A Look Back at WHCA’s 2022

  Community Interest

By Devin Chicras

After a couple years of pivoting to virtual everything, we finally busted through the screens and celebrated the return of our annual traditions in 2022.

West Hill Action Mob Continues to Team Up with King County Parks to Restore Skyway Park

Before Skyway Park closed for renovations in mid-2022, we were able to partner with King County Parks for a couple of cleanup events. Volunteers packed bags full of bottles, wrappers, cans, and other debris. Deflated balls, weathered frisbees, car parts, and broken toys were retrieved from off the beaten path. Enough tires to equip an impressive fleet of vehicles were rolled out of our environmentally sensitive wetlands.

Volunteers learned how to identify weeds, how to effectively remove blackberries, and how to handle their tools. Mountains of blackberry plants and weeds were pulled out, piled up, and hauled away. And in January, we even got some free parkour lessons at the end of the event courtesy of Parkour Visions!

Beyond regular park maintenance, volunteer stewardship is needed in order to protect and restore the three wetland areas that surround this 23-acre park. These wetlands serve as the headwaters of Taylor Creek, which runs north through Seattle’s Deadhorse Canyon before flowing into Lake Washington. It is also Seattle’s fourth-largest creek, and serves as a fish passage for juvenile Chinook salmon – making the efforts we do upstream that much more impactful.

Now that Skyway Park has re-opened, we’re back at it! Join us for quarterly stewardship events, including on Saturday, January 28 where we’ll remove more weeds and trash for the first time since Spring 2022. Space is limited! Register through the King County Parks website.

Skyway Outdoor Cinema Returns, Celebrating 20 Years of Free Family Films and Fun

For the first time since 2019, Skyway Outdoor Cinema returned to its traditional format in time for its 20th anniversary: a four-day festival packed with food, films, and fun. Over 300 people gathered each Friday in August to sample food truck cuisine, watch live performances, check out preshow activities, and experience a blockbuster film under the stars.

As the property we host the event on transitions from U.S. Bank to Skyway Resource Center, we were able to take up the entire parking lot this year, effectively doubling our size and allowing for a new “midway” filled with community booths, food trucks, and activities. There were jump ropes, hula hoops, chalk, giant Connect 4 games, fitness activities, painting and crafts, face painters, balloon twisters, and more.

We brought live performances up close and personal. Children danced joyously directly in front of a dozen members of the Filthy Fem Corps brass band. The Mak Fai Lion Dancers entered the thick crowd of guests, letting people interact with the lion as their musicians created an electric atmosphere. Comic Dominic encouraged participation from the crowd during his 10-foot tall unicycle and sword-juggling stunts. And as soon as Ben Hunter started playing his fiddle, people were magnetized to the boot-stomping tunes and gathered ’round.

Halloween Takeover’s Return Smashes Records

For the first time since 2019, West Hill Community Association’s annual Halloween Takeover event returned to Skyway Park Bowl. We couldn’t have predicted that more than 500 neighbors would come down and celebrate with us in what turned out to be an absolutely unforgettable evening.

The Lucky Dragonz event space at Skyway Park Bowl was truly taken over – from the hearse and coffin at the door to the two dozen giant inflatables and life-size animatronics creating countless photo opportunities, to the popular activity stations and dance party inside.

Guests decorated their own mini-pumpkin, braved the Mad Lab Challenge, got custom balloon art twisted by Hatter Mike, and danced all night to DJ MIXX America.

Everyone got a free treat bag and made their way through our Treat Trail, featuring 16 community booths.

After our 2022 Halloween Spirit Contest winners collected their trophies and gift cards, Magic Rich’s pirate magic show required some brave volunteers and kept folks pressed up against the stage with equal parts humor and surprise.

We ended the night with Skyway Indoor Cinema’s first ever 3D movie, as chosen by the community: The Nightmare Before Christmas. After the popcorn and 3D glasses were handed out, the familiar chorus of “This is Halloween” filled the room and the characters seemed to as well.

Our Winter Takeover Spanned One Month and Multiple Locations

We tried something a little different for our Winter Takeover series for December 2022 – in addition to our Holiday Lights Contest, we added a new challenge, the Ugly Sweater Contest. For each, three neighbors won trophies and gift cards to local businesses.

We also held two in-person events. The Holiday Crafting Party Drop-in at Skyway Library was a blast. About 40 neighbors joined us for fun crafts, snacks, and a special Skyway Indoor Cinema screening of “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure”.

Despite freezing rain, we were able to serve 250 neighbors at our Free Hot Cocoa and Kids Pack drive/walk-thru at Nevzat’s Espresso. Nevzat made each delicious handcrafted drink with real chocolate syrup and steamed milk – worth the wait!

Thank You to our Sponsors for Adding to the Magic

Our community sponsors help supercharge the vibrant events we dream up. Thank you so much!

2022 GOLD PARTNERS: Motiv Real Estate Group, Salima Specialties, Skyway Grocery Outlet

2022 SILVER PARTNERS: Skyway Firefighters Local 3740, King County Fire District 20 Volunteer Firefighters, Lindquist Law, PLLC

2022 BRONZE PARTNERS: First Pass Driving School, Back and Neck Pain Center, Write for Good

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