Salmon and sun reign at the SeafoodFest

By Laura Mansfield

At the Ballard Seafood Festival, the most important job belongs to the guy who stirs the butter. That role is filled by Don Lyman, self-proclaimed “butter boy” and member of Mason Occidental Lodge #72.  He and his counterparts have helped prepare salmon for the salmon bake for at least 25 years.  

Don Lyman dutifully stirs the pot of butter. Photo: Laura Mansfield

The annual Ballard Seafood Festival is held each year on the Saturday following the 4th of July. The fair, now in its 45th year, typically attracts more than 75,000 people over the three-day event. 

The Seafood Festival is good for Ballard but also good for business.

“We love Seafood Fest,” says Lanne Stauffer, owner of Market Street Shoes. “It’s our biggest weekend of the year.” Stauffer’s store was teeming with shoppers; she had extra staff on hand and a street tent to meet the demand.

Likewise, a team from the New Seasons Market was on hand giving away free samples of smoked salmon. Trent Banks, community engagement manager, says the festival is a great place to raise awareness about the market and talk about their commitment to sustainability.

Trent Banks from the New Seasons tent. Photo: Laura Mansfield

The Seafood Festival is a celebration of crafts and music and community. More than a dozen bands performed over the three-day weekend. But the food takes center stage.

Enjoying the festival’s “bomb seafood”. Photo: Laura Mansfield

Friends Austin Riemer, Sierra Riemer, Krystal Kanh and Maddie Hinkel proclaimed the fare as “bomb seafood.” And they should know, since they sampled virtually everything on the menu. 

“This event is a great way to bring the community together,” Hinkley said. They couldn’t talk further, because they were off to buy round two of their lunch.

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Lizzy the Lezzy
Lizzy the Lezzy

Along with Syttende Mai, the Ballard Seafood Fest makes our neighborhood truly special. I hope that other events (Hot Sauce Festival, where are you???) will continue to begin and grow. This is what makes Ballard such a wonderful place to live, and why many of us fiercely protect the fun, friendly and safe neighborhood that makes such a great home for events like these. Great job to all involved. We had a blast.