Yelm Community Unites to Make Prairie Days a Reality

Parade is Canceled Due to Lack of Participation

By Daniel Warn  / dan@yelmonline.com
Posted 8/24/21

With the state reopening at the start of July, Yelm Community members have had less than two months to prepare for Prairie Days, but organizers Brianna Feller and Michael Malek were up to the …

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Yelm Community Unites to Make Prairie Days a Reality

Parade is Canceled Due to Lack of Participation

Posted

With the state reopening at the start of July, Yelm Community members have had less than two months to prepare for Prairie Days, but organizers Brianna Feller and Michael Malek were up to the task.

Partnering with a “who’s who” of city organizations, they pulled out all the stops to make Prairie Days a reality this year.

Prairie Days will run Saturday, Aug. 28 and Sunday, Aug. 29, in Yelm City Park and Longmire Park, respectively.

“It’s literally a community-based event, with the community coming together to put on this event,” said Malek, a financial analyst for the city of Yelm. “The city is just a small part of it. We are not hosting the event. It’s a community-hosted event.”

Due to updated health recommendations from Gov. Jay Inslee and the department of health, the city of Yelm and event organizers are recommending people wear masks due to the large crowds expected to attend the event. Those who wish to enter the Yelm Community Center will be required to wear masks.

“The theme of the whole event is ‘better together,’ and I think, throughout this time, there is nothing better than supporting each other,” said Feller, communications specialist for the city of Yelm. “You know, getting each other back out there and promoting their businesses, but also promoting good community fun and togetherness.”

Festival activities will start in Yelm City Park at 10 a.m. on Saturday and continue throughout the day.

“There are going to be a couple food vendors and those will cost money, but other than that, everything inside the park is completely free,” Feller said.

There will be a kids zone with ample activities including bouncy houses, carnival-style games and sweet things to eat, among other offerings.

“For the kids zone, we will have a bunch of different booths that will be hosted by community members,” Malek said. “It’s really awesome and they will have tons of activities.”

Military vehicles will be at the park for folks to tour, aerialists will perform and there will also be contests for the community to partake in.

Entries for a pie baking contest will kick off the event, and will be judged throughout the day. The winner will be announced in the afternoon. A watermelon eating contest will also take place in the afternoon.

The Yelm Community Center will be transformed into a quilting pavilion, while the Yelm Farmers Market will take place on a nearby street.

And the inaugural Car Show Cruise-In will take place in the Methodist church parking lot, just a couple minute’s walk from the park.



A transition to the traditional street dance will take place from 5 to 6 p.m., after which folks will dance their hearts out until 10 p.m. on Second Street during the yearly Prairie Days staple for the whole family. A beer garden will be available for adults who are 21 or older.

“Really, we’ll have stuff for all ages,” Feller said. “There’s a bunch of kids’ activities, yes, but anybody will be entertained, no matter how old they are.”

On Sunday, the first-annual Yelm All-Star Softball Tournament will take place at Longmire Park, with check-in beginning at 10 a.m. on Sunday. Registration for the tournament has already closed.

“We are asking all our vendors to donate a $25 booth fee if they can, and we have a $5 buy-in in the softball tournament,” Feller said. “The winner of the tournament gets to pick which charity all of the money gets donated to.”

Ultimately, Feller and Malek are primed to have a fun time.

“It’s going to be a great event,” Malek said. “We’re really excited about it. We want to give back to the community. We want to do our best in putting on what we feel Yelm Prairie Days should be. It’s just been such a huge event in our lives and throughout Yelm’s history.”

And as lifelong residents of the city, Feller and Malek have taken the Prairie Days challenge to heart.

“I’ve grown up here my entire life and so has Michael,” Feller said. “Prairie Days is just a staple of our community. It’s really the last hurrah of summer. … I think that after everything the kids have gone through over the last year, and even the parents, this is just a huge way to bring the community together one last time for something that truly embodies the spirit of Yelm.”

Though the Prairie Days Parade was scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 28, it was canceled this year because not enough people signed up.

The parade is a yearly staple for Yelm, a chance to celebrate the people, organizations and businesses that make up the community. The parade was also canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In a joint decision between the Prairie Days Committee, the Yelm Chamber of Commerce and the Yelm Police Department, we are sad to announce that the 2021 Prairie Days Parade has been canceled for Aug. 28,” stated a news release for the festival. “This is due to limited registration for the parade portion of the event.”

The rest of Prairie Days is set to happen and event organizers hope the event is a success.

“Head over to Yelm City Park at 10 a.m. for a fun-filled day of activities, ending with the street dance from 6-10 p.m.,” the release states. “And don’t forget to cheer your favorite teams on at the Prairie Days (Allstar) Softball Tournament starting at 10 a.m. on Sunday (in Longmire Park).”

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