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!







Irish Eyes Are Smiling! Seattle Center’s Festal presents the 2018 Irish Festival

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, there’s no better time to celebrate the beauty and depth of the Irish culture, and Seattle Center’s Festal is gearing up to do just that!

Head to Seattle Center on Saturday, March 17th and Sunday, March 18th and find a serious taste of the Emerald Isle right here in the heart of in the Emerald City. Festal’s Irish Festival will bring to life a multifaceted, in-depth adventure through Ireland, its history and traditions, no passport necessary.

Enjoy a fun and fascinating exploration of Irish cultural heritage, past and present, through visual arts, live performance, games, activities, and of course, food! Explore the market place featuring Irish handicrafts, live Irish music and that famous and oh-so-impressive Irish step dancing.

Do you have the luck of the Irish? Find out by tracing your own roots in geology workshops (yes! That’s at the festival!), and learn a bit of the Celtic language while you’re at it. The festival also promises Irish movies and short films, cultural exhibits and live demonstrations and maybe even a few Irish celebrities!


Festal is a series of multi-cultural events presented by and at the Seattle Center each year. Now in its 21st year, Festal continues to shine a light on the beauty and majesty of cultures across the globe by showcasing their rich and complex traditions, histories, art, music, dance, food and much more. Festal’s Irish Festival is presented in partnership with the Irish Heritage Club of Seattle.


Whether you’re looking to learn more about your own heritage, wanting to learn more about Ireland and its culture in general, or you’re simply tired of leprechauns and green beer and looking for a more authentic experience, Festal’s Irish Festival is sure to be a fun and fabulous way to spend your St. Patty’s Day weekend.

Seattle Center Festál
Irish Festival
March 17-18, 2018
Armory Main Level

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.

Say Välkommen To The Holiday Season At Yulefest!

Ready or not, it’s officially the holiday season.

The music has started, the decorations are going up, and each night, another house is lit up in the most festive of colors. If you ARE ready for some good ol’ fashioned Holiday cheer (so, basically unless you’re Scrooge?), head down to the Nordic Heritage Museum’s Annual Yulefest this Saturday and Sunday, November 18th and 19th!

Yulefest features all things Scandinavian and all things holiday, making it the perfect event to get in that ’God Jul’ (Merry Christmas) spirit!


Enjoy traditional Nordic-inspired items from many different vendors, plenty of delicious Scandinavian sweet and savory treats at the Nordic Cafe (even get some to go for later!) and traditional and contemporary Nordic music and dance will be performed on three different stages.

Kids are encouraged to have fun and get crafty with plenty of kid-oriented crafts,  a raffle and the opportunity to meet the man we all want a visit from in December, Santa Claus (or, Julenissen in Norwegian, Jultomten in Swedish)!

Grown-ups are also encouraged to have plenty of fun and toast the season in the Valhalla Beer Garden (which will be nice and toasty warm!) with a tasty beverage including the Nordic-fav hot mulled wine, glögg. Skål (cheers!) to that!  

This year, Yulefest celebrates its 40th year of bringing Scandinavian holiday fun and flair to our community, and it will be the last Yulefest celebrated at the Nordic Heritage Museum’s current location, before they move on to bigger and better things for 2018.

Yulefest is a wonderful celebration of culture, the holidays and community. If you’re ready for some serious holiday spirit, good food, fun music and maybe even some holiday shopping, Yulefest is the place to be!

God Jul!

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


The Fremont Fair- Keeping Summer Solstice Splendidly Strange Since 1971

“Delibertas Quirkas” may well be the best (and likely most succinct) way to describe our favorite neighbor, the delightfully different Fremont neighborhood.

For those of you who weren’t Latin majors (probably all of you) “Delibertas Quirkas” means “freedom to be peculiar” and Fremont certainly embraces this motto readily, but never quite as much as at the annual and highly anticipated Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade.

The Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade are a traditional kick off to Summer around these parts, and are guaranteed to have something for everyone. With nearly 400 artists, craft vendors, food booths and more, you’re bound to find something beautiful, delicious or at least interesting around the city’s most well-loved street festival.

Worried there’s only booths to peruse? Fear not! The Fremont Fair is as diverse an event as Fremont is itself and the Crown Jewel and most famous part of the whole shebang is the Solstice Parade. If you’ve never attended, its sure to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. People powered floats, stilt walkers, giant puppets, dancers, musicians and the world-famous nude bicyclists all gallivant through the neighborhood from the intersection of 3rd and Leary Way to Gas Works Park in a display of color, joy and body paint unique to this event.

The parade takes place on Saturday at 1 PM and its canine counterpart will be on Sunday at 2:30 PM. That’s right, the festivities would not be complete without the Dog Parade! Led by Seattle’s beloved Blue Thunder, hordes of pretty pooches, dressed in their finest (accompanied by their people, of course) will strut along 34th avenue in what might be the cutest and cuddliest parade you’ve ever seen.

After that, check out the Art Cars, an incredibly unique display of over 75 pieces of art on wheels. You’ve never seen cars ‘tricked out’ quite like his before!

If that’s not enough excitement for you, be sure to bring your dancing shoes, as the fair features two all-free stages of musical groups and DJs scheduled throughout the weekend, including a mix of well-known and up and coming local acts.

And of course, there will be plenty of delectable food to feast on, including plenty of local favorites and a wonderful beverage garden featuring libations from this year’s event sponsors, Casa Noble Tequila and Corona.

The Fremont Fair is fun for the whole family and a Seattle-centric event you won’t want to miss.

Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade 2017 Hours-
Saturday June 17th:
Craft Market- 10 am-8 pm
Music- 11 am- 9 pm
Solstice Parade- 1 pm

Sunday June 18th:
Craft Market- 11 am-6 pm
Music- 11 am- 5:30 pm
Dog Parade- 2:30 pm


For more information about this colorful celebration including anticipated musical performers and food vendors, click here!

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

Help Ballard Bring Home The Curbed Cup!

We Ballardites know that we’re lucky enough to live in the BEST neighborhood in Seattle, right? Well, now’s our chance to let the whole city know!

The 2016 Curbed Cup is up for grabs and it’s down to us, Vs Columbia City. That’s right, we have made it all the way to the final round!

Now, it’s time to bring it home.  With 5 (yes, F-I-V-E) days to vote for Ballard, and a community of crazy-proud inhabitants, it would be a cinch to take the title. That is, THE title, the whole shebang, The Curbed Cup.

Head over to Curbed Seattle to cast your vote (or click here and skip the extra typing) for our ‘hood before midnight tonight for it to count.

And don’t just stop there, share the link with your friends! Text, them, email them, bribe them into casting their vote, whatever you have to do, get others to join so we can come out on top!

The title is within our grasp, so close we can taste it, let’s not let it slip away! We all know Ballard is where it’s at, let’s make sure everyone else does too! 

Christmas Ships Are Coming To Town!

If you’ve never done it before, the Christmas Ships are a Northwest tradition worth checking out!

The Argosy Cruise Christmas Ship Festival is an annual Pacific Northwest tradition, going strong since 1949. Each year, the Argosy Christmas Ship, adorned with twinkle lights and Holiday cheer, sets sail from a different port around the greater Seattle area. On board the Christmas Ship,  a local choir serenades passengers  with a 20-minute performance of beloved Christmas Carols.

The Carols are broadcast to the entire community through a state of the art speaker system, so if you can’t be on the ship, you can still enjoy the Christmas magic from a distance. Folks from all around the neighborhood gather on the shore to behold the glimmering lights of the beautifully decorated ship and to hear the Carols being sung on board. It’s a great opportunity for a bonfire and mug of cocoa with the kids!

There are multiple opportunities to see or be a part of the Christmas Ship, at over 65 different waterfront locations in the greater Seattle area.  Each Lead Boat has tons of fun going on board, like

* Choir performance on board

* Santa Claus reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”

* Ho, Ho, Ho Contest and other holiday activities

* Holiday Gift Shop on board

* Kids holiday craft area and activities

* Full-service bar and snacks available for purchase

Argosy generously donates a portion of all tickets sold to the Seattle Time’s Fund For The Needy, so your purchase of a ticket goes to help those in need, right here at home.

The Christmas Ships Festival is a beloved tradition around here for a reason. Be sure to experience it for yourself this year!

For more information, click here.