Ballard SeafoodFest changing weekends

In an attempt to draw more vendors and a bigger crowd, this year’s Ballard SeafoodFest will be earlier than previous years.

The crowd at the 2009 SeafoodFest.

The annual affair is chock full of food, arts & crafts, music and other events. It is historically held the last weekend of July but this year the Ballard Chamber of Commerce is moving it up two weeks to July 10th and 11th. “I have considered changing the date for the 10 years I’ve produced SeafoodFest, but finally bit the bullet, with the blessing of our committee,” Beth Williamson, the executive director of the Chamber tells us. The move, she says, is because the Bellevue Festival of the Arts is held the same weekend. In a letter sent to merchants from the Chamber, “This has seriously hampered our ability to recruit higher numbers of quality vendors. We simply can’t ‘compete’ with one of the largest festivals around.”

The Raggedy Anns perform during the 2009 SeafoodFest.

The KEXP Capitol Hill Block Party is also held the same weekend. “In short, SeafoodFest, always considered a food, arts and music festival, is going up against one of the nation’s largest arts festivals AND one of Seattle’s biggest music events,” the letter states.

The winner of the 2009 lutefisk eating contest is licking his plate clean.

The new weekend, July 10th and 11th does not conflict with any other major Seafair events. It does, however, affect the Merchants’ Sidewalk Sale, which has traditionally been held the same weekend as SeafoodFest. No word on if the sidewalk sale will also change weekends.

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

28 thoughts to “Ballard SeafoodFest changing weekends”

  1. FINALLY! It was very frustrating to see desirable vendors (at least, desirable to me) choose to go to Bellevue, leaving slim pickin's for Ballard. Perhaps this will also mean we'll see an increase in local seafood food booths. Those blue crab, or whatever crab was used to make crab cakes, did not taste like local crab.

    And this has nothing to do with the date change, but it would be nice if the employees hired to staff the beer garden know something about the beer they are selling. How can you sell beer without knowing the difference between a lager and a porter? Last year, they knew the name of the beer that came out of which tap, but that's where the knowledge ended. Very uncharacteristic of Maritime Pacific's regular employees.

  2. Yes but like everywhere today, no one is really making any money. There are way too many venues like this in Seattle over the summer.

  3. I believe the beer garden is staffed by volunteers. I was under the impression that it is a fundraiser for the La Senoritas drill team.

  4. The beer garden IS volunteers and it IS a fundraiser for the La Senioritas. They do an excellent job, IMO.

    And I never noticed a lack of good vendors.

  5. The beer garden is run by volunteers from La Senioritas, a charity group that is the beneficiary of most of the beer garden proceeds – they're not Maritime employees. But you raise an excellent point – and it might help them sell even more beer.

  6. Ah, well that explains it. I feel bad that I said anything. Although last summer was the first year that I noticed anyone having an attitude, especially around lunchtime.

    Most of the time, they were great.

  7. Some other stuff to note for this year. The food vendors are moving to Leary from Market Ave. Leary is a wider street so it won't seem so crowded when people go eat. Ballard's own Maldives are booked (and excited to play) Saturday. There are some other things in the works but not official yet. Stay Tuned!

    Darrell McManus
    SeafoodFest Chair

  8. I will be relishing the prospect for maybe a couple more decent bands without the competition of the CH Block Party. Good move I think.

  9. This is also the weekend for West Seattle Summerfest, which is a shame. I live within walking distance of the Junction, so I'll probably opt to just walk to a festival, rather than drive to Ballard. Despite how much I love the Seafood Fest.

    I'm just curious, when deciding on the weekend, did the committee look at the other festivals going on around Seattle? I would think they wouldn't want to compete with any others.

  10. This is the Weekend of the Kick-off of Seafair The Seafair Pirates Landing. Also the Milk Carton Derby and the largest vendor event there is Kent Cornucopia.

  11. This is the Weekend of the Kick -off to Seafair. The Seafair Pirates Landing. Also the Milk Carton Derby and the largest vendor event in the Area Kent Cornucopia.

  12. Ballard SeafoodFest was the fourth mentioned festival that weekend. Bellevue Arts Festival has attendance of 250,000 people (and they snag a ton of Art Vendors who are now going to do both) . Torchlight Parade has attendance of 75,000-100,000 people. CHBP has attendance of 50,000 people. The Milk Carton Derby will get a boost in people because people will do both in our opinion. We regrett having to go against West Seattle, but considering all the Seafair weekends this one had the best opportunity to seperate ourselves. I'm sure there are a few people out there that will have to choose between Kent and Ballard, but that's probably a bigger issue for West Seattle than Ballard since West Seattle is closer.

  13. For you long time members of the forum, you will probably remember Doug11 the tireless and then tiresome advocate for bike trails. Since he banished himself (by popular demand) and I did nothing to keep him here, I feel somewhat responsible to carry his torch for this one comment.
    The following comment does not necessarily represent the views, tone, or interests of SPG but solely the one that I imagine Doug11 would make:

    The Chamber of Commerce is suing the city to stop the missing link from being finished! We must boycott all CoC business and events!

  14. I live in the Junction as well, but go to both every year, but I'm gonna stay in West Seattle for the Pirate's Landing and Summerfest. I don't like that it's making neighborhoods compete against each other either. And the fact that it was said it doesn't conflict with other Seafair events is just wrong.

  15. The previous dates of SeafoodFest were on the same date as the Torchlight parade. Outside of being the days of Hydros it didn't conflict much worse.

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