All Along the Riverwalk Festival to be held July 27

The All Along the Riverwalk Festival Arts, Education, and Entertainment Festival will be returning to the Puyallup Riverwalk Trail on Pierce County Trails Day – July 27! Born from the inspiration of Art Along the Riverbank on the Isle of Wight, All Along the Riverwalk had its inaugural event in 2020.

“I visited a friend on the Isle of Wight in 2018 and saw people really enjoying art along the river and thought it was something that would really help the Friends of the Puyallup Riverwalk raise awareness about the trail and increase its use,” said John Hopkins, founder of the event.

The Friends had made attempts at event organizing in the past to draw people both near and far to the trail – most notably Families in Motion – which didn’t achieve the goal of getting people to experience the trail.

“There were probably around a dozen vendors, mostly near the entrance of the Trail, so people came to explore the vendors, but didn’t really venture onto the trail itself, so we realized we needed something along the trail to interest people, and art was a great way to do that,” Mr. Hopkins said.

The planning for a wonderful, busy, community gathering began in 2019 to take place in the spring, but unfortunately 2020 had different plans. Like many events (and much of the world) things turned virtual, so the event was scaled back to feature things that “attendees” could participate in online.

“Now we look back on that event as a ‘soft launch,’” Mr. Hopkins said. “We thought it would give us plenty of time to regroup and plan a great in-person event for 2021, but unfortunately we weren’t able to bring it to life in 2021 either, again due to the pandemic.”

But finally, in 2022, the All Along the Riverwalk Festival made its first in-person debut. The event was modest but featured live entertainment, vendors, and most importantly art spanning the trail from the Puyallup Goodwill to Veterans Park.

“It was small, but we were proud,” Mr. Hopkins said. “Thanks to the participation of many local artists, we were able to achieve our goal of drawing people out on the Trail, and it stirred up a lot of ideas of what we could do to build and improve the event.”

One of the first big changes was shifting the date to Pierce County Trails Day – an day with goals in full alignment with those of the All Along the Riverwalk Festival. Others included getting partners to sponsor the event, and creating incentives for artists to enter their work. The changes worked and in 2023, there were more than 40 artists and 1,000 attendees. 

The event organizers expect this year’s event to be bigger and better, and the list of artists entering is very promising. Thanks to a grant through ArtsWA, the Festival is able to offer artists free booths and a handful will even be eligible for a stipend for participating.

“When you reduce the barrier to entry, it really opens up the people who are willing to participate,” Mr. Hopkins said. “For some, this may be the first time their art has been publicly displayed and that’s a valuable opportunity for so many who may not have the chance to show their work at a gallery or pay to show at an event.”

While the event is a great opportunity for artists and an attraction for those from out of town to see what Puyallup has to offer, it’s also the perfect chance for locals to discover what great resources are available right in their backyard. While the Riverwalk Trail is used by many for leisure, it’s also a practical option for car-free transportation!

This year’s All Along the Riverwalk Festival Arts, Education, and Entertainment Festival will offer art installations along the whole trail, with live music and a central hub located at Veterans Park. The event will be on July 27 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. More information is available at

Partners for this year’s event include the Foothills Coalition, ArtsWA, Arts Downtown, Pierce Conservation District, City of Puyallup, Puyallup Parks & Recreation, Daffodil Valley Volkssport Association, 1st Security Bank, and Puyallup Towing.