A Nordic Ballard Weekend

Ballardites: Norwegian events are happening this weekend in downtown Ballard! Even if you’re not into lye-soaked, fermented fish (aka lutefisk), there will be something for all of us to choose from, starting tonight Friday, March 16th, and running through Saturday, March 17th. Here’s a summary of what’s happening, and where to read more information:


Photo: Scott Radford

Tonight from 8 pm-11 pm, the Ballard Elks #827 are hosting Viking Bingo Night for a good cause. Add flair by coming in costume. Or come as yourself. Or better yet, come as yourself in costume. Either way, enjoy cash prizes, commeraderie, drinks and snacks.

Viking Bingo Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/events/2016540948624324/
Ballard Elks site:  http://ballardelks.org/
Ballard Elks Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/BallardElks827



Start with a 5k Run at 9 am, then immerse yourself in all things traditional Nordic after that. Does life get any better? Listen to live Norwegian music, learn about the beautiful murals in the Ballard Sons of Norway’s Leif Erikson Lodge, sample or watch authentic Norwegian cooking demos (lutefisk not required), as well as dance, clothing, handicrafts, genealogy, and more.

Funds from the run/walk go toward Leif Erikson Lodge repairs/upgrades and the Ballard Senior Center. Registration/Check-In is at 8 am, Run is at 9 am.  $10 for adults, $5 for children.
Run/Walk’s Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/events/178197896127596/


Norwegian Heritage Day Facebook:
Ballard Sons of Norway/Leif Erikson Lodge site:  https://www.leiferiksonlodge.org/

Proudly wave your Norwegian flag, and enjoy a culture that helped shape Ballard!







Ballard’s 46 Libraries

A few of Ballard’s 45 Little Free Libraries.

Including our great (let’s be honest) Ballard branch of the Seattle Public Library, there are 46 libraries in our neighborhood! If you’ve seen little (often wood) boxes standing on poles along a residential street somewhere containing books, they are referred to as “Little Free Libraries”: a worldwide movement which started in Hudson, Wisconsin. As of Fall 2016, 50,000 of these little book depositories/lending libraries have sprouted up across the globe.

So how does it work? Some kind individual or organization wants to spread the joy of reading books and increase literacy. So they either buy a pre-made box from the Little Free Library organization  that originated the idea, or build one themselves. Books range greatly in subject matter, but the goal is to provide a varied selection of literature for the community. You can take a book, trade, or donate your own books. There is no need to bring back the book you borrowed, but if you have a few to share to keep the book exchange stocked for other neighbors, that’s great.

There are some fantastic structures in Ballard. They range from straightforward and practical, to colorful and whimsical! If you’re interested in finding out where a little free library is near you, or go on your own fun tour to see many of them, here’s a great map. Click on the book icons on the map to see what some of the boxes look like.

If you’d like to get involved or receive a $20 rebate for starting a new one, check out this page at Sustainable Ballard’s site. Or read more on Little Free Library’s FAQs page.

Happy reading!


What is going into this space, just east of the Ballard bridge? Read on.

So what’s happening with that empty lot south of the Ballard Blocks? A second Ballard Blocks complex is planned, and some businesses have already signed on. A couple different theories as to why the space development for that block was previously put on-hold include the financial strife of the former recession and another, the drainage problem the area is reportedly plagued with.

Looking east from the Ballard bridge at the current Ballard Blocks complex. New development will be to its right.

PCC Community Markets will almost certainly be the anchor business located at 1451 NW 46th Street, on the west end of the block next to the Ballard bridge. Permits have not been issued yet, but last year the city conditionally granted approval for this building project to move ahead, although the decision can be appealed through January 25th. A new 25,000 square foot co-op is planned to open in spring 2019, with a projected 100 unionized jobs. It will be interesting to see how this store melds with our many other nearby grocery options: Ballard Market, Safeway, QFC, Fred Meyer’s food section, a New Seasons store under construction, and right across the street, Trader Joe’s. This PCC store will not replace the Fremont store, which will receive an upgrade.

The proposed new site, look west.  Renderings: Weber Thompson

A walkway and seating area will lead from PCC between two businesses on the east end of the block, which will include West Marine. The all-things-marine/boat store will be located on the southeast corner and will also have about 25,000 square feet in their 2-story building. West Marine has two other established stores in Seattle as well: Shilshole Bay and Interbay. The future 12,000 sq. foot 3rd floor in the 5-story building on the northeast corner of the block is reserved for Bright Horizons childcare center, according to the leasing company, Real Retail. A fun feature of Bright Horizons’ space is a planned skybridge that will lead to West Marine’s roof to access an area for kids to play outside.

At the time of this writing, some spaces were still open for lease. There’s a retail kiosk space with about 950 sq. feet available near the southeast corner. In the northeast building, floors 1 & 2 would work for retail, and floors 4-5 are set up for office spaces, with a large rooftop deck. Total parking around or underneath the entire south Ballard Blocks will be approximately 300 stalls.

Halloween in Ballard

Photo:  Julia Raasch

If you live in or frequent downtown Ballard often, Halloween might be your favorite time of year here (as it is mine). The sidewalks, especially along Market Street, are a moving panorama of little kids dressed in their Halloween costumes, holding hands with a parent or two, some of which occasionally dress in costume, too. It brings a smile to one’s face, watching them gather their treats, handed out by local shop owners. This year is no exception, with trick-or-treat happening from 4:00-6:00 pm on Tuesday, October 31st, along Market Street and Ballard Avenue, near Bergen Place Park.

MyBallard.com neighborhood treat map

There’s also a nifty map on MyBallard.com if you’d like to add your house as a place to stop in the neighborhood to collect more treats. Happy Hallow’s Eve!

Sustainable Ballard Fest

The Bubble Man entertains a crowd at the Sustainable Ballard Festival.

The 14th annual Sustainable Ballard Festival takes place on September 9th in downtown Ballard, from 11 am to 4 pm.  The Sustainable Ballard organization works to promote sustainability: environmentally, socially, and personally. They work to foster neighborhood community and connectivity. This is done through this yearly festival, hosting meaningful movies, sharing resources (like tools or books), coming together to knit items for the homeless, gardening/food and urban livestock education, and volunteering, among other things. Anything that positively increases our interconnectivity, especially in a future no longer based on oil.

So expect more family-friendly, community-building activities and vendors at this event. The festival takes place at Ballard Commons Park (the skate park at 5701 22nd Ave NW) that Saturday, and the first 200 people to arrive at the Chinook Book table (11 am) will receive their 2018 book full of coupons & sustainable resources, courtesy of Town & Country Ballard Market. Check out the extended list of things to do at their website or Facebook page below:

http://www.sustainableballard.org/festival https://www.facebook.com/SustainableBallard


An Evening at the Beach

If you need a nice reprieve from winter’s dreariness, the No Bones Beach Club is one possible place to hang out.  Tucked into a narrow space one half block south of Mighty-O Donuts off Market St. in Ballard, No Bones serves vegan food in a relaxed tiki bar environment. Subdued lighting, palm fronds, colorful hanging lanterns, surf boards, and tiki god masks create a Polynesian, or coastal feel. A place to confide in a friend or friends over snacks or a drink, or even meet a date (as witnessed by the sharp-dressed couple occupying one corner).

Cauliflower Wings, No Bones Beach Club

On weekends, one can choose something off their brunch menu, or in the late afternoons and evenings most days, there are snacks, sandwiches, salad, fried avocado tacos, as well as other grub and cocktails (both alcoholic & non-alcoholic) to choose from. On the snack menu, the Cauliflower Wings have a nice crunch and come in two tasty varieties: coconut buffalo flavor with a spicy kick to dip in ranch sauce, or ginger sauce which has a sweeter taste. Another snack that appeals even to this confirmed meat & cheese lover is the Northwest Nachos, which are smothered in fresh ingredients, drizzled with a delicious mild cashew & smoked poblano queso, then topped with abundant cilantro.

Guava Margarita and Northwest Nachos

The relaxed ambiance seemed to extend to our server as well. She was friendly and helpful, and didn’t give the feeling one had to rush to leave, even on a busy Saturday night.

Each month, No Bones Beach Club contributes part of what they earn to different animal rescues. So you can feel good about taking a break at the beach on a chilly winter’s evening.

No Bones Beach Club
5410 17th Ave NW
Seattle, WA 98107

Closed Mondays
T-TH 4pm–9:30pm
F-SA 11am–10pm
SUN  11am–9pm

Small Biz: Mezzanine Records & Vintage

5In one of downtown Ballard’s oldest buildings on Market Street is a cozy vintage shop, a just south of the intersection of 20th Ave. NW and Market Street. If you walk up a
4few steps, you’ll find Mezzanine Records and Vintage, which feels similar to browsing a friend’s oversized, well-appointed closet. A 1940’s mustard yellow dress with multi-striped skirt hangs near prints from past eras, a beaded cardigan from the 1950’s, men’s classic polished boots and hats, vintage tumblers, a colorful scarf, kitchenware, decorative jewelry made from Italian mosaic, and plenty of vinyl records.

This small business just celebrated its one-year anniversary this week. Karl Zwick and Buffy Ritt, who own the shop, both share a love of vintage clothing, and in Buffy’s words, “We also love shopping together.” They had previously rented a space for three years in Fremont Vintage, an antique vintage mall. 6A woman tries on a long dress that looks “Art Deco” in style. A guy peruses the albums in the other room. Visitors chat with the owners about the shop, and life in general. “Our goal is not to be restricted to any one style”, Karl says. “This is a highly-inclusive store; all people are welcome.” They keep their prices in the affordable range, too. 9Karl, who has been collecting and trading vinyl since the 1980’s, also has 30 years of experience buying men’s & women’s vintage clothing. Opening a store in the heart of Ballard was “an intersection of good timing and the right place”. He always tries to pay attention to what people wear, and listens to “fill in the blanks” for what’s needed. “It’s a learning process,” he says. 11


A dress from Mezzanine Records and Vintage

Buffy has previously worked in different fields, including massage therapy and
photography, among others, feeling very lucky to enjoy their current business. “We wanted our store to be a place that we [she and Karl] would want to shop,” she mentioned. “I feel good, excited about coming in to work each day.”


Owners Karl and Buffy

5418 20th Ave. NW (words above the doorway read “5416 1/2”)
Hours: check their Yelp page for updates, but usually afternoons and evenings
Phone #: 206.789.6269
Email: Mezzrnv@gmail.com

Who Painted That?


henry’s mural on the Sloop Tavern at NW 54th & Market Street, Ballard (Photo: Alethea Myers)

If you live in or frequent Ballard often, you may have seen exterior walls filled with brightly-colored, whimsical creatures and wondered, “Who painted that?” In many cases, the answer is the prolific muralist/ artist Ryan Henry Ward, who signs his work simply “henry”. His outdoor canvases adorn buildings in Ballard, Fremont, West Seattle, Crown Hill, and beyond.


Raccoon with banjo on Value Village’s store, 8532 15th Ave NW in Crown Hill (Photo: Alethea Myers)   His pink walruses on Axis Automotive building, Ballard (now demolished). (Walruses photo courtesy of seattlemurals.org)


West Seattle home’s sea life at 3425 39th Ave SW. (Image courtesy of seattlecurbed.com)

Although henry has been artistic all his life, he painted his first mural only 8 years ago when a bar owner who admired his work asked him to cover up graffiti on the side of his building. A Ballard News-Tribune article drew more attention to his work. After a career as a social worker, the Puget Sound Business Journal mentioned henry ran a successful landscaping business with his brother. He had to stop, due to a spinal injury.

At last count, Ryan Henry Ward has painted around 200 murals since 2008 on different business buildings & homes: automotive, thrift store, children’s nursery, taverns, among others, and now works on commission. One of his mythical creatures, a sasquatch, is sandwiched on a fence between the Sip ‘n Ship store and Golden Beetle Restaurant, a ½ block east of 20th Ave. NW on Market Street in Ballard. His work has had a positive influence on the Sip ‘N Ship, according to Matt Beavers, the shipping manager for the past year. “We have people from all over who notice the mural first and it touches them in a way, from the heart”, he said. “Because once they see it, they’re drawn into the store.”


Sasquatch (and bird pal) between Sip ‘n Ship and Golden Beetle on Market St., Ballard (Photo: Alethea Myers)

Get Your Oompah On! Ballard Oktoberfest


If you’re into local craft brews, pretzels, and German oompah band music, check out this weekend’s 2nd Annual Oktoberfest in Ballard. According to The Ballard News, on Saturday, Sept. 17th, four local breweries will be hosting this mini event in a fun way, providing at least one Oktoberfest variety beer and a food truck at each location.

Leading a procession of impromptu participants from one brewery/taproom to another will be The Oompah Machine, a travelling oompah band, who were first assembled last year during the first Ballard Oktoberfest. They will lead a procession between the four breweries, which are only 2-3 blocks apart, for those who’d like to continue with the revelry. The traipsing between places starts at Reuben’s Brews at 2 pm, and then continues to Stoup Brewing (3 pm), Lucky Envelope Brewing (4 pm), and then on to Populuxe Brewing (5 pm).

The event is sponsored again this year by Verity Credit Union, who will be providing free pretzel necklaces! And commemorative steins will be available for sale at each location.

For more brew and kinship on a larger scale (and in a nearby neighborhood), check out the Fremont Oktoberfest the following weekend: Sept. 23, 24, and 25.