Being an adult in Seattle can be draining. There’s work and stress and family and bills. A never-ending Google calendar of obligations and a steadily rising cost of living.
It’s hard not to wish for a break sometimes. Specifically a 30-45 minute break to play some dodgeball. Or eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or play four-square or jam out to N’Sync. Well, that dream is becoming a reality. This summer, recess is coming to Seattle. And this time, it’s for adults only.
Center Stage Event Marketing (CSEM) is hosting its very first Adult Recess at Cal Anderson Park from 12-7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3. The idea is simple: For one day, adults get to experience the freedom of childhood again, said Clay Lundquist, managing director of CSEM. The group wanted to create an event that dropped attendees straight into their elementary-school playground — with the addition of beer. This vision took over a year of planning.
“We wanted to create something that had a strong feeling, a strong theme, that anybody in the community could attend,” said Lundquist. “We’re trying to invoke nostalgia.”
The event will go beyond the physical activities surrounding recess. There will be ’80s and ’90s music, and food trucks with childhood favorites — peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, mac and cheese and ice cream. Tickets range from $20 for general admission to $150 for a nine-person kickball team and a place in the tournament. A portion of the proceeds from Adult Recess will benefit the Ronald McDonald house.
Adult Recess is not the first Seattle effort to get adults to embrace their childlike side. Camp Rahh, a four-day summer camp for adults, is a little less centrally located than the Capitol Hill-based Adult Recess. It’s on Samish Island, about 70 miles outside of mainland Seattle. The camp takes place every June and was designed to showcase Seattle’s backyard to its own residents.
“A lot of people travel the world and believe they can find the meaning of life, answers and relief,” said Brian Oh, founder of Camp Rahh. “But we have so much here in Washington that people never see.”
Hence the beginning of Camp Rahh.
Oh and Lundquist had very similar reasons for pursuing their Peter Pan-esque dreams: The last time they both felt free was as children. Whether that was at summer camp, or recess, childhood meant more friends and less stress.
“When you were a kid it was easier to make authentic connections,” said Oh. “We’re trying to mimic that reality. That’s why we have the rule for no networking.”
And that’s not their only rule: At camp there are no alcohol, no drugs and absolutely no technology. This means no phones, digital cameras and iPods. As kids you didn’t need those things — so you don’t need them at camp. At the end of the day people are looking for a connection, said Oh. So he did the best he could to facilitate that.
Whether it’s at camp, recess, or your backyard, it may be time to take a breather. Grab some candy, turn on your favorite cartoons, and relax to the sound of Destiny’s Child. Remember what it was like to not have a LinkedIn.
Lundquist hopes recess can have this effect: “For one day, we can get away and get that feeling back and leave people re-energized.”
Adult Recess; 12-7 p.m.; Saturday Aug. 3; Cal Anderson Park: 1635 11th Ave., Seattle; $20 general admission. $100 Dodgeball Team 6-pack. $150 Kickball Team 9-pack; eventbrite.com/e/adult-recess-seattle-tickets-60284121430
Camp Rahh; June 11-14, 2020; Samish Island, Skagit County; $500 per bunk; camprahh.com