Last month, the City of Seattle held our annual Big Day of Play, with both in-person and virtual options for community members to attend. After being fully virtual last year due to the pandemic, the community was happy to find a way to connect to each other while being respectful of people’s health and safety.
Big Day of Play is put on by Seattle Parks and Recreation every year to celebrate the diversity in our communities and encourage an active and healthy lifestyle. The event, held at the Rainier Community Center, consisted of many community partner booths and Rainier Avenue Radio hosting performances on a stage.
Our Office teamed up with the Seattle Human Services Department and Seattle Public Utilities at a booth to promote hydration and spread awareness about the safety and cleanliness of Seattle’s water. The Sweetened Beverage Tax Advisory Board believes in promoting water as a counter to soda, based on research that the more water people consume, the less sweetened beverages they will drink. The booth was very popular, likely due at least in part to the 2,000 water bottles given away, which also got people interested in the message of clean water and hydration. The booth was also in partnership S’well, a reusable water bottle company, and Lonely Whale, a PR direct action non-profit focused on reducing single-use plastic.
Alyssa Patrick, the OSE staffer that was at the booth at Big Day of Play, says it is important to acknowledge justified fear and distrust of the government from mistreated communities, and that by being at this event, we are honoring their reasons for distrust while providing information and making access to various resources easier. She said the water bottles in specific were helpful in spreading their message about hydration and health because the action of giving is more personal and interactive than simply talking at people. The hydration booth was also an opportunity to tell communities about new water bottle filling stations recently installed in several Seattle schools thanks to funding from the Sweetened Beverage Tax.
This year was Alyssa’s first year at Big Day of Play, and her favorite part was feeling truly in partnership with community organizations and feeling like the community was able to have a say in what they wanted and needed. She was glad to be able to work and connect with the community and other departments in person. The event was energizing, exciting, and community oriented, and the hydration booth was a great interdepartmental effort to promote the importance of drinking water and living a healthy lifestyle.