West Seattle, Washington
In this morning’s “West Seattle Saturday” preview, we mentioned the scheduled Alki launch of “sky lanterns” as a fundraiser for youth arts education. Seems the wind on Alki was not conducive to a mass lantern launch, and organizers announced via Twitter they were moving to the south end of Lincoln Park and planning to send up the lanterns around 10. So we’re mentioning it in case anyone in that area is taken by surprise.
(Photos by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
When Seattle Police Officer John Bernasconi pulled his motorcycle up to the curb near the start of the West Seattle Grand Parade route this morning, to join the Drill Team as its leader for one last ride, a colleague joked, “Hey, this is seniors’ parking.”
The officer laughed. Within an hour, there would be time for more somber emotions – though the hugs and handshakes began long before he and his colleagues reached the California/Charlestown intersection where a ceremony was planned to mark his last ride.
This year, he is retiring, not just from the Drill Team after 36 years (12 as Drillmaster), but from the force after 43 years. We told his story here on Thursday,
Though he has worked from the downtown-based Traffic Division, those who speak fondly of him include Southwest Precinct leadership past and present – Traffic Division vets – current commander Capt. Steve Paulsen, past commander Capt. Joe Kessler (who now leads the West Precinct and was at today’s ceremony), current operations Lt. Pierre Davis. “He is just the nicest guy” is something we heard often.
And fittingly for a nice guy, though the morning was a tribute to him, he brought the gifts – bouquets of flowers for his wife Cindy, daughter Alexandra (visiting from Australia), and his mom (visiting from California). Our nine-minute uncut video shows how the farewell unfolded:
(That video is by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand; for a shorter clip, see Christopher Boffoli‘s video here.)
What made this particularly unusual was the fact it was held during the West Seattle Grand Parade – Officer Bernasconi’s choice, because he is a native West Seattleite, and it’s where he and Cindy, married 28 years, raised 23-year-old Alexandra:
Then after applause and more hugs ..
…off he rode:
…while his teammates, and their counterparts from Vancouver, B.C. – who as shown in our long clip also stopped to pay tribute – continued the parade.
The crowd continues to grow in the courtyard next to Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor), home to West Seattle Outdoor Movies, which opens its 2012 season tonight at dusk (an hour and a quarter or so away) with “Pretty in Pink.” Admission is free but bring $ for raffles and concessions, which always have a beneficiary – tonight, WestSide Baby:
Yes, that’s WS Baby’s executive director Nancy Woodland handling the popcorn machine, hours after a fun ride in the West Seattle Grand Parade as its Grand Marshal (see video in our first parade report). Tomorrow’s a huge day for WS Baby too – its annual Stuff the Bus diaper drive; bring diaper donations to the AmericanWest Bank lot at 41st and Alaska between 10 am and 2 pm. Back to movie night … the team from longtime WSB sponsor Dream Dinners is serving up jambalaya:
Always a fun time. West Seattle Outdoor Movies (with co-sponsors including WSB) continue every Saturday night for five more weeks after this – see the schedule at wsmovies.org.
(Video of the race’s start and first 2 photos, by Christopher Boffoli for WSB)
About 300 people ran and/or walked in the first-ever West Seattle Float Dodger 5K, a kind of opening act for the West Seattle Grand Parade, was a big success, reports Tim McConnell of West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor), which played a big role in making it happen. Tim and wife/co-proprietor Lori McConnell both participated, too, in costume (which was encouraged):
The race started under cloudy skies, but no rain:
The “float dodging” happened after participants walked/ran the first leg of the race, north from California/Charlestown to California/Lander, the starting line of the parade – where the West Seattle Hi-Yu float was parked, minus royalty, for them to run around:
(WSB photo by Tracy Record)
From there, they ran southbound along the entire parade route to the finish at California/Edmunds. The results are available online now – go here. The top male finisher was 29-year-old Mark Mandi, with a net time of 15:28; top female finisher was 30-year-old Bekka Martin, with a net time of 20:17. Other winners included the beneficiaries, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Rotary Club of West Seattle, whose members helped with race staging/organizing – here’s Gary Potter of Potter Construction (WSB sponsor) with some of the course markers:
(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
This was one of two Rotary events on parade morning – the other was the Kiddie Parade; photos from that are coming up. Run for Good Racing Company was a partner in making the Float Dodger 5K happen, too. So far, sounds like the first one won’t be the last – so watch for the registration announcement next year!
(WSB video of the All-City Band, top Overall Trophy Winner today)
Just announced by West Seattle Grand Parade coordinators – today’s winners!
Clowns & Comics
1. Seattle Seafair Clowns
2. Keystone Kops
1. Pathfinder K-8 School (Unicycle Team)
2. Lake City Vigilantes
3. Seattle Seafair Pirates
(Photo by Dan Holz)
1. Kennedy Catholic High School Marching Band
(This photo and next one by Nick Adams for WSB)
2. Seattle Seahawks Blue Thunder
3. Pacific Northwest Drumline (Tie)
3. Seattle Police Pipe & Drum Band
Drill Teams – Senior
1. Electronetts High Steppers Drill Team & Drumline
2. The Dolls Drill Team
3. Super Steppers Marching Team
Drill Teams – Junior
1. Electronetts Butterflies Drill Team
2. Washington Diamonds Drill Team
3. Daughters of Royalty Drill Team
Cars & Antique Cars
(Photo courtesy Lance Rasmussen)
1. Pacific Northwest DeLorean Club
2. Last Resort Fire Department
3. Seattle Lutheran Schools
1. Your Seattle City Light and the Northwest Tap Connection Dance Team
2. Luna Park Café
3. Seattle Public Utilities
(WSB video of part of the OLG parade entry)
1. Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish & School
2. Little Gym of West Seattle
(Photo by Nick Adams for WSB)
3. WestSide Baby
1. Marysville Strawberry Festival
Overall Trophy Winners
1. Seattle Schools All-City Marching Band (see video atop this story)
2. Chinese Community Girls Drill Team
3. Sumner High School Marching Band
(Troupe Rashaad from Lacey, at Medfest this afternoon)
ORIGINAL SATURDAY REPORT: Steps away from where the West Seattle Grand Parade (WSB coverage here) began just a few hours ago … another big event is continuing till 7 tonight (and again tomorrow). Belly-dancing is the main event at the Mediterranean Fantasy Festival – Medfest for short – in and around Hiawatha Community Center; it’s celebrating its quarter-century anniversary this time! Shopping and browsing are popular too:
Admission is free. Performers and vendors come from all over the region – the schedule is online, but you also can get a program at the festival – browsing the copy we picked up, we’re seeing performers from Idaho, Montana, Oregon, even Rhode Island, as well as here in Washington. There are indoor and outdoor performances, till 7 tonight, and 11-5 on Sunday. The Babylonian Ensemble co-sponsors the festival, along with the Hiawatha Advisory Council (which benefits from the vendor fees, to help pay for center programs).
ADDED POST-FESTIVAL: A Sunday photo shared by Dina Johnson (who designed the MedFest banner in the photo):
Dina says Tiffany, at left, “is a Tribal Bellydancer from West Seattle, one of Troupe Hipnotica’s (very accomplished) students. Saroya, who grew up in West Seattle, has been co-producing MedFest for 25 years now.”
It’s 12:33 pm as we publish this – almost 2 hours after the West Seattle Grand Parade began with the Seattle Police Motorcycle Drill Team, almost 3 hours after the Float Dodger 5K preceded the parade down the course – and even here at the starting line, California/Lander, the parade isn’t over yet. About 10 minutes ago, the Seafair Pirates took their turn heading down the route, and we caught their first cannon blast on video (above). The very start of the route is a great place to watch – especially if you like to see a bit of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering; for parade participants (we’ve been in it three times), getting the signal to move onto the route is a thrilling moment – here’s Lora Swift from Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor), atop her Mini looking out of, of course, a coffee cup:
Just before we walked up to photograph the Hotwire entry, Lora e-mailed us this photo from HER viewpoint atop the cupmobile:
Sustainable West Seattle has, of course, a human-powered entry again this year:
And while the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums were marching for their first appearance in this parade, the U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flew over (as of the Monday night parade-lineup meeting, it had been requested, but it’s never a sure thing; an emergency might call for it) – it’s at the end of this short clip:
And of course there was royalty! One of the Seafair princesses was Kelsey Bills, representing West Seattle Hi-Yu in this year’s Seafair Scholarship Program for Women –
Will she become queen? We’ll find out just before next Saturday night’s Torchlight Parade. Meantime, Hi-Yu’s appearance today will be in one of our upcoming reports.
ADDED 12:56 PM: Traffic note – the parade is over now at the NORTH end of the route, through the Admiral District, and from Admiral Safeway, we are seeing traffic moving again along California in this area. The parade still has some time to go in The Junction, though, so it won’t be fully reopened for a while.
ADDED 1:07 PM: The parade has now finished passing California/Charlestown, our crew at that intersection reports.
ADDED 1:56 PM: One more clip for this story – Nancy Woodland from WestSide Baby entering the parade route as Grand Marshal, followed by the WS Baby bus and volunteers (even chanting!), and then after a bit of a pause, Shirley Vradenburgh riding with the Orville Rummel Trophy for Outstanding Community Service:
In forthcoming reports, we’ll have much more parade coverage; we had four photojournalists covering today’s parade (including a team covering the mid-course farewell ceremony for SPD drill-team Drillmaster Officer John Bernasconi).
(Scroll down for latest pre-parade updates till it all gets going around 10:30)
We’re starting West Seattle Grand Parade morning at Merrill Gardens-Admiral Heights (WSB sponsor), where the Seafair Pirates have just swept in for a “raid” (so says a sign on the front door) – and are serenading residents, staff, and West Seattle Hi-Yu royalty, with pirate songs (ending “We never put out to sea”) at the start of a big day. Here’s the Pirates’ leader, Captain Kidd (aka Lance English), with members of last year’s royalty:
One pirate appeared to be attempting to “borrow” this year’s Junior Court Queen Thea‘s pendant for their treasure chest … hmm:
In a couple hours, the Pirates will “sail” Moby Duck down California SW, cannon blasts, sword-sweeping and all. The road is closed from Admiral Way south, remember; the Float Dodger 5K starts from California/Charlestown at 9:45, while parade preps continue further north, with the route going southbound from SW Lander all the way to SW Edmunds.
9:19 AM UPDATE: California outside Admiral Safeway/Lafayette is starting to fill up with parade participants. Here’s the WestSide Baby bus, not only promoting tomorrow’s diaper drive but following WS Baby executive director Nancy Woodland, Grand Marshal for today’s parade:
Thirsty? Next to Admiral Safeway, Umpqua Bank (WSB sponsor) manager Kirk Mead and team are ready to offer bottled water:
Across the street, some logistics – parade co-coordinator Dave Vague (right) checked in with Josh Sutton, who’ll be driving the West Seattle Y (WSB sponsor) bus, about the banner that will be displayed to show the Y is a major sponsor of the parade:
The Seattle Police Pipes and Drums members, making their first West Seattle Grand Parade appearance, are gathering:
You’ll see them BETWEEN the two motorcycle squads (Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.). Meantime, we can guarantee this will be the biggest bus in the parade:
And yes, “RapidRide Man,” costume and all, will be on hand, the bus’s minders told us. Meantime, it’s getting closer to Float Dodger 5K start time down at California/Charlestown – we’ve got crews there too and expect to hear from them shortly. We’re going out to check on more arrivals, including, we expect, some parade-watchers in the Hiawatha vicinity.
9:44 AM: More than 250 runners/walkers are about to start the Float Dodger 5K – here’s a photo from our crew – it heads NORTH on California before turning around to head south to finish at California/Edmunds:
10:04 AM: The runners/walkers have all completed the first section of the course – they ran north to California/Lander and “dodged” the Hi-Yu float, which was parked in the intersection to play the role.
They’re now all headed south to the end of the parade route at California/Edmunds. (300 participants, we’re told!) Separate story with 5K video and more, later! P.S. (as of 10:08 am) – the Seattle and Vancouver B.C. motorcycle units have JUST arrived, and if you’ve been following our coverage, you know they have a special event ahead at California/Charlestown, as longtime Drillmaster for SPD, Officer John Bernasconi, a West Seattleite, relinquishes his command (he’s retiring this year) – added, we walked up just as he was arriving around 10:10:
As of 10:19 am, the motorcycles appear to be getting ready to leave – if you’re at California/Charlestown, get ready! Not sure when our next update will be – watch us on Twitter.
Check our parade preview from last night for more advance info; more pre-parade coverage to come.
Get nostalgic tonight with “Pretty in Pink” under the stars – that’s a quick clip,”the computer scene,” above. It’s part of an all-star lineup of Saturday happenings in West Seattle and a bit beyond:
PRE-PARADE SIGHTINGS: Ever seen a parade behind the scenes? In the Admiral District, you can watch what happens before the West Seattle Grand Parade – and for example, you can expect to see the Seafair Pirates show up outside Merrill Gardens-Admiral Heights (WSB sponsor) around 8:30 am (that’s where West Seattle Hi-Yu royalty will host visiting royalty for breakfast a bit earlier).
FLOAT DODGER 5K: A brand-new feature on parade day – 9:45 is when it begins. Read the FAQ here. If you’re not among the hundreds signed up already, get to West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor)-land at California/Charlestown, the starting line for the charity run-walk, to register right before the race!
GET AN ID TAG FOR YOUR PET: Furry Faces Foundation is back with on-the-spot tag-making today in two places: 10 am-2 pm at Hotwire Online Coffeehouse (WSB sponsor; 4410 California SW) during the West Seattle Grand Parade, and 3-6 pm at Big Al Brewing in White Center during Jubilee Days. Details here.
WEST SEATTLE AMERICAN LEGION POST 160 GRAND PARADE! 10:30 is the official start time for the Seattle Police Motorcycle Drill Team to take off from California/Lander (with a special stop along the way AND with the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums following them for the first time); 11 am is when the rest of the parade is expected to head down the route. In all, close to 100 participating groups/floats/vehicles will march or roll right by you if you’re somewhere along the official route – California SW between Lander in the Admiral District and Edmunds in The Junction. (Here’s our final mega-preview, with links to all our OTHER previews, and more overview info for parade fans, including road closure/parking restriction info – VERY important.)
THRIFTWAY BARBECUE BENEFITING WESTSIDE BABY: Tomorrow’s the diaper drive, today’s your chance to help WestSide Baby and get a yummy lunch – the weekly West Seattle Thriftway (WSB sponsor) barbecue benefits WS Baby, starting at 11 am.
WHITE CENTER JUBILEE DAYS STREET FAIR, CAR SHOW, KID CENTER, CARNIVAL: 11 am is when most of the excitement revs up today in White Center – just head toward Roxbury/17th and you can’t miss it. Live music continues till about 11 pm. Check out the schedule for today’s festivities by going here. (Continues Sunday.)
MEDITERRANEAN FANTASY FESTIVAL: Belly-dancing performances, costumes, music, more, in the park around Hiawatha Community Center (2700 California SW). Performances today are scheduled 11 am-7 pm – the list of performers is here. (Continues Sunday.)
MUSICAL STORYTIME AT BARNES AND NOBLE: Musikal Magik will be performing Musical Storytelling at the Barnes & Noble in Westwood Village at 11 am – a special Music with Movement storytime featuring children’s entertainer Katy Webber.
GATEWOOD ELEMENTARY PLAYDATE: Child going to Gatewood Elementary this fall? 1-3 pm, join other families at the Gatewood playground (4320 SW Myrtle) for a special playdate!
‘PRETTY IN PINK’ KICKS OFF WEST SEATTLE OUTDOOR MOVIES: Free, fun, but don’t wait till the last minute – movie’s at dusk, around 9:30 pm, but gates at the Hotwire Online Coffeehouse courtyard (4410 California SW) open a couple hours earlier, BYO blanket/chair and get your spot. Also bring $ for raffles – proceeds tonight benefit WestSide Baby, which is selling concessions too. Opening act: Bob “Bobcat Bob” Rice, 8 pm.
‘UNDER AFRICAN SKIES’ EVENT: At 7 pm, this much-acclaimed film about singer/songwriter Paul Simon’s return to Africa plays the Admiral Theater – and doors open at 6:15 pm for food and beverages from Pan Africa Grill. Details on The Admiral’s website.
LANTERN LAUNCH ON ALKI: It happens at least once a year – those floating candlelit lanterns appear in midair and someone e-mails wondering what’s happening. Here’s advance notice that a lantern-lighting is planned around 8:30 pm at Alki, as a benefit for youth art – explained here.
More on the calendar!