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Olympia is the capital of Washington, a state in the United States of America. It was incorporated on January 28, 1859. As of the 2000 census, it had a population of 42,514. Its metro area, which includes the cities of Lacey and Tumwater, has a population of 224,100. Olympia is the county seat of Thurston County and the focal point of the South Puget Sound region and serves as a regional center for shopping, culture and entertainment. Highlights of a visit to Olympia can include a stop at the Temple of Justice to watch a state Supreme Court hearing, a run around Capitol Lake, or a stop at one of many small boutiques, coffee shops, and bakeries located in the downtown area. The local farmer's market is also known for its size, quality, variety in vendors, and popularity.
The people of Olympia are called "Olympians."
Olympia is situated at the extreme southern tip of Puget Sound on Budd Inlet. The site of Olympia was home to Lushootseed-speaking peoples for thousands of years. The abundant shellfish in the tideflats and the many salmon-spawning streams entering Puget Sound at this point made it a productive food-gathering area. Many tribes shared access to these resources, including Squaxin, Nisqually, Puyallup, Chehalis, Suquamish, and Duwamish. According to early settlers' accounts, natives called the present site of Olympia "Schict Woot", meaning "place of the bear."
Olympia hosts the state's largest annual Earth Day celebration, Procession of the Species, a community arts-based festival and parade. Olympia is also known for its farmer's market, the second largest in Washington as well as the Washington Center for the Performing Arts.
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