The Arboretum Foundation is launching a new annual summer party on July 14th (also Bastille Day). The party, which will be called ArbFest, will include food, music, games and sporting activities. It has been described as “a moveable feast and outdoor adventure.”

“ArbFest will be a fun way to enjoy the Arboretum while supporting the operations that keep this free park beautiful and accessible to all,” Paige Miller, Foundation Executive Director told the Madison Park Times.

There will be French-style food to celebrate Bastille Day, provided by St. Clouds. Batch 206 Distillery is providing the cocktails and Chateau Ste Michelle is supplying wines. Some fun activities are also planned, including geocaching for ‘treasure’ and the French version of bocce ball (hosted by the Seattle Pétanque Club). Pearl Django, a local jazz band, will perform live music.

ArbFest is designed to be a fundraising event on behalf of supporting the Washington Park Arboretum. After FlorAbundance, the Arboretum’s annual spring plant sale, was cancelled last year, another fun fundraising event was needed. Tickets are $175-$350, and can be purchased here.

The party will take place on Bastille Day, and several French restaurants in Madison Valley are hosting special events in celebration of the holiday. So you might want to head over to East Madison Street beforehand to check out the other neighborhood offerings. Luc is doing a buffet with live music for $30 per person (pre-reserved tickets are sold out, so tickets at the door will be available first come, first served). Voilà Bistrot is hosting a southern-style Bastille Day prix-fixe menu for $45 per person.

No sprinkling of snow could stop runners from a brisk jog through the city on the morning of November 30th. Hundreds of runners turned out bright—rather, dark— and early for the Seattle Marathon this past Sunday. Temperatures at the starting line before 7:30 a.m. dropped below 30 degrees, a harsh wake up call for participants.

Shaun Frandsen took first place for men with a time of 2:34:21 and Sophia Liu won the women’s full marathon with a time of 2:57:30. First place in the men’s half marathon was Yon Yilma with a time of 1:12:43 and for the women Lydia Carrick with a time of 1:23:49. The 26.2 and 13.1 mile courses started and ended at Seattle Center, snaking downtown to Madison Park along Lake Washington Boulevard and back up through Capitol Hill. Click here for a detailed course map.

Despite the frigid cold, runners of the full, half, and kids marathons crossed the finish line with smiles on their faces. What a day to welcome the first snow of the season!

Featured photo via

With the school year in full swing at McGilvra Elementary, the PTA is once again asking for parents’ help procuring items for the school’s annual online auction fundraiser, so start thinking about what you might be able to donate! Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Airline miles
  • Stays at vacation homes or cabins
  • Hotel stays
  • Wine
  • Tickets to sporting events
  • Vacation clubs/time shares
  • Connections at local restaurants
  • Hosted theme parties
  • Anything else you think someone might bid on!

If you have an item you would like to donate, or if you want to help out with the auction in general, contact Shawn Plaster at

In today’s increasingly digital world, the importance of reading cannot be forgotten. Learning to read sets the foundation of a child’s education, through grade school and beyond. When literacy skills are not up to proficient for a specific grade level, students deserve the chance to build those skills without falling behind. That’s where Reading Partners comes in.

Reading Partners is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving students’ reading skills. The organization teams up with elementary schools in under-served communities to provide one-on-one literacy tutoring to struggling students. Community volunteers work with students twice a week to ensure progress in reading skills. According to Reading Partners, 3 out of 4 fourth graders from low-income families read below proficient for their grade level in Washington State. This lack of literacy skills creates challenges in continuing a progressive education.

This is the first year that Reading Partners is serving students in Seattle. The organization is committed to ensuring that students in Seattle can look forward to a bright future. Working closely with Seattle Public Schools, the philanthropic community, and families, we plan to launch our program in two schools during our first year serving Seattle students.” Reading Partners plans to connect with more than 100 community volunteers over the next year!

The organization was recently featured in a New York Times article.

A note from Community Program Manager and Madison Park resident, Cassy Charyn:  “While we currently serve schools in West and South Seattle, I think this could be a wonderful opportunity for Madison Park residents to give back to the Seattle community.”

Click here for more information on how to become a Reading Partners volunteer. Anyone interested in education or willing to help change the life of a student is welcome to participate. Training and support for volunteers is provided, and no prior experience is necessary. Keep on reading, Seattle!

Featured photo from