"ALL THE KING'S MEN." At Salty's on Alki, this nutcracker is by artists Eric Montoya and Ben Bryan. Photo by Steve Shay

'Nutcracker March' at Salty's on Alki

With Christmas approaching, thoughts turn to giving, lights, and joy.

Gerry Kingen, owner of Salty's on Alki, has gone a bit overboard this year by celebrating all three, peppering his restaurants with 18 larger-than-life, one-of-a-kind nutcrackers, plus lavishly decorated upside down Christmas trees. Upside down fir trees became a tradition a millennium ago in Europe, the base pointing upward to symbolize the Holy Trinity.

The six-to-seven foot tall nutcrackers marched into Kingen's life when alerted by his daughter, Katie, that they were for sale on e-Bay. Sixty handmade nutcrackers appeared as public art this year, their sale to benefit disabled clients at the Northwest Center.

Coined "The Nutcracker March," the public art display was sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Kingen is in the process of purchasing more nutcrackers and "forms" to create new ones to decorate his two Seattle area restaurants and Portland restaurant for many Christmas seasons to come.

For more information: www.nutcrackermarch.com

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