West Seattle, Washington
Story and video by Randall G. Hauk
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
More than 90 participants of all ages kicked off tonight’s Highland Park New Year’s Blast (and Potluck!) by marching in the Not-So-Silent Night Parade.
Armed with assorted noise-making devices and papier-maché lanterns, children and adults set out from the Highland Park Improvement Club on a several-block march through the surrounding neighborhood, stopping traffic and bringing people out onto their front porches and yards to exchange shouted wishes for a “Happy New Year.”
Dan Mullins served as a sort of de-facto grand marshal of the procession, with tonight marking the third annual New Year’s Eve noise-making march, though he noted that the neighborhood has been gathering for community events on the last day of the year for 91 years.
Awaiting the group in the parking lot of the club afterward was another relatively new tradition for the holiday: the “Sage Comet.”
Former Cirque de Flambé member Chris Huson was joined by Rory Denovan in a fireball-twirling display, adding a bit of heat to the chilly evening air.
Wearing kilts as a nod to the tradition’s Scottish “Hogmanay” roots, the men spun flaming wire cages in large circles around them. Despite the name given the event, “Sage Comet,” it was bits of Christmas trees and rosemary set aflame by another Cirque alum, known only as “Tricky Bunny.”
Keeping with the family-orientation of the evening, Huson and Denovan were attended by their wives — Kristin Huson and Becca Fong –donning black robes and holding tall torches in front of the gathered crowd, lending an air of ritual to the proceedings.
Once the flames had burned out, revellers were invited back into the club for a potluck dinner and a night of live music from four bands, promising to carry the festivities securely into 2012.
With a solid attendance already on hand for the early part of the night, HPIC secretary Julie Schickling expected as many as 150 people might attend throughout the evening.
From the North Delridge Neighborhood Council website: Two neighborhood-advocate positions are open on the “Delridge Alliance” advisory group that’ll work on issues related to the Downtown Emergency Service Center‘s plan for a 75-apartment “supportive housing” project at 5444 Delridge Way SW. The alliance’s formation was discussed at last month’s NDNC meeting, as reported here. If you’re interested in being part of it, details and links are in this writeup on the NDNC site. The project itself passed the first round of Design Review earlier this month (WSB coverage with video, here), with at least one more round to come, though the review-meeting date is not set yet.
For more than four years now, we’ve been glad to be able to work with photojournalist Christopher Boffoli. Though lately his career focus have turned toward the unique “Disparity” imagery that gained worldwide attention this year, he took the time to look back at his WSB work from this year and put together a slideshow of dozens of memorable images. Many were from breaking-news stories, as that’s been his WSB specialty over the years, but that’s not all you’ll see if you click through the photos (or let them play automatically) … watch closely for, for example, the most-talked-about food from last July’s West Seattle Summer Fest. Speaking of food, Christopher’s about to open an exhibition of images from his “Disparity” work, January 10-February 23 at Winston Wächter Fine Art (203 Dexter Ave. N. downtown).
P.S. 2 more year-in-review roundups to come … we’ve archived previous installments (plus this one) here.
“Bird Watcher Newbies” sent that photo. Sometimes we can “name that bird” without asking for community help; this time, nope, we need you. They write:
We just had a feathered visitor near our house on Alki, and not having seen him before wanted to know if it could be posted for those who know for identification. He had an interesting call, which our intrepid hound still wants to locate!
The photo above is as close as we could crop it, by the way. Thanks, if you can help!
Paul Swortz added that photo to the WSB Flickr group pool back in October, but it seems more evocative of the New Year’s Eve party mood as people start staking out Harbor Avenue viewpoints for tonight’s Space Needle fireworks. Here’s what else is on the schedule as the New Year approaches:
TAKE A WALK: The Emerald City Wanderers have New Year’s Eve and Day walks planned here in West Seattle again this year; tonight, start between 4 and 7 PM at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church and head down to Alki Beach. Free! More info on the ECW website.
CLOSING EARLY: Not all-inclusive, but a few that we’ve heard about/found … Seattle Public Library facilities close at 6 pm (and are closed tomorrow); state liquor stores are open till 8 pm; PCC Natural Markets (WSB sponsor) close at 10 tonight, open 9 am-7 pm tomorrow …
NEW YEAR’S EVE DINNER – multiple restaurants listed on the WSB West Seattle Holidays page (and if you have trouble finding contact info for any other West Seattle restaurant, consult its page in the WSB Restaurant Guide, where we also have linked its Facebook and/or Twitter pages if they have ’em).
NEW YEAR’S EVE NOT-SO-SILENT NIGHT PARADE, AND HIGHLAND PARK IMPROVEMENT CLUB PARTY: Gather starting at 6:15 pm in the Highland Park Improvement Club parking lot at 11th/Holden; the parade is at 6:30, party following – full details here.
NEW YEAR’S EVE BASH AT MENCHIE’S FROZEN YOGURT: 7 pm-11 pm: Balloons, coloring contest, games, party-room raffle (1 raffle ticket with each purchase), pictures with Menchie & other surprises – facebook.com/menchiesadmiral.
LOTS MORE NEW YEAR’S EVE BAR/LOUNGE PARTIES – listed on the WSB West Seattle Holidays page
FIREWORKS AT THE SPACE NEEDLE: Just in case you’re new in town, if you can find a spot with a view of the Space Needle, you can enjoy the eight-minute fireworks show at … no, not midnight, the Needle reminds you via Twitter, 11:59 pm. But don’t wait till the last minute. And please note that traffic along Harbor Avenue, pretty much all the way up to Alki, is generally absolute gridlock late in the evening, so don’t wait till the last minute to go look for a spot (we speak from experience).
NEW YEAR’S EVE AT THE HELMSTETLER FAMILY SPECTACULAR CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SHOW: Want to catch it one more time? Free cocoa tonight, as mentioned a couple weeks back. Official website with directions and lots more info, here.
WANT TO TAKE OUT THE CHRISTMAS TREE? If you just can’t wait till next week’s pickup, you can take it for free to the South Transfer Station. Details on the Seattle Public Utilities website.
“Fred by the Library” sent this just before midnight:
Saw 2 healthy-sized coyotes about 30 minutes ago by Arch Ave SW and Walnut Ave SW [map] while walking the dog. They sauntered away to the NW after we saw each other (they were about 50 yards away).
Thought others in the neighborhood might like to know.