Festivals/Annual Events

With 2009 coming to a close, here is a look back at some of the biggest stories of the year. Click the image above for a slideshow of the year in photos.


Ballard thief arrested
By Michael Harthorne

A 46-year-old man suspected of stealing from numerous businesses in Ballard in the past weeks was arrested Dec. 31 near 20th Avenue Northwest and Market Street for an outstanding warrant in Missouri.

According to victims, the man is suspected of entering businesses on Market Street and Ballard Avenue during business hours and taking money from back offices, safes and employees’ purses.

“I’m glad he’s been caught,” said Kylee Harris, owner of Cugini Café on Ballard Avenue. “But, I think the real thing we need to figure out is how to bust him for what he’s stolen.”

Macefield house to be sold
By Michael Harthorne

The house once belonging to Edith Macefield that has stood empty in a cocoon of new development since her death in June will be sold by its new owner, Barry Martin of Ledcor Construction.

2009 Review 1.JPG
Photo credit: 
Shay Isaacson

Bella Isaacson and George Ford chalked a patriotic mural in Ballard Jan. 20 to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. CLICK IMAGE TO SEE THE YEAR IN PHOTOS.

Virginia Swanson, who has chaired the City’s Special Events Committee for more than 25 years, has received the Big Bertha Landes Award from the Fremont Chamber of Commerce. The award recognizes “women who take charge and take action.”

The award is in recognition of the assistance Swanson has provided over the years in support of Fremont special events, such as the Red Bull Soap Box Derby, Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade, Fremont Trolloween and Fremont Oktoberfest.

“We, the small businesses of Fremont, realize our events make us a happening place,” Suzie Burke, board member of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, said in a press release. “Virginia has made Seattle a happening place for years. We are so lucky to have her.”

Past award winners include former Seattle City Council member Jane Noland, Jeanne Muir, Jamie Shanks, Susan McClosky, DeeDee Footer and Lillian Tangen.

Bertha Landes was mayor of Seattle from 1926 to 1928 and was the first female executive of a major American city.


On Dec. 19, Ballard will twinkle with 1,000 luminaries, horse drawn hay rides and sweet treats handed out by participating shops.

The In Ballard Merchants Association is looking for volunteers to help build the luminaries and distribute them around the retail core of the neighborhood.

The association will start putting the luminaries together at 1 p.m. in Bergen Place.

"It will be a fun neighborhood work party and hopefully the start of an annual tradition, event coordinator Tiffany Gabrel said in a press release. "Anyone is welcome to come help us light up Ballard. The more the merrier."

The Luminary Walk will take place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The In Ballard Merchants Association invites the whole neighborhood to come out to stroll the neighborhood to enjoy the holiday mood and festivities.

Participating merchants will display “Holiday Treats Here” signs in their windows.


A tradition that West Seattleites look forward to every holiday season has arrived, the Christmas Ships. It's put on by Argosy Cruises. Pictured, onlookers converged at Seacrest Park at 5:15pm Saturday , Dec. 12, to watch the boats despite the record-low temperatures.

If you own your own boat, Argosy suggests that you are welcome to add lights to your vessel and join in the festival. The Argosy Christmas Ship™ festival is a holiday celebration that has been a Northwest tradition for 60 years. Its main purpose is to bring communities together to celebrate the holiday season.

Choirs onboard sing 20-minute performances, all broadcast via state-of-the-art speaker system.

On shore, hundreds of people gather around roaring bonfires anticipating the arrival of the Christmas Ship™.

CHOIR: Northwest Girlchoir - Vivace
5:15-5:35 Seacrest Marina*
CHOIR: Canterbury Belles
8:50-9:10 Lowman Beach*,
9:40-10:00 Alki Beach*

CHOIR: Soundwave
7:10-7:30 Don Armeni*

Argosy Christmas Ships Fest photo.jpg
Photo credit: 
Steve Shay

Despite the record cold, a crowd of a couple hundred huddled around Seacrest Marina to watch, and listen, to the caroling Christmas boats.

As December wears on, more and more holiday lights are popping up all over Ballard, giving the neighborhood a festive glow.

There is no shortage in unique holiday styles, from classic white lights on 32nd Avenue Northwest to a field of candy canes in Olympic Manor to an army of inflatable characters across the street from Ballard High School.

Click the image above for a sampling of the holidays sights around Ballard.

If you would like to see your or your neighbor's holiday decorations included on www.BallardNewsTribune.com or in the Ballard News-Tribune, email them to michaelh@robinsonnews.com.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

An impressive array of lights in Olympic Manor. CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE PHOTOS.

Come wash away the challenges of 2009 and bath in the unlimited opportunities that 2010 brings to our lives by joining the West Seattle/White Center Polar Bear Swim this January 1, 2010 at 10:00 on Alki Beach.

Bring a suit, towel, slippers and dry clothes to put on after the swim. Over 50 of us gather each year at Alki Beach for our annual ceremony. (and it gets bigger each year!). We all hold hands in a long line, and run into Puget Sound together. It is great fun and not nearly as cold as one would think. And it makes the water a lot warmer when everyone runs in together holding hands. It is a grand time and the children have the most fun of all. Hot chocolate will be provided. We guarantee that this will help you get a great start on a new year filled with happiness, opportunity, love and adventure. If you are healthy, be brave! Come join the crowd. 10:00 am January 1, 2010 - Alki Beach across from Dukes.


Mark Ufkes (206) 595-7124
markufkes@comcast.net (email only access between Dec. 17-31)

Polar Swim 2009.jpg
Photo credit: 
Steve Shay

The public is invited to become polar bears Jan. 1 and take a quick chilly swim at Alki Beach at 10:00 am across from Dukes. These brave participants "brrrrraved" the cold at the annual event last year.

The 6th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Event was held in the parking lot just west of the West Seattle Junction on Saturday Dec. 5th.

Hundreds of people showed up to brave the cool temperatures, warmed by hot chocolate and the sounds of christmas music provided by the Endolyne Children's choir. Numerous West Seattle volunteer awards were announced and prizes awarded in a variety of raffles.
The Sugar Rush Baking Company also known as Coffee to a Tea with Sugar supplied coffee, hot chocolate, cider and cookies .

Host Marty Riemer chose a youngster from the crowd, Jordan Brownfield, 7, of Gatewood School, to flip the switch illuminating the 50 foot tall western red cedar tree and Christmas in the junction was off to a great start.

Click the image to see more photos from the event

Check out our new Flickr gallery of archived images from past stories.
Herald Flickr Gallery.

See video
Photo credit: 
Kimberly Robinson

The tree at the corner of 44th S.W. and Alaska Street was lit as the 6th annual Hometown Holidays event schedule got underway at the West Seattle Junction on Saturday, December 5th 2009. Click the image to see more photos from the event.

The West Seattle Kiwanis club held it's 63rd annual pancake breakfast at the Alki Masonic Hall at 4736 40th Avenue Southwest on Saturday Dec. 5th raising more than $2000. This year the breakfast served ham and pancakes to "between 400 to 500 people," said immediate past President Mike LaFranche, "A lot of pancakes, a lot of hot grill work."

Club Secretary "For about twenty years", Warren Lawless said, "We have the scouts from Boy Scout Troop 284 and we couldn't put it on without their help. We've sponsored them for 60 years."

Also participating in the event were West Seattle Hi-Yu, selling Christmas ornaments, the Kiwanis Club of White Center selling nuts, and some United States Marines there collecting toys for their Toys for Tots campaign.
There was a $5 donation charge.

This Kiwanis event and others throughout the year go to benefit youth in our community, specifically Key Clubs at area High Schools which mirror the Kiwanis club itself. "It's a leadership training club," said Lawless.

Photo credit: 
Patrick Robinson

Working the Kiwanis breakfast were James Lewis, Mike LaFranche, Cindy Niver, and Mindy Stensaas. The event is held every year to benefit youth activities.

Undeterred by a steady drizzle and the possibility of a relaxing holiday morning, hundreds of runners, joggers and walkers turned out for the third annual Seattle Turkey Trot Nov. 26 in Ballard.

More than 700 people had pre-registered for the 5K fun-run and walk, and registration was still open minutes before the race started.

Some participants donned serious running attire. Others dressed for the day, wearing feathered headbands, turkey hats or full-on Pilgrim garb.

"We are amazed and very pleased with the number of people here," said Nancy McKinney, director of the Ballard Food Bank.

The Turkey Trot is a fundraiser for the food bank. McKinney said she was not sure how much they raised with this year's race, but she guesses it is more than $15,000.

The numbers for Turkey Trot 2009 dwarfed those of the previous year, when 200 participants raised $2,500 for the food bank.

Nick Roosa, a 24-year-old New Yorker in town visiting his sister, was the first to cross the finish line.

He said the Turkey Trot, which headed south on 32nd Northwest from 85th Avenue Northwest and ended at Golden Gardens, was a lot of fun. He has raced in a lot of them but never won.

Photo credit: 
Michael Harthorne

The first wave of runners takes off at the third annual Seattle Turkey Trot, a fundraiser for Ballard Food Bank, Nov. 26. CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE PHOTOS.

This holiday season, help bring joy to local people in need. Hiawatha Community Center, 2700 California Ave. SW, is holding a Giving Tree from now through December 17.

Bring in an unwrapped gift to the center, and it will be wrapped and donated to a local charity. For every donation, the donor will receive a ticket for one meal at the center’s Holiday Feast from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, December 18. The cost is $8 for each additional meal.

The Holiday Feast will feature dinner and a craft table for creating holiday decorations to take home. Last year’s dinner featured fried turkey, vegetables, vegetarian offerings, desserts, and more.

Please bring in gifts early. For more information, please call the center at 206-684-7441 or see www.seattle.gov/.

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