Nearby: Wallingford Wurst Festival kicks off tonight

If you’re keen for another free local festival to check out this weekend, the Great Wallingford Wurst Festival is happening on Friday and Saturday with live music and a celebration of bratwursts. The festival is at St. Benedict Catholic School (4811 Wallingford Ave N) from 4pm to midnight tonight (Friday), and all day tomorrow starting at 11am.

There will be live music from 16 local bands, plenty of food and beverages, a bouncy house and “Fun Zone” with games for kids, plus local artists selling crafts, and a book fair.

For more about the festival or to RSVP, visit their Facebook page about the event. The event is free and open to the general public.

> See upcoming events in our Ballard calendar <

Ship Canal Water Quality Project is underway in Ballard

The massive project to improve water quality in the Ship Canal started this week in Ballard.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is building a 2.7-mile tunnel along the Ship Canal that will hold up to 29 million gallons of stormwater and sewage during heavy rains, which will then be diverted to King County’s West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Work began at SPU’s Ballard Operations Building site (5300 24th Ave NW) this week with crews mobilizing equipment, building temporary fencing and delivering construction materials to the site. Crews also set up temporary environmental control measure to protect trees (photo below), performed construction surveys, and did soil sampling around the site.

Upcoming work includes digging pits at NW 54th St and 24th Ave NW and installing a new water main extension under the Ballard Terminal Railroad. They’re digging trenches along the railroad to avoid disrupting railroad operations, and will place a silt boom or curtain) to protect water quality to the Ship Canal and Salmon Bay during construction. And soon, a barge will be arriving on site to prepare for pile installation for a new pier.

Crews will be out working Monday to Friday, 7am to 6pm. During construction, you can expect restricted parking along 24th Ave NW, and extra construction noise, dust and vibrations in the area.

The project is anticipated to wrap up next summer — here’s a PDF for background information and project details.

15th annual Sustainable Ballard Fest is this weekend

One of the neighborhood’s most quirky and eco-friendly events is back this weekend, set to take over Ballard Commons Park on Saturday, Sept. 22.

It’s the 15th annual Sustainable Ballard Festival, filling the Commons from 11am to 4pm. “Eclectic, artsy, earthy, urban and committed to a better future… that’s Sustainable Ballard,” the organizers write. “Join your Ballard neighbors for creativity, passion and community-building while learning about daily practices and big steps toward more sustainable living. This year’s theme is “Find Your Path” focusing on the many ways that neighbors are connecting to improve the community.”

There will be all the markings of a fall festival, with fresh cider making and farm animals to meet, and of course plenty of workshops and hands-on games for all ages. Here’s a few of the exhibits you can expect to see:

Look into a retrofitted ambulance that serves as Washington state’s first marine wildlife emergency response unit. The ambulance is owned by Sealife Response, Rehabilitation and Research (SR3), and provides life-saving transport for marine animals. Some of the medical crew will be on site to answer questions and talk about how the ambulance works as a mobile hospital.

You can build a birdhouse at the Built Green booth, make your own paper at the Artist & Craftsman Supply, or and visit the solar trailer to learn about solar panels and make your own solar-powered kinetic art. (Here’s a rundown of the different events.)

Plenty of local businesses and neighborhood groups will be there; here’s a full list of exhibitors.

Neighborhood cleanup collects 154 pounds of trash from downtown Ballard

A group of volunteers picked up 154 pounds of trash from downtown Ballard last weekend, as part of a West Coast cleanup tour initiated by two brothers from Kingston, Washington.

Nick and Hans Schippers, in partnership with Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, led the two-hour cleanup  last weekend starting from Patagonia on Ballard Ave. Just over a dozen volunteers armed with plastic gloves and garbage bags joined in, making their way west on NW Market St, left past the Nordic Museum, and then down the train tracks to Shilshole. The cleanup party then made their way north on 22nd Ave NW, left on Ballard Ave, and back up to the Patagonia store.

The Schippers brothers arranged the cleanup as part of their nine-month West Coast tour, aiming to educate at least 10,000 students about plastic pollution in the ocean. They’ll stage cleanups along the way, and keep track of their progress.

The Ballard cleanup was the kickoff for the tour, which will hit all the major coastal towns from Washington to California.

The brothers have also set up a GoFundMe campaign, raising money to help them on their journey south; click here to donate.

> See upcoming events in our Ballard calendar <

Reminder: PARK(ing) Day is tomorrow

Tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 21) is the day where parking spots around the city turn into pop-up parklets.

PARK(ing) Day is a global event, and takes place on the third Friday of September of every year. The idea is to “reimagine how streets can be used,” and allowing for communities to create small park spaces where it’s currently limited.

This year, the city has created six neighborhood “clusters” where people can combine their pop-up parks and benefit from better visibility. The clusters are in areas with high foot traffic in Beacon Hill, Capitol Hill, West Seattle, U. District, Lake City, and Rainier Beach.

Also new this year are awards for the parks with the best designs. There are three categories: the Pavement Upcycle Award for the most creative use of space; the Collective Effervescence Award for the park most connected to community; and the TRUST Award for the park with the most interactive programming. The park designers with the most votes will win; click here to learn how to get involved.

The awards will be announced at the Seattle Design Festival event from 7pm to 9pm at The Center for Architecture and Design (1010 Western Avenue).

Send photos of your Ballard parklets to


Help make Seattle (and Ballard) more walkable

The Seattle Department of Transportation wants to make Seattle a more walkable city, so they’re asking locals to help draft walking directions and information in various neighborhoods. SDOT says it’s part of a year-long project to encourage Seattleites and visitors to walk more, and further.

The department hopes to find 8 to 10 people to join in one of two different discussions about wayfinding in Seattle. The two-hour discussions will be held Oct. 10 at the Central Library (1000 4th Ave), either in the afternoon from 2 to 4pm, or in the evening from 5:30 to 7:30pm.

Those interested in volunteering for the focus group should email by September 27, and indicate availability to participate in the afternoon or evening session. “To help us gather a representative sample of community members, please tell us something about yourself, including the neighborhood in which you live or work and the reasons why you walk,” SDOT says.

All participants who attend will also get a $60 gift card to Safeway.

Photo from SDOT’s Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board site

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.


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