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Saturday parade, gifts for shoppers to start Streetscape

Downtown merchants will celebrate the beginning of the Streetscape project with a construction-themed parade Saturday morning and gifts for shoppers.

"It should be a fun event," said Genna Nashem, the new director of the Enumclaw Downtown Partnership, sponsor of Saturday's festivities.

The parade, which will follow the traditional route south along Cole Street, begins at 10 a.m. The EDP has invited construction crews who will work on downtown renovation to participate, and EDP members are putting together a "precision wheelbarrow" team. Mayor John Wise is expected to say a few words and there may be an official ground-breaking (although details had not been sorted out as of late last week).

Downtown shoppers might be most interested in a booth the EDP will staff at the corner of Cole Street and Initial Avenue. Merchants will be handing out hardhats that will qualify the wearer for special deals on Fridays during the construction season; also passed out will be "frequent shopper cards," which will net the shopper $5 in Downtown Dollars for every $50 spent. The Downtown Dollars can be redeemed at any participating merchant.

In addition to Saturday's event, the Downtown Partnership is planning a couple of other promotional events during construction, which is expected to last until the first of September, at least.

"The goal is to get the businesses and the community excited about the improvements coming to downtown," Nashem said.

The Streetscape project will see downtown streets and curbs torn up as the project moves through its six phases, but merchants are attempting to let everyone know they'll remain open for business. Customers will have to navigate their way along temporary, wooden boardwalks for a short time, as sidewalks are replaced.

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