop

* The Movement, showcasing young rappers and singers

* Hearts for Kids, performing traditional and modern dancing from the Pacific Islands

Fun for Kids, Fun for Adults:

Want to try MixxedFit or SHRED? How about ballet and hip hop? Do you want to make your own Eastside-themed T-shirt, paint, or shoot hoops in the gym? Activities for young children and adults throughout the building. Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound, which is operating the center with Metro Parks, will open up a teen room with video games, table games, bracelet-making and more. And Metro Parks has a room full of senior programming that includes a calligraphy demo and a salsa dance demo. Outside, the athletic field at First Creek Middle School will be the site of a soccer clinic by the RAVE Foundation, the charitable arm of Seattle Sounders FC.

Tours

Eastside Community Center is a two-story, 55,000-square-foot building with all kinds of amenities. We’ll have tours running throughout the day.

Surprises

Did you know the new center has an indoor slide from the top floor to the bottom? What is that two-story wall of mirrors about? What’s the plan for the recording studio? And what special animal will visit from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium?

Fun into the afternoon, the evening, and the next day: Once the scheduled performances and activities wrap up around 2 p.m., the center will be open for guests to stay and play free of charge for the rest of Saturday and all day Sunday. And at 6 p.m. Saturday, Eastside Community Center staff will present a free indoor movie in the social hall, while the gym will open up for basketball.

A chance to reflect, a chance to celebrate

Building a community center takes a lot of people, a lot of will, and perseverance over many years. Beginning in the opening ceremony and throughout the day, guests will hear about the people who inspired and lead the development of the Eastside Community Center; meet some of the donors, elected officials and ordinary residents who believed in the project and saw it through; and have a chance to reflect on what the center means to them, their families, and Eastside Tacoma.

The event’s name was chosen because it captures what the day is all about: it’s time to shift from #ImagineEastside to #CelebrateEastside.

If you go

What: #CelebrateEastside: the opening of Eastside Community Center

Where: Eastside Community Center, 1721 E. 56th St., on the campus of First Creek Middle School

When: 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20

Parking: Parking on-site is limited, so guests are encouraged to use a free park-and-ride shuttle service from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. from four locations. See below for details.

Cost: Free

Swimming: The pool will be open for free beginning at noon, but swimmers are encouraged to sign up online to ensure they have a spot. The link is also available on the Eastside Community Center website.: https://www.metroparkstacoma.org/eastside/

Parking

Parking is limited on the Eastside Community Center Campus. Participants are encouraged to park in the areas shown on the online map with a “P” and ride a free shuttle to the event: https://www.metroparkstacoma.org/calendar?id=10486. You are also encouraged to carpool, walk, bike, or take the bus.

* 10 am: Shuttle service begins

* 2:30 pm: Shuttle service ends

Shuttles will run throughout the day (10 am- 2:30 pm) between each of these parking lots and Eastside Community Center.

A tent at each parking site will indicate the pick-up and drop off location.

Park and ride the free shuttle from these parking lots:

* Champions Centre, 1819 East 72nd St.

* Bethlehem Baptist Church, 4818 Portland Ave.

*Salishan Family Investment Center, 1724 E. 44th St.

* Portland Avenue Community Center, 3513 E. Portland Ave

– Metro Parks