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Around The Area

Four Can't Miss Ballard Festivals

May 5th, 2014

Settled by Norwegians during the latter part of the 19th century, Ballard retains considerable Scandinavian influence to this day.

This Nordic influence can be detected in the Scandinavian architecture that dots Ballard’s streets. The time of year at which Ballard’s Norwegian influence is most pronounced, however, is during the summer.

Summer is festival season in Ballard, and many of the Seattle neighborhood’s praiseworthy summer events have a distinctly Nordic air about them. 

Norwegian Constitution Day

Syttende Mai, held on May 17, is Norway’s Constitution Day. In Norway, Syttenda Mai is one of the most exciting days of the year. For Norwegian Ballard residents, the same could be said. The main event of the festival is the Syttende Mai parade, which has taken place in Seattle every year since 1889. By the way, 1889 is the same year Washington acquired its statehood. Festivities will be taking place all afternoon, but the Market Street parade does not start until 6 PM. Look for the AMLI Mark24 team…they’ll be driving through the parade passing out Swedish fish.

Concerts at the Locks

The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks are a sight to see on any day. When the weather is warm, the sun is out, and live music fills the air, they really don’t get any better. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Concerts at the Locks, a milestone anniversary. Summer concerts are held on the lawn at the Ballard Locks every Saturday and Sunday at 2PM. A schedule of performers was not yet available so keep checking the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks website for more information.

Ballard SeafoodFest

This year marks the summer of festival anniversaries in Ballard, and SeafoodFest is no exception. The 40th annual Ballard SeafoodFest is scheduled to take place the weekend of July 12 and 13. The SeafoodFest may not seem any more Nordic than a Fourth of July celebration, but it’s all about celebrating Ballard and its heritage, and that heritage includes Norwegian seafood preparation and brewing. There is no fee to enter the festival, which offers live music in addition to seafood and beer. Stop by and say hello to the AMLI Mark24 team! They are a sponsor at this year’s fest.

Viking Days

The Nordic Heritage Museum is one of Ballard’s most highly rated attractions, and the foundation that runs the museum is exceptionally involved in the community. Each summer, a weekend-long event called Viking Days is held. Featuring food from all five Nordic countries and a host of high-quality entertainment, this festival is a blast from the past. A viking encampment showcases what daily life was like, and modern-day merchants sell Nordic handicrafts and other goods. This year’s Viking Days event will take place on August 16 and 17. Admission is free.

Celebrate your city and its rich history this summer by attending one or more of these popular Ballard fests. It may no longer be practical (or civil) to be a viking, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress up and pretend you are a once in awhile.

Have you attended one of these events in the past? If you have any great or funny memories, share them in the comments section!

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