Perhaps it’s because the weather been slightly cooler heading up to this week, but it is hard to believe that Jazz in the Valley on the last weekend in July is here?

But the calendar is not belief-based. Jazz in the Valley and the final weekend of July are here.

In case you missed it, go back and find Saturday’s Daily Record and the Jazz in the Valley insert with its full listing of bands. The festival is packed with some of the top classical jazz, Latin jazz, blues, funk and even a old-school rock-n-roll bands in the region. The festival always features a strong lineup but this one is particularly stellar.

The timing seems optimum as the weather forecast calls for more typical summer temperatures (80s to 90) for the weekend.

The thing about Jazz in the Valley is if a person comes once, he or she is likely to come back. Now in its 22nd year, the weekend music festival draws many returning fans. It’s just a flat-out good time.

What Jazz in the Valley does is show downtown Ellensburg and its historic structure in its best light. It puts top bands in historic locations throughout the downtown core. Downtown Ellensburg can be hoping on a weekend night during the school year, but the night crowd during Jazz in the Valley has its own vibe. Music can be heard from Rotary Pavilion and coming out of doorways throughout the city.

Of course, having thousands of fans visit for the weekend means we have to clean the “living room” so to speak.

Jazz in the Valley is a pedestrian festival. Having bands in locations throughout the city means people walk throughout the city, both along the streets and down the alleys.

Ellensburg is pretty well kept-up city, but there is the issue of the wind. Whatever has been dropped can be dispersed over a fairly large area.

What that means is if even if you’re meticulously tidy in your area, it does not mean a fast-food wrapper won’t be plastered on your doorstep.

Over the next few days all of us who live and work in the downtown can do our part by snagging stray pieces of litter. Those who own businesses with alley access it is a good time to make sure items have not accumulated stacked near alley loading areas.

The alley cleanup serves multiple purposes, as well as beautifying the area and eliminating potential pedestrian obstacles, it is a good fire prevention measure. Unfortunately we have had arson fires in our community in the past and typically the arsonist has used materials found on site. It’s been a couple of years at least since the last arson scare but owners and workers need to remain cognizant of that risk.

The part of being deputized for litter cleanup in the downtown is that there are convenient located trash receptacles on every corner.

Individual business owners and workers as well as the Ellensburg Downtown Association do excellent work making the downtown a welcoming place. If we all pitch in a little, Ellensburg will be looking its best when the guests arrive and we can all just focus on having a great time.

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