Jazz in the Park Festival Preserves Home-Town Feel and Small-Town Charm

IMG-3851After an afternoon of slight drizzle, the skies parted just in time for one of the most anticipated events of the summer.

String lights and gas fire pits lined the newly revamped Yelm City Park as rhythmic soundwaves of jazz splashed onto the grounds— simultaneously with jetting water from the newly opened splash pad. 

After a successful two years, the Jazz in the Park Festival, sponsored by Pizzeria La Gitana owners Marian and Lumi Licxandru, and the City of Yelm, made its third appearance — this year as a two-day event.  

Between the two nights nearly 2,000 Yelm-area residents flocked to the park, filled with live music, food vendors, and a beer garden. The park was a venue for people of all ages to enjoy — kids were running around on the new playground equipment and splash pad, adults filled the beer and wine garden, dancers of all ages hit the dance floor, and many families set up their picnic blankets and lawn chairs in the grass in front of the stage for a warm summer evening under the stars.

Music was performed by many local jazz bands and quartets, including the LaVon Hardison Quartet, a local fan favorite who closed down the show with jazz standards and other tunes derived from the Great American Song Book. All of the artists are regular performers at Pizzeria La Gitana in Yelm and Olympia.

Creating free, family oriented events and activities has been a focus of the City in recent years.

As our community continues to grow, improved parks and a summer filled with community events will help preserve our hometown feel and small-town charm.


It’s hard to believe that four short summers ago, the Prairie Days Parade and Carnival were the only City-sponsored, summer events.

Today, the City Park is a focal point of entertainment on a daily basis and booked with community events all summer long, including the annual Jazz in the Park Festival, Barbecue Rally, Revamped Prairie Days Festival, and even a Mermaid Festival. All of which were kicked off following Marian’s vision of creating a free music festival and a desire by City leadership to support family oriented events.