With humble beginnings as a mining town the city of Issaquah is located about 20 miles southeast of the larger city Seattle , Washington. As coal mines reached depletion in the 1890s the town looked for other industries and turned to lumber. With a very profitable lumber industry running trade to the north to Seattle the city seemed to be profiting until the Great Depression hit. The following decades hit Issaquah hard and it wasn’t until the Boeing and Microsoft companies moved to the area that jobs were plentiful again. The town has been rapidly growing not only economically but in population as well. Recently rated the 2nd fastest growing city in the state Issaquah is now home to over 30,000 people and several booming industries. Home to the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery the city raises around 4 million salmon annually and migrates them to the North Pacific. Being famous for its salmon the city annually throws a Salmon Days Festival which is nationally recognized and brings an influx of around 200,000 visitors into the city. The festival is so big and has so many visitors that the festival has to last two days, the first full weekend of October each year. First the festival is kicked off by a huge parade with floats and dancers themed after what else.. the fish! The festival goes over Issaquah’s rich Indian heritage and culture but in general celebrates the salmon being returned to their birth water. The event brings in numerous local artists who set up booth down the street to show off what creations they have been working on throughout the year. Food venues and entertainment seem to litter the street with creative fun and leave kids and adults alike with plenty to do. From 5k runs, fencing, bike rides, and golf there is plenty to offer for the sports enthusiast as well. Everyone is encouraged to head over to the hatchery and watch the release of the fish first hand and as the festival continues to grow annually the future only looks brighter for Issaquah.
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If you are looking for something not quite as fishy to do in Issaquah you should go to the zoo. Located at the bottom of Cougar Mountain you can find the Cougar Mountain Zoo. Stretching over 8 acres the zoo is home to mostly endangered species from around the world. The zoo is divided into 9 different sections; cougars, lemurs, cranes, reindeer, macaws, wallabies, ratites, tigers and camelids. The cougar, Nashi Nashi, is the star of the zoo. She is so use to seeing the humans that go through here that she will even high five you through the glass. The zoo does not promote socializing the animals but rather sees us as their guardians and feel like it their job to educate visitors so future generations can help save these endangered species. The newest editions to the zoo are the Bengal tigers. The zoo is home to two male tiger cubs which were famous the second they came through the door as they are the only tigers in the entire state. If you happen to come in December you will be in for a treat as the entire zoo turns into a Reindeer festival as they turn on the lights and feature a meet and greet with Santa himself. Sure to be a hit with the family the Cougar Mountain Zoo has something for everyone.