Get ready for an action-packed, sun-filled weekend that’s expected to draw more than 75,000 people to Central Ballard.
The 44th annual SeafoodFest is back with all the fixings — live music, salmon BBQ, lutefisk eating contest, beer gardens, kids events and more — and for the first time, Viking Days will be held at the same time a few blocks away at the new Nordic Museum.
The weather will be quite warm, with the forecast calling for temperatures in the mid-to-upper 80s.
The SeafoodFest kicks off tonight (Friday) at 7 p.m. with a concert featuring #All4Doras and Nite Wave near the belltower on Ballard Ave. You’ll see a full beer and cocktail garden as well as food trucks Nosh, Off the Rez, Paella House and Where Ya At Matt.
Then on Saturday morning at 9 a.m., the Viking Fun Run gets the day started at the new Nordic Museum (2655 NW Market St.) Participants are encouraged to wear “Norse seafaring attire” (which every true Ballardite has in their closet duh), and prizes will be awarded for time winners and best costumes. You can register right here ($40).
SeafoodFest gets underway at 11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, taking over Market St., Ballard Ave., 22nd Ave., Leary Way, Bergen Place and Ballard Commons Park. (In other words, do not attempt to drive through Central Ballard this weekend.) Here’s the map:
SeafoodFest’s big draw is the food, of course. Dozens of food vendors will line Market St. between 20th and 22nd Ave. As always, Trident Seafoods will be BBQing its alder-smoke salmon on 22nd just north of Market. New this year, they’re also offering Penn Cove steamed mussels at the Clam and Mussel Shack along with those king crab legs at the Crab Shack. To pay, buy tokens at the information booth or in the beer garden.
One of our favorite annual events is the lutefisk eating contest. This year will be a particularly taxing event for those 10 unlucky participants: they’ll be inhaling that disgusting slimy fish sludge under a hot afternoon sun. The event begins Sunday at 3 p.m. at Bergen Place.
The music mainstage is at Ballard Ave. and 22nd, and here’s the music lineup with headliners Blitzen Trapper and All Them Witches on Saturday evening.
Just south of the mainstage on Ballard Ave. is Game Plank, an activities space featuring the Miss Homestreet Seafair hydroplane on display, aerial performances by Arcadia Seattle, giant Jenga, corn hole, ladder balls, bucket ball, badminton and a doggie splash. On Sunday, this space turns into the Ballard Farmers Market.
The arts and crafts booths will be on Market St. to the west of 22nd Ave. and along Leary Way.
Up in Ballard Commons Park, you’ll find Kids Deck, which has a packed schedule of events. Seattle Fire’s Engine 18 will be there with bouncy houses, face painting, bubbles and a lot more.
Also at Ballard Commons, the skate park turns into Festi-Bowl on Saturday — the largest all-ages skateboarding competition in Seattle. It will also feature clinics, lessons and live music.
Wait, there’s more! Viking Days has its own schedule of events from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday — if you have yet to explore the new Nordic museum, now’s your chance. The always-popular Swedish pancake breakfast will be served both days from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There’s a full entertainment lineup, plenty of Scandinavian food, crafts, a Viking encampment, kids activities and a beer garden, to boot.
If your head is spinning with all this weekend’s goodness, we’re still not done. Here are a few more tidbits to watch for:
- It’s not opening until this fall due to permit delays, but the Skål Beer Hall at 5429 Ballard Ave. is holding a sneak peek during SeafoodFest. Doors will be open Saturday from 12-4 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Old Ballard Liquor Co. will be hosting its annual food booth, Tumble Swede, with Scandinavian sandwiches “alongside a brand new treat special for this year: lobster tail corndogs!” Oh my. The booth will be located on Market Street, in front of Camera Tech and Lil’ Woody’s.
- The Salmon Bay Eagles are hosting an open house membership drive on Saturday to coincide with SeafoodFest. “The community is encouraged to come on down during the fest and enjoy drink specials on the patio and free live music later on in the evening.” Kids are welcome. Located on 20th Ave. between Russell and Leary.
Is there anything we’re missing? Feel free to add in comments, and have fun out there!