40th annual SeafoodFest this Saturday and Sunday


By Joe Veyera

The heart of Ballard is going to the fish this weekend, as the 40th annual Ballard SeafoodFest takes over Northwest Market Street this Saturday and Sunday.

From 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, the free event — produced by the Ballard Chamber of Commerce — will feature dozens of food, arts & crafts, non-profit, and sponsor vendors.

Bands from Seattle and Portland will take to the Ballard Avenue mainstage, with funk band Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme capping things off on Saturday night starting at 8:30 p.m., with the American folk rock sounds of Sallie Ford finishing things off on Sunday at 6 p.m.

Now in its second year, the Ballard BeerFest will have plenty of nanobrews, microbrews, and the best beers from Ballard and around the Pacific Northwest. Meanwhile, Ballard Commons Park will play host to a new addition to this year’s fest on Saturday afternoon from 3 to 9 p.m. The Ballard Skate Festi-Bowl will include skateboarding instruction, a slalom event, a kids skate exhibition, and a competition in the Ballard Commons Bowl.

For the younger crowd, most activities will be at Ballard Commons Park, including the family stage, which will have music and performances from noon to 5 p.m. each day.

Of course, SeafoodFest wouldn’t be complete without the classic salmon barbecue at 22nd Avenue Northwest and Northwest 56th Street., where for $12 attendees can get alder-smoked salmon, garlic bread, cole slaw, and a drink.

For more information on SeafoodFest, including a full list of vendors, click here.


Patxi’s Pizza nears opening of Ballard Avenue location

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By Joe Veyera

A San Francisco-based pizza chain is nearing the opening of its first location in the Pacific Northwest in Ballard in the coming weeks.

Patxi’s Pizza, which has nine locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, and another three in Denver, will begin serving up their Chicago-style at 5323 Ballard Ave NW in the Sanborn Building shortly.

“The Northwest is a region with a passion for culture, art, technology, outdoor adventure and last, but not least, great food,” said William Freeman, one of Patxi’s co-founders, in a press release. “Seattle, and Ballard in particular, has a deep pride in its heritage and a strong commitment to giving back to the community. This authentic spirit and devotion to healthy lifestyles is a perfect blend with the Patxi’s brand and initiatives such as our 52 Weeks of Giving charitable program. We look forward to sharing a portion of our profits with local nonprofit organizations dedicated to education and children’s health and welfare.”



In a release, it was noted that Patxi’s will offer an array of healthy options, and choices for those with dietary restrictions or food allergies, including a gluten-free thin crust option and many alternative vegan and dairy-free cheese options.

“My passion is pizza and it’s an honor to bring Patxi’s Pizza to a new community in Seattle,” said Francisco “Patxi” Azpiroz, Patxi’s other co-founder, in a release.

Patxi’s will also offer delivery, with a service area that will extend to the Ship Canal and Salmon Bay to the south, Puget Sound to the west, Northwest 80th Street to the north, and Highway 99/Aurora Ave North to the east.

(Photos courtesy of Patxi’s Pizza)

City Council Committee Meeting in Ballard next Wednesday

By Joe Veyera

A trio of Seattle City Council members will be on hand for a committee meeting focused on housing affordability at the Ballard Community Center (6020 28th Ave NW) next Wednesday evening.

Councilmembers Sally J. Clark, Mike O’Brien, and Tom Rasmussen will be in attendance for a special meeting of the Committee on Housing Affordability, Human Services, and Economic Resiliency meeting from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., which is slated to include presentations from the Office of Housing, the Tenants Union, and Ballard community members. Thirty minutes will also be allotted for public comment.

According to their website, the Committee’s role is to, “provide policy direction and oversight and to deliberate and make recommendations on legislative matters relating to:

  • housing policies and programs;
  • human services, homelessness, child care, aging, and disability services;
  • local and regional public health;
  • Major Institution Master Plans; and
  • economic development policies and programs.”

For more information on the Committee, click here. Regular Committee meetings are held on the first and third Thursday of each month at 9:30 a.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

Anyone with questions on the meeting is asked to contact Jesse Gilliam in Councilmember Clark’s office at 206-684-8802 or jesse.gilliam@seattle.gov.

Reuben’s Brews nets awards 2014 U.S. Open Beer Championship


By Joe Veyera

A family-owned Ballard brewery took home high marks at 2014 U.S. Open Beer Championship.

Rueben’s Brews (1406 NW 53rd St) tied for fourth place on the list of Top 10 Breweries for 2014, its second top 10 finish in the competition in as many years, after finishing sixth in 2013. Rueben’s was the only Washington state brewery to make the Top 10.

The brewery also netted four medals — gold for its Roggenbier in the Rye/Roggen Beer category, silver for its Auld Heritage (Aged Beer) and American Brown (American Brown Ale), and bronze for its Classic Dry Irish Stout (Classic Dry Irish Stout).

“We were very excited to hear how well we did this year,” said Reuben’s Brews co-founder and head brewer Adam Robbings in a press release. “It’s fantastic to be recognized in such a large competition with so many great breweries. We’ve won some nice recognition so far, but this is definitely the highlight!”

As one of the biggest brewery competitions in the world, the U.S. Open Beer Championship is the only one to include both professional breweries and award-winning home-brewers. This year, entries included more than 3,000 beers from 300 breweries in 20 different countries.

Since opening in 2012, Rueben’s has also won several other accolades, including two gold medals at the 2014 Washington Beer Awards, and was named runner up Best Small Brewery in the 2013 Washington Beer Awards

For more information on Rueben’s Brews, and their award winning beers, click here.

Block party at Ballard Community Center this Sunday


By Joe Veyera

The Ballard Community Center (6020 28th Ave NW) will play host to the launch of an annual Ballard Block Party this Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m.

A collaboration between the Vona Church (2601 NW Market St) and the Seattle Creative Arts Center (SCAC), the event will feature live music, activities, games, inflatables, and a barbecue. An arts district on the grounds will be sponsored by the SCAC.

“This is a chance for the Ballard community to come together, have some fun and support our neighborhood!” reads a post on Vona’s website for the event.

While admission is free, donations of canned food will be accepted for the Ballard Food BankTaco Time is also a sponsor of the event, and will be giving out free food.

The Vona Church is a relatively new addition to the neighborhood, having just held their first Sunday service back in April, and labels themselves as, “A church in Ballard for Ballard.”

For more information on the event, click here.

The monthly Ballard real estate recap

Long time Ballard resident and local Real Estate Broker Sharon Giampietro will be sharing a post on My Ballard each month to keep readers informed about the local real estate market. Giampietro comes from a long line of realtors and has lived in Ballard for 30 years. She is currently a Broker at Windermere Real Estate in Greenwood.

Check out Giampietro’s recap of how Greater Ballard fared this month below:

Summer is finally here, and with it the start of a traditionally slower Real Estate cycle. In June, it wasn’t surprising to see the number of listings at 260, down from May’s number of 278.  The number of sales, at 194, was also down a bit from 202 in May. New construction, although still modest in numbers, is providing some alternatives for buyers with 50 new units added (residential and condo combined) in June – about twice the number added last month and last year at this time. It seems like new construction is popping up all over the area, a striking sight after several years of very little building during the real estate downturn. The number of condos listed stayed constant (just over 60 added) as did the number sold (about 40).   Our housing supply continues to be under 1.5 months, however, and it is still a seller’s market with pre-inspections and multiples offers common.

Prices, on the other hand, are not slowing down! The average price of a residential home went up again from $539,000 in May, to $571,000 in June, a 5% rise this month alone and just over a 15% rise in the first 6 months of this year. (All of 2013 saw a 10% rise).  For buyers, hope springs that rising prices will result in more inventory as “on the fence” homeowners contemplate listing.  Buyers are waiting for more choices and wishing for a slowdown in prices.  Many sellers are happy to see their home values come up and buyers are being prepared by their Real Estate Brokers to meet the realities of today’s market.

Condos, short sales and bank owned properties have in the past, provided lower cost ways to buy homes in the greater Ballard area. For condos, prices were up again this month from an average sale price of $286,000 last month to $304,000 in June this month, about a 5% increase. Less than 5% of sales this month were short sales or bank owned, signaling a continued downward trend in this housing stock. Relatively low interest rates are still available. It may be a good time for buyers and sellers to check in with their lenders to get their take on what to anticipate in the next 6 months in this vital part of the home buying process.

Greater Ballard is Greenwood, Green Lake, Wallingford and other close by neighborhoods identified as “705” in the NWMLS.  All residential and condo numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand and unless noted does not include new construction. Statistics not compiled or published by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. 

Two Backyard Bard performances at Salmon Bay Park this month


By Joe Veyera

Shakespeare fans in Ballard will have the chance to take in the works of the Bard in a quaint setting over the next three weeks, as GreenStage brings a pair of its “Backyard Bard” performances to Salmon Bay Park (2001 NW Canoe Pl).

Designed for smaller spaces compared to their bigger “Shakespeare in the Park” shows, “Backyard Bard” performances are comprised of four-actors (often playing multiple roles), and are designed to serve as a gentle introduction to the best parts of the larger play, while bringing the story to life in more intimate venues across Seattle.

This Saturday, “All’s Well That Ends Well,” will be performed, with Ty Bonneville as Helena, Chris Martinez: Bertram/Lafeu, Anna Richardson as Countess/King/Widow, and Helen Roundhill as Duke/Parolles/Diana.

On July 25, “The Comedy of Errors” will take the stage, with Bonneville as Luciana and Balthazar, Martinez as Antipholus, Roundhill as Dromio, and Richardson as Adriana.

Both performances, directed by Marc “Mok” Moser, are free, and start at 7 p.m. Each show runs for approximately 45 minutes. All performance information is subject to change.

For more information on the shows, click here.

Central Ballard Residents Association monthly meeting this Thursday


By Joe Veyera

Land use issues in the Central Ballard core will be the main topic of discussion at the Central Ballard Residents Association‘s (CBRA) monthly meeting on Thursday evening.

David Goldberg from the Seattle Department of Planning and Development (DPD) will be on hand to talk about the Ballard Urban Design.  The Ballard Framework is a process where the DPD is working with Ballard stakeholders and citizens to look at various design issues in the central core of Ballard.

The CBRA will continue their discussion on a business improvement area proposed by the Ballard Partnership for Smart Growth, of which CBRA is a stakeholder. 

Formed in February 2012, the CBRA was founded with the aim of providing a public forum for Ballard residents to discuss community issues and to serve as a voice of Central Ballard with the community, government and other organizations. According to their website, the CBRA also advocates on behalf of its members to promote a healthy, livable, walkable, and safe community in the neighborhood’s historic core.

The boundaries of Central Ballard as noted by the CBRA are from Northwest 65th Street between 15th Avenue Northwest and 28th Avenue Northwest, and from Northwest 57th Street between 28th Avenue Northwest and 32nd Avenue Northwest, to Salmon Bay.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in in Conference Room A on the ground floor of Ballard Swedish Hospital (5330 Tallman Ave NW). The CBRA meets the second Thursday of each month, and does not meet in August and December.

For more information on the CBRA, click here.