Dumbledore Santa is coming to Diagon Alley in Ballard this weekend

Ballard’s own Diagon Alley will host a special visitor this Saturday and Sunday: Dumbledore Santa himself. And it’s shaping up to be a big holiday event.

“Our Dumbledore Santa is a 30-year small theater pro,” explains Jon Chambers, who created Diagon Alley in his Ballard driveway for Halloween. “He will be getting professional hair and beard extensions Saturday morning from a professional volunteering her time.”

That’s just for starters. Nearly 30 Harry Potter characters — lots of wizards — will make appearances at various times over the weekend. A new two-story children’s playhouse in the likeness of Gringotts bank — complete with the dragon on top, created by artist Frank Carillo — will open for the first time along with the Leaky Cauldron playhouse.

“The girls are selling Harry Potter themed sugar cookies, peppermint hot cocoa and Butter Beer from the newly completed Leaky Cauldron,” explains Chambers.

And there will be snow: 180 gallons of fake snow covering the alley.

“We are expecting massive crowds and lines, so we are treating the event like Halloween and cycling people through around scansions. We will have helpers on site for crowd control,” he said.

Chamber estimates as many as 10,000 people have visited Diagon Alley so far, and he’s raised $8,400 for pancreatic cancer research — and counting. All donations taken at the door will also go to PurpleStride.

Santa will be visiting this Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. The address is 7514 13th Ave NW.

Sunset Hill home heavily damaged in fire

(Photo by Seattle Fire)

Just after 10 last night, firefighters responded to 71st. St. and 30th Ave. in Sunset Hill for a report of flames showing from a two-story home. Fortunately by the time they arrived, the residents had safely evacuated.

Firefighters made short work of the fire, but the second floor sustained heavy damage. This morning Seattle Fire says an electrical fire ignited nearby combustibles in the upstairs bedroom. They estimate the loss to be $290,000.

The Red Cross was called to help the two displaced residents.

‘Hop Idol’ contest is back at Reuben’s Brews

Are you brewing in your garage? Have dreams of distributing your own beer?

Reuben’s Brews is bringing back its “Hop Idol” contest for a second year. Jonathan Cooper won the first annual contest, and Reuben’s brewed a 30 barrel batch of his IPA to serve in the Ballard taproom and distribute in draft and bottles throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Like last year, this year’s winner will be entered in the Pro-Am category at the Great American Beer Festival. Just make sure you’re entering a “hop-forward” brew.

Here are the rules. You have time to perfect your creation — the entry deadline is February 12th.

Ballard business briefs: The Mailbox, Fit Massage, Fit36

  • The longtime owner of The Mailbox in Loyal Heights, Ferrol Williams, is retiring after 21 years and has sold the business to Ballard residents Andrew and Melissa Wagenbrenner. A neighborhood welcome party is scheduled for Dec. 16th, 4-5 p.m., at The Mailbox at 24th Ave. and 80th St.
  • Over in the new My Ballard Forum, Tailwind asks “Is Fit Massage out of business?” Windows are papered over at the corner of Leary and Vernon, and the website has disappeared. However, it appears the separate business, Fit Wellness Center, remains open in the same building.
  • Speaking of fit, the high-intensity workout club Fit36 is coming to 5603 24th Ave. Here are some photos of the construction work inside.
  • Ballard High School wins $100,000 for improved library technology

    (Photo from Keven Wynkoop aka @theheadbeaver on Twitter)

    Thanks in part to the community’s votes, Ballard High School has won a $100,000 grant from Farmers Insurance “Thank Americas Teachers” program.

    Applying for the grant was the brainstorm of BHS teacher TuesD Chambers, pictured above with principal Keven Wynkoop at last night’s Ballard High School Foundation event.

    “Our library has a bank of outdated computers that damper collaboration and stifle any flexibility,” explained Chambers in a video proposal for the grant. “The $100,000 Farmer’s Grant would change our school and community by having students interact with one another and interact with people in the world…. That would mean taking the space and making it light-filled. It means taking out the furniture that is making it so that students can’t collaborate,” she says. “In this day and age we have to teach our students to be digital citizens, but also how to be digital leaders.”

    Well done!

    Lights coming to Ballard High’s athletic field

    After a public meeting and comment period last month, the city has approved plans to build floodlights at Ballard High School’s athletic field.

    The lights will enable Ballard’s many outdoor teams — including football, soccer, lacrosse and track and field — more time to practice before school begins (8:45 a.m.) and after school gets out (3:35 p.m), especially during the winter. The lighting will also enable more community use of the field, according to Seattle Schools.

    The plan is to erect 32 shielded LED floodlights on steel poles. The two poles on the west side of the field will be 70-feet tall, and the two poles on the east side will 90-feet tall. The school district says the heights of the poles were selected to “minimize light spillage outside the athletic complex.”

    The lights will run automatically, turning on at dusk and running until 10 p.m. during field events. During the winter, the lights may also be lit during morning practices.

    Construction is expected to begin this summer and take four weeks.

    Ballard boys basketball tips off season with live radio coverage

    The Ballard High basketball season begins tonight with home games against Glacier Peak. The freshmen (JVC) game begins at 4:15, JV is at 5:45 and varsity kicks off at 7:15 p.m.

    If you can’t make the varsity game, you can still listen to the action live on the new community radio station KBFG (107.3 FM and streaming here). The new live broadcast will be hosted by former Ballard head coach Billy Rodgers and former Assistant Coach Jon Adams, who call themselves the “Coaches2x” broadcast team (pictured above).

    As for the varsity hoop dreams this season, assistant coach Jaime Quick sums it up:

    Coming off a thrilling playoff run last year, the Beavers are rebuilding after all 5 starters left that inspiring team from last season – however a young crop of hungry players have been working year round for the season upon us. A good time to be a Beaver fan!

    Head coach and math teacher Mike Broom is back again this year to lead the varsity team. Ballard alum Brad Baker is coaching the JV team and alum Ron Coacher is leading the JVCs.

    Here’s the schedule for the year:

    Go Beavers!

    1 dead, 1 injured in Interbay shooting

    Update: Just after 7 this morning, police and fire rushed to the 3000 block of 14th Ave. W, right across from the Interbay Golf Course.

    One person was discovered dead, another wounded in a shooting, according to KOMO News. A fire chief told KOMO the shooting was isolated to the two people discovered at the scene, which indicates a likely attempted murder-suicide.

    Police have not released any other details. Traffic on 15th Ave. does not seem to be impacted.