Here comes the Ballard SeafoodFest!

Hungry for salmon hot off the grill? Or lutefisk, perhaps? Then it must be time for the 34th annual Ballard SeafoodFest — a big neighborhood tradition that attacts 60,000 people. Today many stores in town are participating in the sidewalk sale, which goes through the weekend. Then on Saturday, a big chunk of Market St. and Ballard Ave. shuts down for the festivities.

The highlight of the big event has to be the alder-smoked salmon ($8), which is cooked on a big barbecue by master griller Warren Aakervik. (2007 photo above Paul Gibson). Aakervik has been doing this for the last 33 years, so you know it’s downright delicious. (By the end of the weekend, he’ll cook 2,000 pounds of salmon). Another big favorite is the lutefisk eating contest Saturday at 1:20 p.m. on the community stage in Bergen Place (for hard core Scandinavian’s only). On Sunday at 2 p.m., Ballardites battle it out for the most fashionable coveralls by strutting their stuff in the Slotky Memorial Couture Coverall Contest. And on Saturday at 11 a.m. and Sunday at noon, the King of Scandinavian Humor himself, Stan Boreson, will take to the community stage.

Also, the fine folks at Sustainable Ballard will announce the winners of the Ballard Bike Rack Design Contest in front of the library at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Over 100 people entered and 6 will win. Ballard Metal Artists have volunteered to build the winning designs, and SDOT will place the bike racks at prominent places throughout town. (You can check out the designs anytime during the festival — they’ll be posted outside the library.) This is especially interesting given this Googie design that was floated last month.

There’s also a full line-up of bands and other acts, and you can find the schedule on We’ll be posting updates and photos throughout the weekend here on My Ballard. And we’ll leave you with a great quote from NWSource blogger Geoff Carter about Ballard’s big annual event, “Being able to walk Ballard’s downtown area without fear of being clipped by a Mini Cooper full of eager singles on their way to a mixer at the Bal-Mar is gift enough, but when you pair that blessing with crafts vendors, live music and alder-smoked salmon, you’ve got yourself a hootenanny.”

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