Hale’s Ales celebrating 35th anniversary

While most Ballard-area breweries are just a few years old, Fremont’s Hale’s Ales is celebrating its 35th anniversary this month.

It all began back in 1982 when Mike Hale spent a year of apprenticeship brewing at Gale’s Ales Brewery in Horndean, England. A year later, Hale’s Ales was founded in Colville, WA, using refashioned dairy equipment to make up the brewing line. At the time, there were fewer than 100 breweries in the country, the company says.

Now Hale’s is the longest-running independently-owned brewery in the Northwest.

“We sold our first keg on July 4, 1983,” says founder Mike Hale. “We’ve been having fun ever since.”

To celebrate, Hale’s is throwing a 35th anniversary party on Saturday, July 28th from 1 to 6 p.m. They’ll have live music, vintage and rare beer samplings and brewery tours.

SeafoodFest and Viking Days combine on Ballard’s biggest summer weekend

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!

Volunteer to clean Ballard Bridge’s sidewalks

If you’re feeling industrious this Saturday, head on down to Peddler Brewing for the quarterly cleaning of the sidewalks along the Ballard Bridge.

“While we impatiently wait for the city to make it safer to cross, we’re doing our part to keep it clean! Peddler has adopted the Ballard Bridge Sidewalk through the Adopt-A-Street Program,” explains the event listing from Peddler Brewing.

To help with the clean-up this Saturday, first RSVP here. Then meet at Peddler Brewing (near the bridge at 1514 NW Leary Way) at 9:45 a.m. You’ll be back at the brewery by noon to enjoy a beer.

Perfect weather for Lake Union fireworks show

More than 10,000 pounds of fireworks are locked and loaded on a barge floating on Lake Union. It’s all for the annual Fourth of July show at Gas Works Park.

The temperature around fireworks time is expected to be 72 degrees.

Our friends at GeekWire boarded the barge on Tuesday to watch workers prep for the 20-minute fireworks display. One of the new additions this year is called “The Lollipop,” which is suspended by a forklift on the barge and rotates in a circle. And at the beginning of the show, hundreds of white strobes will float on the surface of the lake.

While the fireworks get underway after dark, the festivities at Gas Works begin at noon with a full schedule of musical acts and plenty of food and drink.

Of course, this time of year brings the usual chaos to Fremont and Wallingford, as thousands of people descend on Gas Works, looking for parking. And it’s also time for Seattle PD’s usual but very real warning that fireworks are illegal — it could cost you a fine of $5,000! — but there’s always that neighbor who fires it off, anyways.

“911 call centers are typically inundated on the 4th with reports of fireworks-related injuries and house fires,” explains Seattle PD. “Because of that influx of calls, please only use 911 to report life-threatening emergencies.”

Seattle firefighters responded to 68 fireworks related incidents last year, and there were 262 injuries. So perhaps you should just watch the Lake Union show and call it good.

PS. Happy Fourth of July everyone!!

Busy summer on Ballard’s events calendar

Just a quick reminder that My Ballard is home to North Seattle’s largest community events calendar, especially now that summer is in full swing.

We only post a small fraction of events here on the home page, so it pays to keep an eye on the events page. (Not to mention, many of these events are hosted by Ballard breweries.)

If you have a community event, submit it right here. Please give us 24 hours or so to approve it.

Yoga, movies and a dog show planned for Ballard Commons Park

Ballard Commons has become a popular hangout for the homeless over the years. It’s also one of Ballard’s best parks — especially during the summer months — thanks to its central location, ample green space and kid-friendly spray fountains.

This summer the Ballard Alliance is “cranking up the activities” in the park thanks to grant funding from the city. The newest addition is “Summer Fitness in the Park,” a free event every Saturday at 10 a.m. This Saturday will feature a yoga class from We Yoga Co., then circuit training on June 30th from Fit36, Zumba from Ballard Health Club on July 7th and yoga again on July 21st.

Then “Movies in the Park” will kick into gear in August, running every Thursday from 8:15 to 10 p.m. It starts with The Goonies on August 9th followed by ET on August 16th, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on August 23rd and Raiders of the Lost Ark on August 30th. Sweet Mickey’s will be open from 7 to 10 p.m., and a food truck will be on site, as well.

Ballard Commons will also host the always-popular summer event, Dogs of Ballard Dog Show, on Tuesday, August 21st from 6 to 8 p.m.

And of course, SeafoodFest is right around the corner, July 13-15th, which will feature events in Ballard Commons on both that Saturday and Sunday.

(File photo of a Sweet Mickey’s movie night in the park several years ago.)

Scenes from the Fremont Solstice Parade

Thousands of sun-starved people packed the streets for the 30th running of the Fremont Solstice Parade, and the weather couldn’t have been any better.

As they do every year, the naked cyclists kicked off the action, turning heads on Market St. in Ballard before heading back to Fremont to lead off the parade.

“This was the biggest raft of naked cyclists I’ve seen since I moved to Seattle in 1991. Easily over a thousand,” wrote parade spectator Josh on Twitter.

The carrot bikers (above) were a big hit.

It’s also the first year with Lime and Ofo rental bikes at their disposal, and quite a few of the naked cyclists rode the rentals, raising some eyebrows and sparking lots of jokes about sanitary wipes.

“OH MY GOD NUDE CYCLISTS ON LIME BIKES NOOO,” tweeted Rhonda during the parade.

The bikers are always the big attraction, but the parade itself didn’t disappoint. Here’s a collection of photos — our thanks to Liz Gallagher, Susanne Donaldson and Debbie Paulsen in the My Ballard Facebook Group — and you can see a lot more on Instagram here.

By the way, the fun in Fremont runs all weekend with the Fremont Fair. More details and the music schedule is available here.

Sunny Fremont hosts Solstice Parade and Fremont Fair this weekend

It’s Fremont’s biggest weekend of the year, and the forecast is sunny and warm. The occasionally-naked and always-colorful Solstice Parade kicks things off tomorrow (Saturday) and the Fremont Fair runs all weekend.

Streets start closing at noon, and that’s about the time the naked cyclists typically make a swing through Ballard to get the blood flowing, often bewildering drivers. Then they head out in advance of the parade, starting at Leary Way and 39th at 12:45 p.m. The parade officially begins at 1 p.m.

We asked the Fremont Arts Council what’s new this year, and they gave us a sneak preview:

Super Moi! is bringing 7’6″ tall rollerblading muppet races. Paradisiax Parasol Project has built a 12″ tricycle-powered parasol tripod. The Seattle Steam Rats have recruited volunteers to build a huge steampunk moving creature with meticulously hand cut gears. The Seattle Women’s Steel Pan Project has transformed a stage performance “Tides of Change” into a probably one of the largest and longest parade ensembles we’ve ever had, incorporating sculpture, music, costuming and dance.

That’s as Fremont as it gets, folks.

This is the 30th anniversary of the parade, and it’s always a packed event. With all the population growth, you might want to head out a little earlier than usual to carve out a spot along the route. (Parking? LOL.) The parade heads right down the middle of Fremont on Leary/36th to Fremont Ave. and then over on 34th to end at Gas Works Park (route map .pdf).

The theme for the Gas Works event this year is “Varieté.” It will feature audience participation events, “fire art”, live music, dancing, a beer garden (with Fremont Brewing, Hale’s Ales and Schilling Cider) and food trucks, to boot. The celebration will run all afternoon and evening.

Once the parade is over, the weekend shifts into the Fremont Fair, which supports the Fremont Chamber of Commerce. As many as 100,000 people are expected to attend over Saturday and Sunday for the hundreds of artists, craft vendors and food booths — not to mention the music lineup and LOTS of beer (especially Corona, which is a big sponsor.)

The forecast is perfect: at last check, it’s slated to reach 78 degrees on Saturday and hit 83 on Sunday. The fair’s hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Have fun out there!

(PS. For more events going on this weekend, check out our calendar).

Lots going on this weekend in Ballard

The events calendar is always jumping, but this weekend is especially busy — including one of our favorites, the Ballard Criterium (above). Here’s a roundup of events in Ballard and beyond…

Friday, June 8

RUMMAGE SALE: The Ballard Senior Center is holding it’s twice annual Huge Rummage Sale today and tomorrow. Clothes, jewelry, china, crafts, toys, art work, kitchen, knick-knacks, small furniture, sports equipment, linens and much more. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Harmony Dining Hall, Ballard NW Senior Center, 5429 32nd NW.

NOAA OPEN HOUSE: The NOAA’s facility over in Sand Point is holding a free, family-friendly open house to celebrate World Oceans Day. They’ll have science presentations and panels, interactive exhibits and tours from noon to 6:30 p.m. at 7600 Sand Point Way NE.

FIDDLER’S SHOWCASE: If you enjoy an evening of fiddle music topped off with some audience square dancing, look no further than the Ballard Homestead at 7 p.m. The Ballard High Fiddlers will play followed by the The Warren G Hardings. $6-10 for admission, 6541 Jones Avenue NW.

Saturday, June 9

RUMMAGE SALE: Day two of the the Ballard Senior Center’s Huge Rummage Sale. Clothes, jewelry, china, crafts, toys, art work, kitchen, knick-knacks, small furniture, sports equipment, linens and much more. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Harmony Dining Hall, Ballard NW Senior Center, 5429 32nd NW.

YOGA IN THE PARK: Bring your yoga mat to Ballard Commons Park for the first in a series of fitness events, brought to you by the Ballard Alliance. 10 to 11 a.m., please arrive a few minutes early to get situated.

SHILSHOLE BOATFEST: Get free rides on sailboats, powerboats and a tall ship at Shilshole Bay Marina. Learn about sailing, tour some liveaboards and check out the kayaking and paddleboarding trials. There’s even live music, food trucks and a beer garden. All boat ride sign-ups will be on a first come, first served basis once the event opens. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

GOOD HAIR DAY: Reuben’s Brews and Rudy’s launch their collaboration beer, “Good Hair Day,” complete with buzzcuts and brews from noon to 6 p.m., 5010 14th Ave NW. A portion of the proceeds benefits Equal Rights Washington and their work supporting the LGBTQ community.

BREWSHED BEER FEST: Washington Wild presents its 5th annual Brewshed Beer Fest with over 40 beers flowing at Hale’s Ales Palladium. Tickets are $25 online, $30 at the door for 8 drink tickets. The event runs 1-6 p.m., 4301 Leary Way NW.

BALLARD CRITERIUM: One of our favorite annual events, the Ballard Criterium is a crazy fast-paced bicycle race through the streets of Old Ballard — very fun to watch. This is the loop, which will be closed to traffic during the event: Ballard Ave NW, NW Vernon Place, Shilshole Ave. NW, and NW Dock Place. Racing begins at 1:30 p.m. and concludes at approximately 9:30 p.m. Keep in mind that Old Ballard will be packed for this one.

CONCERTS AT THE LOCKS: Cascadia Big Band plays a contemporary jazz ensemble in a free concert in the Carl S. English Gardens at the Locks, free, 2:00 p.m.

BALLARD ART WALK: Art, music and food at 20 different venues in Ballard from 6 to 9 p.m.

Sunday, June 10

BALLARD FARMERS MARKET: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Old Ballard.

CONCERTS AT THE LOCKS: Highline Community Symphonic Band plays a variety of classical concert music in a free concert in the Carl S. English Gardens at the Locks, free, 2:00 p.m.

Have a community event? Submit it to My Ballard’s calendar here.

City awards $150,000 for neighborhood projects in Ballard area

The City of Seattle announced today it’s investing just over $1 million to support 22 community projects citywide through the Neighborhood Matching Fund.

Here’s how the awards break down in district 6, which covers Ballard, Phinney, Greenwood, Fremont and Green Lake:

  • $17,400 to Community Cinema Group for the Outdoor Movie at Ballard Commons Park, a free outdoor movie on August 18 in Ballard Commons Park that will provide an enjoyable and relaxing night out for locals and a way for groups and nonprofits to connect with residents. (Community match: $23,425)
  • $60,000 to the Nordic Museum’s Viking Days Festival celebrating its 35th anniversary on July 14-15. This free event offers a rich overview of Nordic culture for new and regular visitors alike. (Community match: $57,212)
  • $49,000 to Friends of the Ballard Civic Orchestra for the Music as a Bridge to Intercultural Understanding project using music to engage community members with Latino culture. There will be orchestra rehearsals and public performances celebrating culturally significant events. (Community match: $31,600)
  • $22,500 to the Whittier Heights Community Council for the Totem Pole in Baker Park project to replace a Haida totem pole and restore plants at Baker Park. A celebration of the replacement pole will be held in cooperation with the Haida Community Dancers. (Community match: $13,273)

Organizations provide their own matching funds in money, volunteer labor or donated materials.

If you’re interested in pitching an idea for funding, you can apply right here. The Neighborhood Matching Fund awards are announced three times a year.

(Archive photo above of Viking Days by the Nordic Museum)