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Creation crew will arrive this week

The city of Enumclaw is gearing up for the biggest event to hit the community in more than a decade.

Creation 2010 officially opens its four-day run July 21, but key organizers could start arriving today, Wednesday, and volunteers will begin setting up the Enumclaw Expo Center grounds this weekend. Attendees are anticipated to arrive in droves beginning Tuesday.

Creation is no stranger to the Pacific Northwest, but this is its maiden voyage in Enumclaw. Billed as the largest Christian music concert in the United States, Creation offers both an East Coast and West Coast show. For the past dozen years, Creation’s western home has been the Gorge Amphitheatre on the banks of the Columbia River. For a variety of reasons, organizers began looking for a new site and found Enumclaw to their liking. The move was announced in November and both sides have been working steadily to prepare the community for the impact.

It’s expected the Creation show will have an impact on nearly every aspect of the Enumclaw community. In particular, streets will be busier and stores should be more crowded.

The city staffer most involved with Creation is Kristen Damazio, marketing and events coordinator at the Expo Center.

She has high praise for the Creation folks, noting the concert operation is “a well-oiled machine.” The city’s only responsibility, she said, will be to have the lawn mowed, pick up the daily trash and clean the restrooms. There’s really no extra expense to the Parks and Recreation Department, she said, since extra staff is traditionally on duty to handle the additional needs that come with the summer months.

Fire Chief Joe Clow said his department has been involved “from the early planning stages.”

He said Creation sets up its own clinic, staffed with medical staff. Enumclaw services will be needed, he said, only if a patient requires transportation to Enumclaw Regional Hospital.

To be safe, Creation is paying Clow’s department to keep two extra people on duty from noon to midnight all four days of the event. That’s 96 extra hours of staff time at $50 per hour, the chief added.

Police Chief Jim Zoll also has had representatives on board from the beginning. It’s not anticipated that Creation will bring a rowdy crowd, but traffic is the crucial issue for law enforcement. Zoll said his staff has worked with members of the King County Sheriff’s Office and Washington State Patrol to address those issues.

Bill Darpino, a Creation organizer, agreed transportation will be most noticeable impact in the city. Everyone tends to arrive at at the same time, he said, and depart as a group.

Creation organizers anticipate daily crowds of 14,000 to 15,000, according to spokesman Jacob Matthews. Many of those will spend all four days at the event, and Creation has rented pasture land around the Expo Center to accommodate those who generally pitch a tent and camp.

The event will feature some of the top names in contemporary Christian music on the main stage; there also will be a kid stage, worship stage and late-night stage. In addition to the headline acts, there will be opportunities for lesser-known bands to play.

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