The year was 1995 and the Lacey Parks & Recreation Department had a grand idea to fill Huntamer Park with live music on Wednesday afternoons in the summer. They wanted to give the Park’s many surrounding offices, their employees, and community members a chance to enjoy lunch in the open-air while relaxing and enjoying the melodies. Over the years, the Wednesday concerts, dubbed “Noon Tunes,” the Children’s Entertainment Series, and Movies at Dusk have been woven into our community fabric. It’s been 25 years and this year, the Lacey Parks & Recreation Department is celebrating the Silver Jubilee of Lacey in Tune.
It all started with a flatbed truck, a lot of extension cords, some generators and an idea. The free music and entertainment, and the addition of children’s and movie events, began to fill the park regularly. By 1997, just 2 years in, the covered stage was built and permanent power was added to the venue with the help of the Rotary Club of Lacey.
The Timberland Regional Library also joined in on the fun, and in 1997 began a partnership with the Lacey Parks & Recreation Department. Together, they brought the Children’s Entertainment Series to life, rounding out what is today a 3-part program that makes up Lacey in Tune. The library helps to book and sponsor the children’s entertainment and also uses the opportunity to remind children (and adults!) about their awesome Summer Library Program.
What the Lacey Parks & Recreation Department has created over the years is special and unique. There aren’t many places around town where you can gather up your family (and all of your friends) to listen to music and/or watch a movie outside – for free! In the early days, the movies didn’t come with a musical pre-show. “The stage was there, and they had a heavy-duty sheet with grommets and a pulley system,” Jeannette Sieler, the Department’s current recreation supervisor explains. “They had to hoist the sheet up, hook it, pin it down – do all of this stuff to make it work, so, the stage was really unusable on movie night because it took such a big production to set it up.
“The year I came, in 2007, we installed a remote-control screen,” she finishes with a smile. That retractable screen afforded the department the freedom to turn the Saturday evening events of Lacey in Tune into what they are today, a combo of music/entertainment and a movie all-in-one.
The Wednesday Concert Series also carries more than just tunes. As part of the Silver Jubilee celebration, the program’s rich history is carried forward with the band Sonando, who are reprising their performance as one of the original bands of Lacey in Tune’s inaugural year. In addition, the first Noon Tune in the series this year, held on Wednesday, July 10 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. is the 313th Army Band. They are a partner of the 1 Corps Band that played in the first season of Lacey in Tune, and in fact, Sieler says the program has had a performance from a JBLM band every year since.
Since the noon events are held on the lunch hour, food vendors will be available at Huntamer Park for music patrons to purchase their lunch and enjoy it while listening to their favorite tunes. Crowd favorites such as Ranger & the Rearrangers, Darren Motamedy and Wally & the Beaves will be returning, and the program will welcome Marty Beagle & the Oyster Club Band to the line-up with some folk-rock.
Children are enjoying the Children’s Entertainment Series of today just as much as they did in the 90s. They are still jumping, jiving and wiggling with the music and entertainment just as much as they did before, but what may look differently after nearly two-and-a-half decades is the parents. Parents who attended this series so long ago with their children, may now be attending with their grandchildren. The longevity of community events such as this one make for some wonderful family memories, and in this case, the memories can be made over generations.
The 25th Season of Lacey in Tune kicks-off the Tuesday evening of July 9 with a special event. Regional celebrity, Reptileman, will do a show with his exotic animals and afterword children are invited to participate in Sasquatch Games in a partnership with the Lacey Museum, which is currently hosting a Sasquatch Revealed exhibit. The Games are a narrative-based activity where families can take part in finding Smallfoot, interacting with clues, characters, and local legends to find the elusive footprints. At dusk, another place where families will find him is on the screen, for a special showing of “Smallfoot,” an animated film about a yeti who doesn’t believe in people.
“We really love it when we’re able to enhance the events,” says Sieler. “Charlie’s Safari will be out to a few of the events this year with some inflatables, and another event will have a face-painting artist. We get as much community support to the events as we can to give families something to do, a way to make memories and bond together.”
Over the years, the generous community support of Lacey in Tune has been the keystone of its success. Sieler says they couldn’t pull it all off without their sponsors, and this year there are 27 of them.
Want to make a few lasting memories of your own? Get a Lacey in Tune event on your summer calendar. Visit the Lacey in Tune web page to see the full schedule of events. Don’t forget your own seating and comfort items. It gets chilly at night!
Lacey in Tune, July 9 – Aug 14, 2019
618 Woodland Square Loop SE (Corner of Woodland Square Loop and 7th Avenue SE), Lacey