It’s sheep-shearing time at Kelsey Creek Farm Park in Bellevue
Al Schwider quickly separates a sheep from its wool at last year’s annual shearing event at Kelsey Creek Farm Park in Bellevue. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times)
Step into Bellevue’s agricultural past at Kelsey Creek Farm Park’s Sheep Shearing Event on Saturday, April 29. Kelsey Creek Farm was a dairy and cow pasture from 1921 until the 1960s, when it was surrounded by suburban development and sold to the city and preserved as a park. The site has two historic barns and is home year-round to a small community of rabbits, ponies, sheep, pigs, goats, chickens and cows. One of Bellevue’s oldest structures, the Frazier Cabin, built in 1888 by local pioneers, was relocated to Kelsey Creek Park in 1974 and hosts Eastside Heritage Center programs throughout the year, including at Saturday’s event.
Besides the sheep shearing, other activities Saturday include tractor-pulled hayrides, sheep herding, food vendors, fiber spinning and weaving demonstrations, visits with alpacas and 4-H Club rabbits, pony rides and other activities for kids. The park’s small playground is currently closed, with construction starting on a new, barn-inspired playground that is expected to open in July.
On-site parking at Kelsey Creek is very limited; parking and shuttle service from Wilburton Park and Ride and Bannerwood Sports Park will be available. Admission is free, with fees (cash only) for some activities.
Time: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 29.
Cost: Free admission, fees for some attractions, cash only.
Location: Kelsey Creek Farm Park, 410 130th Place S.E., Bellevue; limited on-site parking, shuttle service available from Wilburton Park and Ride, 720 114th Ave. S.E., and Bannerwood Sports Park, 1630 132nd Ave. S.E., Bellevue.
Time: Through Sunday, April 30, or a few days longer, depending on blooms.
RoozenGaarde: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; 15867 Beaver Marsh Road, Mount Vernon; $6-$7; 866-488-5477 or tulips.com/bloommap.
Tulip Town: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., later if weather permits; 15002 Bradshaw Road, Mount Vernon; $7; 360-424-8152 or tuliptown.com/wordpress.
Tulip Festival Office: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; 311 W. Kincaid St., Mount Vernon; 360-428-5959 or tulipfestival.org.
Kelsey Creek Farm Park is open daily, with animals available for viewing from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Along with the historic farm, the park’s 150 acres include forest, meadows and wetlands with 1.5- and 0.9-mile trails. Leashed dogs are permitted in the park but not in the barnyard area. Group tours, birthday parties and picnic-shelter rentals are available, and registration is open for kids’ day camps and other summer programs.
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This weekend is also the official final days of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, and the silver lining to all the dark clouds and rain this spring is that the tulips are still in bloom. In past years with warmer weather, the tulip fields bloomed in March or early April and were done before the festival officially ended on April 30, but not this year. The two main festival venues, RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town, promise loads of colorful blooms in the fields and display gardens through the weekend and perhaps for the first few days of May, with updates available on their websites or by phone.
If you’re planning to walk on the paths around the fields, keep in mind that they’re especially wet this year. Tulip Town offers trolley rides around the fields, and both venues have large, easily accessible display gardens and some indoor or covered areas.
Weekend traffic can be heavy on the two-lane country roads in the festival area. The Tulip Festival Office in Mount Vernon is a good stop along the way for helpful information, maps and guides about the festival and other local attractions.