Massive garage sale at Ballard Tool Library this weekend

Ballard’s Tool Library is hosting its first ever garage sale this Sunday, Sept. 23 from noon to 5pm at their headquarters, 7549B 15th Ave NW.

“Fill out your tool collection while supporting Sustainable Ballard at the same time,” the organizers write. “We’ll have circular saws, chop saws, drills, hammers, wrenches, and more.” Prices should range between $1 and $5 on many items.

Also, a heads up: the tool library recently changed their hours to help accommodate people who want to work on projects over the weekend. They’ll keep their Tuesday/Thursday hours (5 to 8pm) but now will also be open on Saturdays from 9am to 11am and Sundays, 2pm to 5pm.

They’re also looking for some help; email to learn how to become a tool librarian or substitute tool librarian.


> See upcoming events in our Ballard calendar <

Taki’s Mad Greek restaurant reopens on NW 85th St

After closing in July, Taki’s Mad Greek has reopened just around the corner at 1471 NW 85th St.

The Greek restaurant, well known for their gyros, platters and regular live music and belly dancing, moved from their old location at 8539 15th Ave NW, where they operated since 2002.

The owner and head chef, Taki (Demetrios) Dotis, is a man of many talents — he’s also a professional musician, often playing with his band on Saturday nights at the restaurant. His first music night in the new location is this coming Saturday, Sept. 22.

“Taki played all last weekend at the Greek Festival so he is ready to entertain you at his new place!” they write on their Facebook page.

Taki’s hours are Monday to Friday, 11am – 9pm, and Saturday, 11am to midnight (closed on Sundays).

Fair Isle Brewing launches crowdfunding campaign for investors

The next big brewery to come to Ballard, Fair Isle Brewing, is taking on a crowdfunding approach to find investors to build and launch the brewery. They’ve created a NextSeed campaign, in which investors can invest as little as $100 in the brewery, which in time produces financial returns and some VIP perks. Fair Isle will be built at 936 NW 49th St, right in the epicenter of the Ballard brewing scene.

The owners of Fair Isle, Andrew Pogue and Geoffrey Barker, are taking a somewhat unique method in their process of launching the brewery; total transparency. They’ve published part of their business plan on their blog, and say they’ll release portions of their plan every month, with plans to publish the whole document.

“From the beginning, we intended to pay it forward and share our business plan in the hope that it can be a valuable tool to someone embarking on their next adventure,” the owners say.

Their crowdfunding campaign has a similar tone, allowing potential investors to see the true scope of what it costs to start up a brewery in the heart of the Ballard beer scene. According to the details, the full project will cost $1.35 million — that includes production equipment (brewhouse, fermenters, cellar equipment, etc), brewery and tasting room build-out, working capital and a “contingency buffer”. They say the owners have committed $496,000 to date. 

Their minimum campaign goal is $200,000, with 72 days left. As of now, they’ve raised $21,000.

The working capital will be used to pay for inventory, supplies, rent and salaries before they open, as they’ll have to start brewing months before they open — they say the quickest turnaround for their farmhouse beers is 90 days from brew to customer. They’ll likely start the first batch four to five months before they open up shop.

They’ve also released sketches of the brewery build-out, which they say will seat 50 inside, and another 50 in a seasonal outdoor beer garden. “The Fair Isle design aesthetic will be a marriage of the Northwest farmhouse and Danish modern – clean and simple, with a lived-in natural feel that elevates the beer, fosters community and nurtures a connection with the craft, time and place that the beers embody,” they write on their campaign page.

Still no word on their location, although they hint that they’ll be amongst their fellow brewers “in the heart of Seattle’s ‘Ballard Brewery District'”.

They plan to open in summer of 2019.

Images courtesy Fair Isle Brewing

Freakout Festival coming back to Ballard this fall

One of Seattle’s annual, homegrown festivals is back again for 2018, taking over Ballard in November. It’s called the Freakout Festival (originally known as the Psychedelic Holiday Freakout Festival in 2013), planned for Friday Nov. 16 and Saturday Nov. 17.

Guy Keltner started the festival, which has morphed over the years but has always been an event to support and promote the local Seattle music community. Record company Freakout Records was born from the fest, which now supports nine local bands.

The line-up for the Freakout Fest 2019 includes Shabazz Palaces, Deap Vally, All Them Witches, Night Beats, Los Blenders, and more — check out the full line-up here. Shows will be all over the neighborhood, with gigs planned for the Tractor, Sunset Tavern, Conor Bryne, Salmon Bay Eagles, Lagunitas, and Sonic Boom Records. There will be some curated stages from Seattle’s Vera Project, Artist Home, Portland’s X-Ray FM, San Francisco’s Sea Witch Productions and KEXP’s El Sonido and Street Sounds.

Early bird tickets are now available online ($35 per night or $60 for two nights — tickets valid for all venues).

Photo of Youngblood by Eric Tra/Freakout Records

> See upcoming events in our Ballard calendar <

6-story apartment building to replace Grumpy D’s and other 15th Ave businesses

Grumpy D’s Coffee House and several other businesses on 15th Ave NW will have to move to make way for a massive six-story apartment building construction.

Marta Kurtz, owner of Grumpy D’s, says their current lease goes through December 2019, and the future is uncertain after that. They’re looking for a new location, but so far, have come up empty.

“When they told us, we started looking for a new place, but there is nothing. All the buildings that have businesses on the bottom are all small office spaces,” she says, adding that they’d prefer to stay in Ballard.

“If we move far, we don’t have the clientele anymore. It would be like starting all over again,” Kurtz tells My Ballard. “And that first year was rough.”

According to the city’s land use records, the development will be a 6-story building with 12 live/work units, 68 small efficiency dwelling units, 83 apartment units and commercial space at ground level, with parking for 63 vehicles proposed.

Photo of Dan and Marta Kurtz from Grumpy D’s website

Thanks to Gina for the tip

Nordic happenings: Leif Erikson fundraiser and 112th bazaar

If you need a reminder of your Nordic roots, you’ll have a couple opportunities this fall, with the annual Ski for Light fundraiser and 112th Leif Erikson bazaar in the coming weeks.

Ski for Light is a dinner to raise money for cross-country skiing instruction for the visually and mobility impaired, happening on Saturday, Sept. 22 at the Leif Erikson Hall (2245 NW 57th St). The skiing group meets every other Saturday through the winter at the Sons of Norway Trollhaugen Recreation Area near Stampede Pass. For the dinner, they’ll be serving alder cooked salmon or cod, with a social half-hour at 6:30pm and dinner to follow. Music will be by Nordic Reflections; tickets are $25. Make reservations by calling Erling Berg (206) 362-0629 or the Leif Erikson Hall office (206) 783-1274.

The 112th bazaar is in October, and brings all things Nordic to the free, two-day event at the Leif Erikson Lodge. “Have some family fun while enjoying Nordic food from our tastefully designed sandwiches to the delicate krumkake cone and the hearty ertesuppe/pea soup, lapskaus/lamb stew, and rømmegrøt, a silky sour cream porridge,” the organizers write. They’ll be selling books, antiques, collectibles and have spot raffles with prizes such as gift certificates to local restaurants and businesses, plus a cash prize of $1200.

Items for sale will include rosemaling, (Norway’s folk painting), by Judy’s Painted Treasures; Nordic Folklore including unique paintings of Nordic costumes and unique gifts; American Girl doll dresses and more by Connie; Handmade by Hansen with children’s clothes and jewelry; and jewelry from Sons of Norway.

The bazaar will be held Oct. 20 and 21, from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, and 11am to 4pm on Sunday.  Free admission and free parking in designated local parking lots for the event only.

Daytime closures at the Ballard Locks this week

The Ballard Locks will be closed for 10 hours on Tuesday and Wednesday (Sept. 18 and 19) this week for dive operations. The closures will be in effect from 6am to 4pm each day, and the locks will be closed to all marine traffic but emergency vessels.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, divers will inspect a saltwater drain screen structure immediately upstream of the locks and inspect the large lock chamber work gates. The drain screen is used to prevent salmon from entering the locks’ saltwater return intake; divers will open 10, 10-foot-by-6-foot doors and inspect the 30-by-60 foot curved-front, mesh screen structure. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closes the doors and inspects the structure annually before salmon migration season begins mid-June and reopens the doors mid-September.

The work gate inspection is in preparation for the upcoming large lock annual maintenance closure, happening in late October. This year the large chamber will close October 29 and reopen November 21.

Photo from the Locks Facebook page, of last year’s locks tours

Ballard scavenger hunt to fundraise for Parkinson’s is next month

The annual Adventure Race for Parkinson’s is next month, leading over 200 hundred participants on a massive neighborhood-wide scavenger hunt through Ballard. The race is on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 12 to 4:30pm. 

The race was started by Jen and Chris Adams, after Chris was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 42. Along with friends, the Adams set up the adventure race to raise awareness and money for the American Parkinson Disease Association.

“One of the common misconceptions about Parkinson’s is that it only impacts the elderly,” Jen Adams said. “But more and more people are learning to identify the symptoms of early onset. While the Adventure Race requires stamina, it also gives those in our community living Parkinson’s a chance to participate and engage.”

For the race, costumed teams of up to four will race through Ballard, stopping at businesses and other locations to compete in mental and physical tasks to collect points. Winning teams will win prizes from local business. It will begin at Trident Seafoods (5303 Shilshole Ave NW), continuing around Ballard and ending with a party at Peddler Brewing Company (1514 NW Leary Way) from 2:30pm to 4:30pm with prizes, a raffle, and a live auction. 

Online registration is now open — participants are encouraged to sign up in advance.

Photo courtesy American Parkinson Disease Association – Northwest Chapter

Ballard High School kicks off fall theater program with Big Love

The theater department at Ballard High School is gearing up for their first performance of the year, with Big Love taking the stage in October.

“This year’s plays and musicals are all comedies and still they reflect our times with serious elements or overtones,” theatre director Shawn M. Riley said in a release. “Viewers will get to witness strong female characters in volatile situations, struggling characters driven to finally get their shot, and the calculated jockeying that frequently occurs in places of power. The themes are timeless, and Ballard students get to explore them creatively.”

From BHS:

Big Love covers high-stakes terrain in the story of Lydia and 49 Greek brides who have fled to an Italian villa to avoid marrying their cousins. The grooms soon follow—ready to claim what they consider theirs. As the characters wait for their wedding day, they raise issues of gender politics, love, domestic violence, and migration. With its modern music and arresting action, the play asks big questions that resonate today: What makes a man, a woman, a human being, a displaced person?

Inspired by Aeschylus’s Greek tragedy The Suppliants, Big Love was written by Charles Mee and first debuted in 2000.

Big Love performance dates will be October 11 – 13 and 18 – 20. The plays are open to the general public. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students/seniors. Advance tickets are available here (search for “Ballard High School.”) To request discounted season or group tickets, contact Shawn Riley at

Funnel cloud spotted from Ballard

Matt Crissman was shopping in Ballard around 12:30 p.m. today (Sunday) when he spotted a funnel cloud in the distance to the west.

“(I) was about to walk into Fred Meyer and thought, damn, I really need to film this!” he told My Ballard. So naturally, he recorded it on video and posted it on Twitter:

The National Weather Service in Seattle responded to his tweet, acknowledging it appeared to be a funnel cloud, which are much weaker than tornadoes and don’t touch the ground. It’s unclear if this one was over Ballard proper or over the water in Elliott Bay.

“Back in college, I actually started as a meteorology major, so it’s still a hobby for me,” Matt said. “The radar had been crazy all morning so (I) knew something could happen.”