West Seattle, Washington
(WSB photo from 2013 celebration at Vietnamese Cultural Center)
Looking ahead to next Sunday – you’re invited to a New Year celebration at the Vietnamese Cultural Center in West Seattle. From Lee Bui and Lynda Bui:
The Vietnamese Cultural Center would like to invite the community to our Tết Celebration for the Year of the Monkey. We will have lion dancing and fireworks. Afterwards there will be light refreshments and karaoke inside.
12 pm-3 pm Sunday, February 14th – 2236 SW Orchard St.
If you haven’t been to the VCC – here’s some backstory from the WSB archives.
(Video/photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand, unless otherwise credited)
Clear sky, 33-degree air, 50-degree water, and hundreds of cheery participants combined for this year’s West Seattle Polar Bear Swim at Alki Beach this morning. Here’s the leader of the countdown you hear in the video, organizer Mark Ufkes:
He went in wearing his “I (Heart) White Center” T-shirt. As usual, the crowd was peppered with costumes and uniforms – and it’s not a Polar Bear Swim without the softball umpires:
Another group went prehistoric:
The most popular “costume” generally involved head/face gear of some kind:
(This photo and next one by Scott Nelson)
The Olympics provided a beautiful backdrop:
To get the internal temperature back up afterward, free chowder courtesy of Duke’s (right across the street from the gathering spot for the “swim”):
Can’t guarantee the sunshine but the day and time are locked in – so mark your calendar for New Year’s Day 2017!
P.S. Our clip from the sidewalk gives you more of an idea of how many people were on the beach before, during, and after:
(Reviewing our links, you might be surprised to see it’s been sunny on NYD more often than not!)
(The Olympics on New Year’s Eve, by Monica Zaborac – you can soak in the same view today)
Welcome to 2016! Here’s what you need to know on this first day of the new year:
GETTING AROUND: Metro‘s on a Sunday schedule; the Water Taxi is not running; Washington State Ferries‘ Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth route is on a regular weekday schedule.
RESTAURANTS: Our annual list of holiday hours has info for West Seattle restaurants that told us they’d be open today/tonight – but please note the disclaimer.
COFFEE: See the West Seattle Holiday Guide for shops that told us they’d be open today.
GROCERY STORES: The only one closed today is Trader Joe’s.
NYD WALKS: Emerald City Wanderers invite you to walk into 2016, with 5- and 10-kilometer routes you can start any time between 9 am and noon from St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church. (3050 California SW)
POLAR BEAR SWIM: 10 am on Alki Beach, across from Duke’s (which provides clam chowder for the hardy “swimmers”) – info in our preview. As we write this, the air temperature is 25 degrees, water temperature 50 degrees, so consider it a way to warm up! (58th SW & Alki SW)
SPECIAL CLASS: 10 am at the Center for Movement and Healing, with meditation, dance, and more. Info here. (7901 35th SW)
LABYRINTH WALK: Our Lady of Guadalupe hosts its first New Year’s Day Labyrinth Walk – visit any time between 11 am and 1 pm; details here. (35th SW & SW Myrtle)
ORIGINAL FRIDAY REPORT: Thanks to West Seattle photographer Craig Young for sharing views of the Space Needle fireworks that launched the new year.
Ever wonder what goes into planning the show? GeekWire talked to the “architect” of the show since its start 20+ years ago, Alberto Navarro.
ADDED SATURDAY: Two more photos, above and below this line, shot by Bill Morgan from Hamilton Viewpoint Park in North Admiral:
(WSB video and photos by Patrick Sand)
If you weren’t part of it, watch the video to see and hear the boisterous Not-So-Silent Night Parade as it headed out from Highland Park Improvement Club tonight, to kick off HPIC’s three-part New Year’s Eve celebration. Noisemakers, costumes, and lights were the order of the night.
The parade crossed SW Holden at the newly enhanced crosswalk just east of HPIC, walking and rolling along several blocks before returning to the historic community center – note the flashing beacons at left in the next photo:
Immediately afterward, everyone gathered in the parking lot for the Sage Comet Performance, a fiery farewell to the old year. First, torchbearers stood at the ready to light the sage:
Then, the mesmerizing twirling and whirling began – see it in our video:
And then, everyone headed inside for an early edition of HPIC’s popular monthly Corner Bar, usually on the first Friday night of the month.
The youngest revelers had a space of their own.
DJs and a costume contest are part of the fun, which is continuing into 2016.
Along with the monthly Corner Bar, HPIC also hosts activities including free Movie Nights, community meetings, classes, and more – it’s where we presented West Seattle’s first candidate forum in the District 1 City Council race back in February. Info’s at hpic1919.org.
Stopped by Admiral Bird‘s kid-friendly New Year’s Eve party around 7:30 pm – moving toward watching the East Coast ball-drop at 9 pm our time – and it was already shoulder-to-shoulder, at kid height and adult height. Kind of like the Times Square experience! We ducked back out quickly so as not to take up space that could be used by the would-be partiers who were still showing up at the door. More West Seattle NYE coverage to come.
(WSB photo from last year’s Rainbow Girls tree-cycling event)
The West Seattle Rainbow Girls just announced they’ll have a by-donation tree-recycling dropoff again this year, on the day after New Year’s: Next, Saturday, January 2, 9 am-2 pm, in the parking lot outside the Alki Masonic Hall, 4736 40th Ave SW. Cash donations accepted. No need to cut your tree into sections – as is requested for city tree-cycling – but no tinsel or flocking, please.
(Last year’s Space Needle fireworks, photographed from West Seattle by David Hutchinson)
This year’s edition of the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, launched in mid-November and updated all season long, has its grand finale coming up at week’s end – New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. You’ll already find listings from the Highland Park Improvement Club “Not So Silent Night Parade” to the Admiral Bird‘s kid-friendly dance party to the just-confirmed Polar Bear Swim on Alki, but we’re also putting out one last call for anything you want to add, like bar parties/live music, NYD coffee-shop hours, etc. Just e-mail the info ASAP to firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks!
If you’ve walked past the West Seattle Junction Christmas tree in the past few days, maybe you noticed that single shiny ornament. It was placed there by Wesley and Jacqui, who shared the photos, saying they hope to inspire others to do the same next year and beyond:
We just wanted to share our new tradition of adding our personal ornament to the Junction Plaza tree. We look forward to adding our ornament as soon as the tree is lit next year and hope other West Seattleites can add their ornaments as well.
The West Seattle Junction Association arranges for the lights on the tree and the smaller trees in the park, as part of Hometown Holidays, which WSB co-sponsored again this year. We’ll make a note to get the ornament idea into next year’s holiday coverage; the tree is usually lit on the first Saturday night in December (here’s our coverage from this year)!
(2015 Polar Bear Swim photo by Craig Young)
For everyone who’s been asking: Organizer Mark Ufkes confirmed this morning that the annual New Year’s Day West Seattle Polar Bear Swim at Alki Beach is on:
10 am January 1, 2016 in front of Duke’s on Alki. We line up along the beach, hold hands, and after a short count down, we all run into the water. Last year, more than 500 participated. We go into the water at 10 am sharp after the count down, so get there a little early. Bring water shoes, towel, change of clothes and your hopes and dreams for 2016. Duke’s clam chowder is generously provided by Duke and his crew. This is a great way to wash away the complexities of 2015 and welcome the unlimited possibilities of 2016.
Here’s our coverage from last year.
In case your post-Christmas attention has turned to practical matters: The city’s window for tree recycling is a lot longer this year, as announced by Seattle Public Utilities:
Seattle residents can put their Christmas trees and holiday greens out next to their food and yard waste carts on their regular collection day at no extra charge from Dec. 26, 2015 through Jan. 31, 2016. Multi-family buildings may put out one tree next to each food and yard waste cart per collection day at no extra charge during this time.
Trees should be cut into sections no longer than six feet, with branches trimmed to less than four feet to fit into the collection trucks. Sections should be bundled with string or non-plastic twine. Metal, plastic and ornaments in trees and wreaths must be removed.
Customers may continue to set out holidays greens after Jan. 31 with a fee charged for any that are outside the food and yard waste cart.
Flocked or plastic trees, or trees that have tinsel or ornaments on them, will be collected with the garbage. Customers will need to cut these trees into three-foot pieces and will be charged extra garbage fees if they are outside the garbage can.
Seattle residents can also drop off holiday trees and greens for free at Seattle Public Utilities’ South Transfer Station from Dec. 26, 2015 through Jan. 31, 2016. Tree sections must be cut to eight feet or less in length and the trunk must be four inches or smaller in diameter. The limit is three trees per vehicle. Only trees and wreaths without flocking or decoration may be composted free of charge.
The South Transfer Station is in nearby South Park – here’s a map. It’s open 8 am-8 pm until January 15th; closing time changes to 5:30 pm starting January 16th.
You might recognize that as part of a photo circulated on Reddit and Facebook earlier this week. The backstory went like this: The wrapped gifts fell off a truck on the West Seattle Bridge. The person who picked them up asked for help finding their rightful owner(s). Long story short, the connection was finally made. We heard about it and asked if we could share the story of the happy ending, for all the people who tried to help. Elissa Sommer from Hope Lutheran confirms the gifts finally got to their intended recipient:
Hope Lutheran Church and School was helping a family this Christmas. In the process of delivering the packages, one bag fell off of the truck. The driver was unaware. Two vehicles swerved to avoid the bag but the third vehicle had to stop because he was a large truck. Instead of just pushing the bag to the side of the road in the pouring rain, the driver, Nick, pulled the packages into his vehicle. After trying to find the driver of the truck the packages fell from and not seeing them anywhere, he headed back to work at Plants Northwest in Redmond. He then proceeded to post a picture on both Facebook and Reddit to try and find owners of the packages. Well, we all know that West Seattle people are awesome and many posted ideas to find the owner. Several people from Hope Lutheran Church and School recognized the wrapping. They were soon able to identify and retrieve the packages from Plants Northwest. The gifts made their way to the intended recipient just in time for Christmas. Thanks so much to Nick for being a Good Samaritan and finding the owners of the packages. You truly saved Christmas for this child.
Thanks for the photos!
Karyn shared the photo of the full moon rising over Fauntleroy, seen from the ferry.
Not far from there, a Christmas tree in the wild, photographed by Terri:
She described it as a “nicely decorated and mulched new tree on the bluff at Lincoln Park.”
(From left – Jacob Fay, Jerry Lusher (JB’s grandfather), Eric Bauman, Brandon Lulow)
Thanks to Jennifer Lulow for sharing the photos and story of holiday giving:
Three Seattle Lutheran High School seniors – Eric Bauman, Jacob Fay, and Brandon Lulow – cooked Christmas breakfast for the homeless in memory of their football coach JB Lusher, who passed away earlier this year.
JB did this for his high school senior project and continued serving the homeless every Christmas.
These young men wanted to keep the tradition going to honor him.
They also put gift bags together with hats and gloves that they gave out when they served breakfast.
Thank you to the Lusher family for making this possible!
The trio’s plan was mentioned in this Seattle Times story last month about the football team’s triumphant year as they coped with losing not one but two mentors.
(From the WSB Flickr group – photo by Brian Wirt; click image for full-size view)
Merry Christmas! From our all-season-long West Seattle Holiday Guide:
RESTAURANTS THAT TOLD US THEY’LL BE OPEN TODAY/TONIGHT: Go here for the list (and please note the disclaimer!).
GROCERY STORES OPEN TODAY: Go here for the list of holiday schedules.
The following three types of info can be found by going directly to our guide:
WHERE TO GET COFFEE TODAY: At least five West Seattle coffee shops are open today.
WHERE TO FIND A CHRISTMAS DAY SERVICE: At least four West Seattle churches have services today.
WHERE TO SEE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS TONIGHT: The biggies, plus several other brightly lit homes about which we received tips – thanks!
Here are the transit changes for today:
METRO: Sunday schedule
SOUND TRANSIT: Weekend schedule
WATER TAXI: No service
WASHINGTON STATE FERRIES: Regular schedule for Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth, but some changes on other routes
TRAFFIC CAMERAS: See the West Seattle-relevant cams & links here.
Want to go to the movies?
ADMIRAL THEATER: Open this afternoon/evening (2343 California SW), showing “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Sisters” – here’s the schedule.
Breaking news tips? Lost/found pets?
YES, WSB REALLY IS 24/7/365: Best way to reach us with breaking news, traffic alerts, any changes to the holiday info we’ve mentioned above, etc. – 206-293-6302, text or voice. Have a wonderful day!
On this Christmas Eve, we have a few scenes to share – first, from West Seattle Lights, the music-synched show at 3908 SW Charlestown:
Tonight is special – with free hot chocolate served up starting at 6 pm.
That’s Debbie, who described herself as “sidekick” to WS Lights mastermind Jim Winder, who we talked into posing for a photo while we visited.
He was busy answering questions about the lively display – including one about how he knows how many lights are involved – “do you count them?” we heard him asked. Why, yes, he does. West Seattle Lights continues through New Year’s – see the schedule here (running late tonight, until midnight!) – and you’re invited to show your appreciation by helping out the two nonprofits it benefits, West Seattle Food Bank and Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation. You can bring nonperishable food to drop in the bin in front of the house and/or donate money to WSFB and/or NWPF via the WSL website.
If you were out and about before sunset – last-minute shopping was busy as ever. Especially grocery shopping, which is where our anonymous Arbor Heights correspondent found this elf and her folks:
Check the reindeer socks on 3-month-old Veda, spotted at Roxbury Safeway. Also this morning, shoppers at Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor) were serenaded:
West Seattle Christmas Eve photo to share? email@example.com – thanks as always!
(Menashe Family Lights panorama by Mike Swartz)
Christmas Eve is here. Here’s how to find lots of info you might find useful:
RESTAURANTS OPEN TODAY/TOMORROW: Our list is here.
GROCERY-STORE HOURS TODAY/TOMORROW: Our list is here.
Those two lists have proven to be of the most interest over the years, so we devote a significant amount of time to gathering the information (which generally requires a lot of phone calls). For the next two lists, we put out an open invitation, “send us your schedule and we’ll include it,” so if there’s someplace you don’t see, it’s because they didn’t send theirs:
CHRISTMAS CHURCH SERVICES: In the guide, if they sent their schedule.
COFFEE FOR TODAY/TOMORROW: Same.
Also in the guide:
LAST CHANCES TO SEE SANTA: Three today.
HOLIDAY LIGHTS: Our guide has a list including West Seattle Lights (3908 SW Charlestown), where they’ll be offering hot cocoa tonight, starting at 6. Throughout the season, WSL collects food for the West Seattle Food Bank, so bring something to drop in the bin! (And/or donate to WSFB and the NW Parkinson’s Foundation via the WSL website.)
P.S. If you’re interested in Christmas Eve swimming, Southwest Pool has two sessions this afternoon.
We published a question earlier today, on behalf of a reader who asked, and anyone else who might be wondering: Who’s still accepting toys for Christmas gift donations in our area? Alice Braverman replied:
Navos, a nonprofit organization located in West Seattle and Burien, serves the most vulnerable children and youth in our community. Our clients include school-age children who have been removed from their homes due to neglect and abuse as well as older youth with serious mental health issues. We also serve all ages of low income children and youth with outpatient services in their homes and in over 40 schools. We would be pleased to accept donations of toys to distribute to our clients. We can arrange to pick them up tomorrow morning before noon if anyone in our community would like to donate to Navos and the children we help. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Community support is vital to sustaining our programs and services so thank you for your consideration.
If you know of anyone else also still accepting toy donations (or other gift items) tomorrow, please e-mail us and/or comment.
Most of the gift drives we had featured in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide are over now, so that the recipient organizations have time to get everything wrapped and delivered for Christmas. So after getting a reader note asking what to do with unwrapped, unopened toys, we’re asking you: Anyone still in need of donated items for Christmas gifts, toys or otherwise? If so, please let us know what/who and when/where dropoffs can be made. You can e-mail us at email@example.com – we’ll add to the story – or, you can comment below. Thanks!
Three days before Christmas, and just in case you’re wondering, the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide now includes links to our list of restaurants open on Christmas Eve and/or Day, as well as our list of grocery-store hours for those two days. The restaurant list is here; it’s the result of dozens of phone calls, and we know businesses sometimes change their plans at the last minute, so if you have a change or addition, please let us know – firstname.lastname@example.org. Meantime, the supermarket list is here. (If you still haven’t browsed the guide, note that it also includes Christmas Eve/Day church services, as well as New Year’s Eve/Day info, and we’ll continue with daily updates until 2016 is here.)
With lights twinkling and bells jingling, dozens headed out on the ultimate holiday-season fun run tonight – the annual Christmas Lights Run organized by West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor), whose proprietors Lori and Tim McConnell led the decked-out way (with Myrtle the greyhound):
This was the first Christmas Lights Run since they moved WSR north to 2743 California SW, but the route included its traditional highlight, the West Seattle Lights/Helmstetler Family Spectacular music-synched light show at 3908 SW Charlestown.
We’ve been looking, and asking, but haven’t come up with much of a list of must-see Christmas-lights displays this year. One theory: With so few breaks in the rain earlier this month, some people missed the usual windows for putting up lights. But we’re still looking – and last night we happened onto a stretch to add to the (short) list in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide: 30th SW between Roxbury and Barton has a lot of spirit, including the home in our photo above. If you have any recommendations – either a spirited street, or a particular house – please comment here or e-mail (email@example.com). Especially in the next few nights ahead before Christmas Eve, looking at lights is a long-held tradition, and we’re always happy to help, so we’ll add whatever turns up. Thanks!