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Washington Mutual Seeks New World Record With Giant Barbecue for Chicagoland Teachers

Tim McGraw, Michelle Branch to Headline Free Concert, Chicagoland Teachers To

               Showcase Talent to Raise Money for Area Schools

CHICAGO, Sept. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Washington Mutual (NYSE: WM), the nation's leading retailer of consumer financial services, today announced it would seek the Guinness World Record(TM) for the World's Biggest Barbecue at "Teacherpalooza: The World's Biggest Barbecue for the World's Greatest Teachers" on Saturday, October 18, 2003 at Chicago's Hutchinson Field in Grant Park.

The free event, which will celebrate teachers throughout Chicagoland, will feature the Spotlight on Teachers(TM) competition, a talent contest where public school educators will showcase their musical talents while having an opportunity to raise funds for their schools. Teachers -- solo or as an ensemble -- will perform on three stages, and the audience, via applause meters, will choose three winners. Throughout the day, Washington Mutual will distribute over $60,000 in gifts and grants to teachers and the schools they represent.

In addition to the Spotlight on Teachers competition, attendees will have the opportunity to sample a variety of American, Asian and Latino barbecue cuisine. Live performances from record-breaking artist Tim McGraw & The Dancehall Doctors, Grammy Award-winner Michelle Branch, Billboard Latin Music award-winners Los Hombres Calientes featuring Bill Summers and Irvin Mayfield, and American Idol finalist Trenyce will round out the day's events.

"Washington Mutual supports and appreciates the thousands of hard working teachers across Chicagoland," said Tony Manisco, Washington Mutual's senior vice president and group manager of retail banking in Illinois. "Chicago loves a good barbecue, and it's a fun way to bring tens of thousands of people together to celebrate teachers and break a world record while we're at it."

To break the current Guinness World Record for the World's Biggest Barbecue of 44,158 people (Sydney, Australia in 1993), Washington Mutual will invite approximately 50,000 people to Grant Park's Hutchinson Field.

Washington Mutual, a leading mortgage lender in Illinois, introduced its unique brand of retail banking to Chicagoans when it opened 28 locations in June 2003.

In August the organization opened 32 additional retail banking stores and announced its surcharge-free ATMs at all of its Chicagoland retail banking stores; this means that anyone can use Washington Mutual ATMs with no surcharge, though if they are accessing a non-Washington Mutual account, their own bank may still charge them a fee.

With its entrance into the Chicago area consumer banking market, the organization brings its commitment to the community through grants and other assistance with an emphasis on K-12 public education and affordable housing.

Weber Teaches Teachers on Grilling

Illinois-based Weber-Stephen Products Company, the number one authority on grills and grilling information and manufacturer of the iconic Weber(R) kettle grill, is the event's Official Grill Sponsor. Weber Grill Restaurants, a subsidiary of Weber, will stage four, 45-minute grilling demonstrations with menu samplings headed by a team of its chefs. The demonstrations are scheduled from noon to 4:30 p.m. in a specially-designated area in Hutchinson Field, and seating is limited. Weber will also have a second tent at the event that will showcase its full line of charcoal and gas grills.

Getting a Ticket to the Event

Washington Mutual has invited over 50,000 teachers and their families in the Chicagoland area to "Teacherpalooza." Tickets will be available to the general public beginning Saturday, September 20 at all 60 Washington Mutual retail banking locations, on a first-come, first-serve basis (limit six per request form). Only ticketed guests will be allowed entrance on the day of the event. To find a Washington Mutual retail banking location, consumers can visit www.wamu.com or call 1-800-788-7000.

Qualifying for the Spotlight on Teachers Contest

Washington Mutual has contacted teachers throughout Chicagoland, inviting them to participate in the Spotlight on Teachers competition. All K-12 public school teachers in the Chicagoland area will receive invitations through their schools, including an application for the competition. Additionally, teachers can visit www.wamucommunities.com or call 312-836-3724 for information.

About Washington Mutual

With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual, Inc. (NYSE: WM) is a retailer of financial services that provides a diversified line of products and services to consumers and small businesses. At June 30, 2003, Washington Mutual, Inc. and its subsidiaries had assets of $283.20 billion. Washington Mutual, Inc., though its subsidiaries, currently operates more than 2,650 consumer banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking, consumer finance and financial services offices throughout the nation. Washington Mutual, Inc.'s press releases are available at www.wamu.com .

    All trademarks are used for the benefit of their respective companies.
SOURCE  Washington Mutual
    -0-                             09/19/2003
    /CONTACT:  Tara Williams of Washington Mutual, +1-973-280-1976,
tara.williams@wamu.net , or Shane Winn of Jasculca-Terman and Associates,
+1-312-573-5496, shane@jtpr.com /
    /Web site:  http://www.wamu.com
                http://www.wamucommunities.com /
    (WM)

CO:  Washington Mutual
ST:  Illinois
IN:  FIN EDU FOD
SU:




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3184 09/19/2003 12:30 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com