Giant cow goes through the Locks

You don’t see this every day. It pains us to post this because it’s a publicity stunt, but it was a particularly effective one, to say the least.

Bessie the giant inflatable Holstein cow cruised through the Locks and the Ship Canal, generating lots of “earned media” for the Dairy Farmers of Washington. After all, why buy advertising when you can get blog posts like this for free?

But it was a sight. Lucas even made this video:

And Bessie even cruised Elliott Bay, pushed by a tug:

Don’t you want to drink more milk?

> See upcoming events in our Ballard calendar <

Scenes from the Fremont Solstice Parade

Thousands of sun-starved people packed the streets for the 30th running of the Fremont Solstice Parade, and the weather couldn’t have been any better.

As they do every year, the naked cyclists kicked off the action, turning heads on Market St. in Ballard before heading back to Fremont to lead off the parade.

“This was the biggest raft of naked cyclists I’ve seen since I moved to Seattle in 1991. Easily over a thousand,” wrote parade spectator Josh on Twitter.

The carrot bikers (above) were a big hit.

It’s also the first year with Lime and Ofo rental bikes at their disposal, and quite a few of the naked cyclists rode the rentals, raising some eyebrows and sparking lots of jokes about sanitary wipes.

“OH MY GOD NUDE CYCLISTS ON LIME BIKES NOOO,” tweeted Rhonda during the parade.

The bikers are always the big attraction, but the parade itself didn’t disappoint. Here’s a collection of photos — our thanks to Liz Gallagher, Susanne Donaldson and Debbie Paulsen in the My Ballard Facebook Group — and you can see a lot more on Instagram here.

By the way, the fun in Fremont runs all weekend with the Fremont Fair. More details and the music schedule is available here.

Sunny Fremont hosts Solstice Parade and Fremont Fair this weekend

It’s Fremont’s biggest weekend of the year, and the forecast is sunny and warm. The occasionally-naked and always-colorful Solstice Parade kicks things off tomorrow (Saturday) and the Fremont Fair runs all weekend.

Streets start closing at noon, and that’s about the time the naked cyclists typically make a swing through Ballard to get the blood flowing, often bewildering drivers. Then they head out in advance of the parade, starting at Leary Way and 39th at 12:45 p.m. The parade officially begins at 1 p.m.

We asked the Fremont Arts Council what’s new this year, and they gave us a sneak preview:

Super Moi! is bringing 7’6″ tall rollerblading muppet races. Paradisiax Parasol Project has built a 12″ tricycle-powered parasol tripod. The Seattle Steam Rats have recruited volunteers to build a huge steampunk moving creature with meticulously hand cut gears. The Seattle Women’s Steel Pan Project has transformed a stage performance “Tides of Change” into a probably one of the largest and longest parade ensembles we’ve ever had, incorporating sculpture, music, costuming and dance.

That’s as Fremont as it gets, folks.

This is the 30th anniversary of the parade, and it’s always a packed event. With all the population growth, you might want to head out a little earlier than usual to carve out a spot along the route. (Parking? LOL.) The parade heads right down the middle of Fremont on Leary/36th to Fremont Ave. and then over on 34th to end at Gas Works Park (route map .pdf).

The theme for the Gas Works event this year is “Varieté.” It will feature audience participation events, “fire art”, live music, dancing, a beer garden (with Fremont Brewing, Hale’s Ales and Schilling Cider) and food trucks, to boot. The celebration will run all afternoon and evening.

Once the parade is over, the weekend shifts into the Fremont Fair, which supports the Fremont Chamber of Commerce. As many as 100,000 people are expected to attend over Saturday and Sunday for the hundreds of artists, craft vendors and food booths — not to mention the music lineup and LOTS of beer (especially Corona, which is a big sponsor.)

The forecast is perfect: at last check, it’s slated to reach 78 degrees on Saturday and hit 83 on Sunday. The fair’s hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Have fun out there!

(PS. For more events going on this weekend, check out our calendar).

New restaurant coming to Sunset Hill

The eagle-eyed members of the My Ballard Facebook Group saw that the “for lease” sign has disappeared from the empty space at the corner of 32nd Ave. NW and NW 65th St.

A little investigation later, they found a new restaurant planned for the Sunset Hill spot. It’s called Samara, “a wood-fueled neighborhood bistro,” according to a calendar post on Addo Ballard.

That’s because Addo Ballard — Eric Rivera’s restaurant incubator that’s running (and expanding) at the Royal Drummer — is hosting Samara chef Eric Anderson on June 21st to try out some of the upcoming menu items.

“Get your first taste now, before this future Ballard restaurant gets it’s home just down the street,” explains the Addo listing, which says Samara will open in “early November.” The cost for the Addo event is $50 per person.

So there you go. By the way, the My Ballard Group has been growing like wildfire lately, now approaching 5,000 members.

(Archive photo from last year.)

> See upcoming events in our Ballard calendar <

New ‘curb bulbs’ painted on Leary Ave.

As we previewed last month, the city installed an all-way stop sign, flashing beacon and crosswalk at the confusing intersection of Leary Ave. and Vernon Pl.

With most of the work done, crews have just painted the “curb bulbs,” which come in all different colors and designs — like these blue swirls over on 40th Ave. NE. Instead of a funky design, SDOT went with the brick look, since the intersection is right next door to Old Ballard.

(Photos from SDOT)

6-story apartment building planned for 53rd St.

The stretch of 15th Ave. NW south of Market St. may be getting another apartment building.

A 6-story apartment with 60 small efficiency dwelling units (SEDUs for short) has been proposed for 1446 NW 53th St., next door to the Subway on 15th.

The property is the current home of the gym, Outrageously Fit.

As is typical now for SEDU developments along the 15th Ave. corridor, the proposal does not include any plans for parking.

Red-tailed hawks delay Aurora Bridge repainting

A red-tailed hawk nest temporarily foiled WSDOT’s plans to repaint the Aurora Bridge.

“Though the birds are common to the area, it’s extremely rare for them to nest on bridges,” explains WSDOT’s Marqise Allen in a blog post.

When the birds built the nest in April, WSDOT contacted the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. The painting contractor proposed a work schedule that left the love birds alone, and Fish and Wildlife gave it the go ahead.

WSDOT says the egg hatched in May.

“The baby bird – which our contractor named Gerry – has already taken flight and left the nest for higher beams in the area,” Allen said. “It’ll stay near the nest for the next few months until it builds up enough strength to hunt and fly farther before moving on somewhere else.”

City council repeals head tax in 7-2 vote

That didn’t take long. Just less than a month after the city council voted 9-0 in favor of a head tax on big Seattle businesses, the same council voted 7-2 to repeal it amid chants from the audience.

Councilmembers Kshama Sawant and Teresa Mosqueda voted no.

In a statement after the vote, Amazon said it was “the right decision for the region’s economic prosperity.” The company said it was “deeply committed to being part of the solution to end homelessness in Seattle.”

Yesterday Mayor Jenny Durkan and and 7 councilmembers published a statement. “We heard you,” it said. “It is clear that the ordinance will lead to a prolonged, expensive political fight over the next five months that will do nothing to tackle our urgent housing and homelessness crisis.”

“Hopefully it’s not the end of anything,” said Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell after the vote. “Hopefully it’s the beginning of something.”

“The people who have won are the conservative groups and big businesses, funding organizations who support Trump, who oppose civil rights, and who are refusing to participate in shared responsibility,” tweeted Councilmember Mosqueda.

The council voted after organizers of a referendum to repeal the head tax said they had secured more than enough signatures to put it on the November ballot.

You can watch a video of the proceedings here on KOMO’s Facebook page.