Courtesy of the city of Renton.

Courtesy of the city of Renton.

River Days documentary memorializes event’s history

New events and features added to annual celebration

The city recently mourned the death of Renton River Days artist Doug Kyes, right before River Days is set to have its 34th festival weekend. A video was posted discussing Kyes and all the work he’d done in the city.

“(Kyes) was more than just an artist,” Mayor Denis Law said in the video. “His contributions are too many to list.”

Then the video cuts to a recent interview with volunteers Char Baker, Toni Nelson and Kyes. They discuss how he got involved to create the cartoon boy and girl that became emblems for River Days for 13 years.

That video tribute is part of a larger documentary, set to release online and play on channel 21, that will detail the history and contributors to River Days, including the late Kyes.

“I was working for Boeing, and (River Days) was very important to me. In fact I’d be at Boeing and they’d all ask me ‘What’s next for the River kids?’” Kyes said in the video.

The larger documentary talks to original planners, those involved in the mid-80s, and detail how River Days started. Interviews discuss original staples of the event, like the Rubber Ducky Derby, quilt exhibition and art show.

Deputy Public Affairs Administrator Preeti Shridhar said the city anticipates releasing the rest of the documentary before this year’s River Days, which is July 26 – 28.

Sonja Mejlaender is festival director. She’s been involved with River Days for 20 years.

The documentary, created by Renton’s communications team, is also broken down as a series of video-interviews that tells the history of River Days. It discusses the River Days nonprofit and the city working together, Mejlaender said.

“We really appreciate their efforts to tell what is a 34-plus history,” she said.

Mejlaender said there’s traditional favorites, but are adding requests from the surveys to step up the activities in Liberty Park and a beer and wine garden.

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Courtesy of the city of Renton.

Courtesy of the city of Renton.

Courtesy of the city of Renton.

Courtesy of the city of Renton.

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