Lake Stevens volunteer carries the water for Aquafest

LAKE STEVENS — Over the past 53 years, a small lakeside celebration called Aquafest has grown into a family festival drawing as many as 40,000 visitors each year to Lake Stevens.

This year, though, was special for Aquafest volunteer Sue Fernalld, 65.

Sure, she served as Aquafest president, but it wasn’t just that. All of her grandchildren got to help at the event, which was held last weekend.

Fernalld, a retired budget analyst, has run the children’s parade at the festival for the past eight years. She started volunteering there nine months after she and her husband, Dennis, moved to Lake Stevens to be closer to their family. Her grandson was young, and she wanted to get involved with Aquafest.

“I thought, ‘Oh man, what a really cool thing for families,’” she said. “I just wanted to see what it was about, and it was a really cool thing.”

She also wanted to use the experience as a way to meet people in town, she said.

A lot of Aquafest visitors grew up in Lake Stevens and cherish their memories of the festival as children and teenagers, Fernalld said.

“I do it because I have a love for the community, and I get such a thrill out of the children’s parade and the families coming to Lake Stevens,” she said. “I have always advocated for inexpensive things for families to do in this community, and this community rallies around Aquafest.”

Two of her grandchildren, Macray Flanders, 8, and Colby Flanders, 5, live in Snohomish. Both their parents teach in the Lake Stevens School District.

Two more, Drew Flanders, 6, and Elsie Flanders, 4, live in Indiana. Their father came to Lake Stevens earlier in July to compete in the Ironman event. The family decided to stay in town through Aquafest — to Grandma’s delight.

The week before the fair, she put the kids to work. They helped stuff about 350 goodie bags to give to children’s parade participants.

Fernalld puts in a ton of work behind the scenes, said Janice Huxford, who is a past Aquafest president and owner of Snohomish Valley Roofing Inc., a festival sponsor.

“Sue’s a firecracker,” Huxford said. “She brings a lot of enthusiasm. She has creative ideas, and she works tirelessly to bring in new fresh approaches to a festival that’s 53 years old now.”

Fernalld worked with police and others to keep the event running smooth, increased the number of sponsors, and found new ways to attract families with small children, Huxford said.

“She likes to ‘checklist,’” Huxford said. “She likes to get things done. … She is tireless in getting things done once and done right.”

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

Volunteer with Aquafest

For more information about volunteering for Aquafest 2014, go to aquafest.com.

The festival’s needs include people with sports experience and people to help with set up and clean up.

The festival is funded and supported by local businesses, sponsorships and volunteers.

More in Local News

Longboarders from near and far hit the trail in Arlington

The Centennial Sk8 Festival was serious competition for some and just for fun for others.

Signs show the rates for using the express toll lanes for traffic headed southbound on Interstate 405, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Bothell, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee announced plans Tuesday to try to decrease congestion on I-405 in answer to commuter complaints that the new express lane tolling system is making traffic worse. The governor said he would not be shutting down the tolling system as some people have called for. But the state transportation department is making plans to add new northbound general purpose lanes to ease some of the congestion and also plan to make it easier to move into and out of the express lanes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
After a 2-year trial, are I-405’s toll lanes here to stay?

Lawmakers will decide whether to keep them or end the experiment and try something else.

Weary drivers using toll lanes say they have little choice

Congestion continues to be a tedious reality for commuters on I-405, which is as clogged as ever.

Council passes six-month moratorium on safe injection sites

Proposal by County Councilman Nate Nehring passed unanimously.

Terrace woman held following collision in Everett

The three occupants in vehicle were transported to a local hospital in serious condition.

Information sought on drive-by shooting in Everett

Debris from an apparent crash, evidence of gunfire found in the 2800 block of California Street.

Crews recover body of man who fell over Wallace Falls

The area where the man fell is called Sky Valley Lookout, 2.4 miles from the parking lot.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

This week’s Herald Super Kid is Nathan Nicholson of Snohomish High School. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
‘The future is biotech,’ but for now he’s busy with everything

Snohomish senior Nathan Nicholson is a student leader and media master.

Most Read