Hey Ballard fans! You’re invited to participate in the very first Kickstarter Campaign for the Ballard SeafoodFest!
Now in its 38th year, Ballard SeafoodFest, got its start as a one-day salmon barbeque to raise some money for a cash-strapped Ballard Chamber of Commerce. Over the years, the event has grown and grown to cover over twelve city blocks in the heart of downtown Ballard, offering much, much more than that first fish fest. Today you’ll find a Kids Zone, complete with an entertainment stage, petting zoo, activities, storytellers and more. Adults can find their fun at the beer & wine gardens. Nearly 100 artisans offer their wares—all juried and handmade. Over thirty-five food vendors serve up everything from blackened salmon to halibut tacos and oyster kabobs to crab melts. One of the festival’s biggest attractions is the MainStage, with two full days of great music by a diverse group of quality performers.
Yes, SeafoodFest sounds a lot like a host of other Seattle neighborhood festivals, but this one is truly special. Why?
- It pays tribute to the maritime and fishing industries that have sustained this community for over 150 years.
- It celebrates Ballard’s unique Scandinavian heritage. (Close your eyes and you can almost imagine yourself in Minot, ND or small town Minnesota.)
- For over 20 years, SeafoodFest has featured unique musical performances by professionals from across the region and the nation.
- Held on the streets of Ballard, SeafoodFest is nestled between pedestrian-scaled, historic buildings, providing a cozy, hometown feel. Though the event draws thousands of people, it never feels overwhelming.
This year, SeafoodFest has plans for something as unique as the community of Ballard. For many years, Stan Boreson, Seattle Accordion Legend has opened the festival with his Scandinavian humor and crack accordionship. But our dear Mr. Boreson, host of the beloved 1950’s kid’s show, King’s Klubhouse, is now in his eighties and has decided to end his days on the stage. We were truly saddened by the news! Consequently, we spent many hours thinking of a way to honor this man who has given such joy to so many generations. And we had an epiphany—2012 will be all accordions, all the time. Not only will we feature accordions in the wine garden all weekend, but every band on the Ballard Avenue MainStage MUST include an accordion. That said, we’re presenting a lively musical mix, from the lilting Scandinavian sounds of Pickled Herring (whose lead singer and accordionist, Lori Hanson, took her first lessons from Stan right on Market Street), to the traditional cowboy country of Wylie & the Wild West Show. In between, audiences can celebrate the mighty accordion with performers such as Miles & Karina, Pearl D’Jango, Juan Barco, The Legendary Oaks, Two Scoops Combo, Matt the Hoopla and Orville Johnson’s Sunday Morning Gospel. Finally, we’ll feature San Francisco’s Main Squeeze, the Squeezebox Goddess herself, Reneé de la Prade.
The MainStage and all the other fun components couldn’t happen without community support and volunteers. Long-time volunteer chefs from the maritime industry and the local Masonic Lodge staff the salmon barbeque. The wine garden is operated in collaboration with the Salmon Bay Eagles. The La Senoritas Drill Team parents do all the work at the Beer Garden, while Ballard’s own Maritime Pacific Brewing Company supplies the beer. The Ballard High School football team helps with set-up and cleanup and the Ballard Boys & Girls Club does garbage & recycling duty all weekend. Not to mention a committee that meets year round and close to 200 local volunteers who work on site all weekend. These folks have stepped up. Now it’s your turn!
Ballard SeafoodFest has NEVER charged admission. We know audience members enjoy the music and have a good time. We also know that when asked, folks are happy to drop a couple dollars in the hat to help defray the costs of entertainment. But this year we’re doing something different. We’re asking folks to show their appreciation in advance. If our goal is met, we promise not to ask for monetary donations from the stages and our brightly painted fish will happily serve as mere decoration.
SeafoodFest was “local” before local was cool and our goal is to keep it that way. We’re passionate about our community and are forever seeking ways to contribute to and honor the special, quirkly little neighborhood in which we are blessed to live. Your support shows you care too! Make a pledge today and help keep Ballard SeafoodFest alive and FREE!
The small print: Your donation will go to directly into performer fees and stage production. Any bennies you receive can be picked up during the festival at the Info Booth.
Special thanks to: Ballard Brothers Seafood & Burgers, Bop Street Records, Hattie’s Hat, King’s Hardware, Matador, McLeod’s Scottish Pub, Old Town Alehouse, Volterra, Caspar Babypants, Alleyoop!, Eric Two Scoops Moore, Miles & Karina, Orville Johnson, Pearl D’Jango, Pickled Herring, Reneé de la Prade, Side Saddle, The Legendary Oaks
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