Eclectic, urban, outdoorsy, artsy, gritty, down-to-earth, well-heeled…Seattle is a city of many faces. Within such a melting pot it is little surprise that so many diverse festivals and fairs have reared their heads, most of which take place during the city’s summer months. We’ve narrowed down 12 of the very finest.
Seattle Art Fair
CenturyLink Field Event Center, 4 – 7 August
Founded by American entrepreneur Paul Allen, the inaugural Seattle Art Fair arrived with a bang last year, and the latest edition is expected to make an even bigger impact, with over 80 galleries from around the world selected to showcase their works. Taking place at the city’s CenturyLink Field Event Center and in surrounding neighbourhoods, this year’s event will place a special focus on the Pacific Rim, with artwork exploring the distinctive cultural, social and geographical features of this vast area that spans the entire rim of the Pacific Ocean. Among those taking part will be a diverse mix of established and emerging artists from Seattle, the wider northwest region and far beyond. The art will be displayed in varying exhibits, spanning sculpture, performance and installation. Throughout the fair, there will also be daily talks and conversations involving artists and leaders in creative fields such as film and music. (Photo: Seattle Art Fair)
Taking place in the sleepy port town of Anacortes, north of Seattle, the Anacortes Arts Festival is as laid back as you would expect. It consists of ten blocks of artisans from around the country, three lively and diverse music stages, and an over-the-water Fine Art Exhibition. Also included in the three-day festival programme is a Working Studios area including steamroller block printing, while food trucks offer regional fare – including fresh seafood plucked from the Pacific ocean just hours earlier. There’s also beer gardens pouring microbrews, wine from the Northwest region and cocktails. An active Kids Area and “Art Dash” (a certified run) round out the activities. (Photo: Anacortes Arts Festival)
Bite of Seattle
Seattle Center, 15 – 17 July
The Groupon Bite of Seattle is the Northwest’s premier food and beverage showcase and one of the country’s largest summer festivals. The Bite celebrates its 35th Anniversary this year and features 60+ restaurants and vendors, local Craft Beer and Cider Tasting, all-new The Wine Bar and Craft Courtyard, 5 music & entertainment stages, a free movie night, beer gardens featuring both local craft beer and local signature cocktails and spirits, local chefs performing live cooking demonstrations and mystery ingredient cook-offs on stage, a Family Fun stage, Sponsor tours and samples, and much more. (Photo: Bite of Seattle)
Redmond Arts Festival
Redmond Town Center, 8 – 10 July
Held at Redmond Town Center on the outskirts of Seattle, Redmond Arts Festival encapsulates the northwest region’s long history of producing world class art of every type. Produced by VALA Eastside in partnership with Redmond Town Center, the main focus of the three-day juried fair is inevitably the impressive array of artwork on display, including fine art, sculpture, pottery, handmade crafts and jewellery from over 60 individual artists. But that’s only the half of it, as there’s also live music on a main stage, food trucks and other activities. Little wonder that some 10,000 visitors descend on the fair each year. (Photo: Redmond Arts Festival)
Magnolia, 5 – 7 August
Taking place in one of Seattle’s largest neighbourhoods occupying a hilly peninsula northwest of downtown, Magnolia Summerfest is the ultimate in community-led endeavours. Indeed, such is its reliance on civic, voluntary help that it very nearly missed its fundraising target for this year. Luckily, the locals came good, so we can all look forward to the 2016 edition which once again promises an action-packed programme with plenty of fun things to do for adults and kids alike. Things not to miss include the annual Art Show, a Merchants’ Sidewalk Sale, a kid’s parade and seafair parade, arts and crafts booths, pony rides, clowns and magicians, food stalls and a beer garden. (Photo: sea turtle via Flickr)
Stillaguamish Festival of the River & Pow Wow
River Meadows County Park, 13 – 14 August
There are no shortage of depictions of Native Americans in popular culture, but it is also important to give those with an indigenous heritage the opportunity to celebrate their own culture on their own terms. Thankfully, there’s an annual festival that takes place an hour north of Seattle each year that performs just that role. Held at the River Meadows County Park, the Stillaguamish Festival of the River & Pow Wow is sponsored by the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians of Washington, who received federal recognition in 1974, and honours traditional dance and cultural pursuits, as well as promoting environmental awareness. Some of the stand-out festival activities include a live circus troupe, a 5k fun run, children’s storytelling, environmental and wellness exhibits, fun zone rides, a logging show and an obstacle course. (Photo: Stillaguamish Festival of the River & Pow Wow)
Bellevue Square & Bellevue Arts Museum, 29 – 31 July
Celebrating its 70th anniversary this July, the Bellevue Arts Museum ARTSfair is a prominent fixture on Seattle’s cultural calendar, featuring over 300 inspiring artists showcasing unique, handmade arts and crafts, all selected with the help of a jury from a pool of about 900 applications. Organised by the Bellevue Arts Museum, the fair’s longevity is testament to its success, with visitors coming from far and wide to enjoy one of the area’s most popular art events. It is held across two venues – at Bellevue Square and at the museum itself, and the event programme also includes BAM Exhibitions, KIDSfair, a Sound & Movement Stage, food trucks, site specific artwork and much more. (Photo: BAM ARTSfair)
Sustainable Ballard Festival
BaODDMALLllard Commons Park, August 27
Many festivals start and end with frivolous fun, but the Sustainable Ballard Festival succeeds in creating an energetic, up-beat atmosphere while also being underpinned by a serious commitment that we can all get behind. Now in its 13th year, the event in Seattle’s northwest neighbourhood of Ballard is designed to promote and encourage our progress towards a sustainable future by advocating environmental and social awareness, as well as stronger community integration, all presented in a positive, accessible way. The action-packed programme includes hands-on activities, and workshops, live music and a Tea Garden, all contributing to a happy, vibrant ambience – and plenty of hope for the future. (Photo: Sustainable Ballard Festival)
Maritime Gig Festival
Gig Harbor, June 4 – 5
What draws thousands of people to the area’s largest annual summer festival and is named after a small boat that holds only a handful of rowers? The upcoming Maritime Gig Festival, of course, soon to tie up again in Gig Harbor this June. Combining popular family traditions—including an authentic small town parade – with an array of fun activities and new business opportunities, the festival is one of the stand-out events on the city’s calendar. New for this year will be a Maritime Gig Kids performance area, where a variety of children’s groups from all over Gig Harbor will showcase their talents, while the festival will also see the return of its well-attended car show featuring both modern and classic automobiles. (Photo: Maritime Gig Festival)
Oddmall: Emporium of the Weird
Holiday Inn Downtown-Everett, 4 – 5 June
Oddmall is more than just an ordinary craft show. It’s a celebration of uniqueness, creativity, imagination, and wonder, where artists, crafters, and like-minded sorts gather to offer their unusual creations for public consumption. It’s a forum for creative expression, a classroom for esoteric wisdom, a soapbox for wild ideas, a miraculous marketplace of the unconventional, or, as one organiser told me, “a metaphorical Serengetian watering hole where the zebras and wildebeests of inspiration and artistry congregate amid the snapping crocodiles and scorching sunbeams of originality and ingenuity.” And if that doesn’t pique your interest, nothing will. (Photo: Oddmall: Emporium of the Weird)
Centennial Park, Myrtle Edwards Park & Olympic Sculpture Park, 19 – 21 August
Whatever your opinions on drugs policy, it’s hard not to appreciate the strong sense of community values that are woven into the fabric of this popular annual event. Taking place each year in Centennial Park – and set to celebrate its 25th anniversary – HEMPFEST is widely recognised as the world’s largest annual cannabis policy reform event in the world, but as visitors will attest, it’s also a serious party, with live music, arts and crafts stalls, and food and drink in ample supply. With Washington State the first in America to legalise cannabis in 2012, it goes without saying that there’s plenty of opportunities to indulge on that front as well. For those who like to mix politics with pleasure, the event also boasts an impressive alumni of guest speakers including US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper and actor Woody Harrelson. (Photo: Susmita Tantubay)
Seattle Center, 9 July
With more than 15,000 Polish Americans living in the Seattle area, there is good reason for the city to spend one day a year celebrating Polish culture and traditions. That day takes place at the Seattle Center every July and sees an action-packed programme of live music, dance performances, workshops, exhibits and children’s activities. Organised by the Seattle Polish Foundation in partnership with the Seattle Center and Polish Home Association, this year’s festival will draw its focus on the fascinating Polish capital of Warsaw and the historic region of Mazovia. There’ll also be authentic Polish food and a beer garden to keep visitors well-nourished and satiated. (Photo: Polish Festival)
Analytical cookies are used to understand how visitors interact with the website. These cookies help provide information on metrics the number of visitors, bounce rate, traffic source, etc.
1 year 24 days
The __gads cookie, set by Google, is stored under DoubleClick domain and tracks the number of times users see an advert, measures the success of the campaign and calculates its revenue. This cookie can only be read from the domain they are set on and will not track any data while browsing through other sites.
The _ga cookie, installed by Google Analytics, calculates visitor, session and campaign data and also keeps track of site usage for the site's analytics report. The cookie stores information anonymously and assigns a randomly generated number to recognize unique visitors.
This cookie is installed by Google Universal Analytics to restrain request rate and thus limit the collection of data on high traffic sites.
Installed by Google Analytics, _gid cookie stores information on how visitors use a website, while also creating an analytics report of the website's performance. Some of the data that are collected include the number of visitors, their source, and the pages they visit anonymously.
AddThis sets this cookie to track page visits, sources of traffic and share counts.
YouTube sets this cookie via embedded youtube-videos and registers anonymous statistical data.
1 year 1 month
Set by addthis.com to determine the usage of addthis.com service.