First 5 parade highlights

More to come later … gotta head back out to the next Big Summer Thing to Do …in no particular order, here are five of the things we noticed:

-Fine parade, as always. Ran almost exactly two hours, at least from our vantage point near the heart of The Junction (first sighting of the Seattle motorcycles up the street @ 11:19, last vehicle passing with the “Th-Th-That’s All Folks, See You Next Year” banner — new, and a nice touch, for the folks who are never quite sure “is this the end” — around 1:15).

-A little odd that the Rainbow City Band was followed immediately by a Scouts group. Perhaps in the spirit of “can’t we all just get along”?

-Also WRT placement, the giant Henry Weinhard’s beer bottle would have been a particularly special touch if it had immediately preceded the Seafair Pirates.

-The Pirates handed out souvenir silver coins advertising “Iron Horse Casino, Auburn and Everett” on the back. Just made sense somehow.

-The Vancouver Police motorcycle team TOTALLY ROCKED as usual. I would love to know how parade organizers manage to get them to come to the WS parade year after year when as far as I can tell, they don’t appear in any other area parade. It was quite fun to watch the Seattle PD motorcycle team members, who performed right before Vancouver, standing on the sidelines applauding, high-fiving, and exchanging salutes with their compatriots from the north.

Countdown concludes: Reason #1 to love The Parade

July 22, 2006 8:00 am
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 |   West Seattle festivals | West Seattle Grand Parade


OK, this will sound treacly, but it’s true. The parade is all about people: The folks who volunteer their time to plan and stage it; the folks who participate in it (you’ll even get a chance to cheer for our local legislators if you are so inclined); and the folks on the sidelines. Every year we meet somebody interesting; you never know who’s going to wind up in the chairs (or on the blanket next to yours).

So here it is parade time — starting at California & Lander, on the south side of Lafayette Elementary, and rolling all the way down to California & Edmunds on the south side of the Junction, with a “kids’ parade” a little while before the big show. Things will probably be hopping till 1 pm or so; after that, you’ll probably see participants all around WS — usually the Last Resort antique fire trucks turn up down along Beach Drive, and the Seafair Pirates are seen wandering around in search of a tavern (things haven’t been the same since the Admiral Benbow shut down). Check it out; have a blast.

Notes from here and there

Wandered around for a while tonight just south of Admiral Junction — spotted three things to share, including one sighted as we passed through The (Alaska) Junction en route home:

-Yet another thing to do this weekend: Free outdoor movie in the Junction! “Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” which won the Oscar this year for Best Animated Feature. Good thing we bought new chairs-in-a-bag for the parade — they should work for this too!

-Another good cause to lend your $ to this weekend, besides “Stuff the Bus” on Sunday (we bought our diaper donations at PCC tonight): I didn’t even know the West Seattle Thunder girls’ fastpitch softball team existed till I saw the posters on numerous south-of-Admiral businesses, touting a fundraising car wash this weekend (they’re trying to get to a big game out of state). Sorry to say I didn’t note the exact location and time, and it’s not on the Thunder website, but take a peek at windows including Spiro’s and Megawatt, and you’ll see the poster.

-New (or at least, we just noticed it) business on the south edge of the Junction, on the southeast corner of the multi-points intersection that also features Ovio, Uptown, and 7-11: a criminal-defense law firm. Or at least, a banner for it (its website claims it’s located downtown; then again, we seem to be awash in sites that lag). Seems to be one of those “we specialize in DUI” types. I know everyone is entitled to representation and all that, but still … permit me my soapbox … it’s a senseless crime that should be punished vastly more harshly than it is now.

OK, that’s it for tonight … tomorrow morning, the #1 reason to love the parade (and to join us on the sidelines!) …

Countdown continues: RTLTP #2 (and an unrelated vent)

July 21, 2006 6:05 pm
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 |   Transportation | West Seattle festivals | West Seattle Grand Parade

PIRATES! In a double dose … the Seafair Pirates and the Caribbean Pirates (no relation to Cap’n Jack & company), both in tomorrow’s parade. Viewing tip: The east side of the street starts in shade. Just save us a spot over near Petco.

**unrelated vent**

Unrelated but I gotta say it … ONE HOUR to get through downtown en route home tonight, before I could get onto the Viaduct. ONE HOUR IN 96-DEGREE AIR, NO AIR CONDITIONING IN THE MODEST WSB-MOBILE. Once I finally got onto the Elevated Freeway of Doom and past the Mariners backup in the left lane, it didn’t even take 10 minutes to get home. I’m sure somebody out there went through something similar, so I’m mentioning it here for virtual commiseration. MY, the air coming off the bay felt great … once the jammed traffic was past …

Countdown continues: Reason #3 to love The Parade

July 20, 2006 9:12 pm
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 |   West Seattle festivals | West Seattle Grand Parade


A team of local real-estate agents has brought him along in their parade car for a few years now, and they’re all scheduled to show up again this Saturday. We weren’t here back when he was a TV fixture, but in order for us (or anyone else) to even remotely pretend to be semi-natives, it’s vital that you know who J.P. is, AND cheer him wildly any time you happen onto one of his public appearances. (As for my REAL childhood TV memories, I’m partial to Checkers & Pogo …)

2 departures

One is good news, the other sad (at least for many of us old-timers).

Sad first: Just found out via the West Seattle Herald (in a letter to the editor from last week; we’ll admit we’re behind in our reading), the Charlestown Street Cafe has lost its lease. We went there a lot in our early years here; not too many WS restaurants back then, plus we enjoyed their breakfasts. Then along came Easy Street, and Endolyne Joe’s, and our tastes shifted. But CSC has given ample warning, so we’ll go back for another round of Montana Potatoes (if they’re still on the menu!) at least once before they go …

Now, happy: The long-awaited Alki Statue of Liberty super-spruce-up is finally under way. As promised, the statue was trucked away this afternoon; read more here about what happens next. And check out a slideshow of what the future might look like when the all-new Liberty 2 arrives.

What else to do this weekend

July 20, 2006 6:01 am
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 |   How to help | WS culture/arts | WS miscellaneous

How about Shakespeare in the park … Lincoln Park!

And we’ll mention Sunday’s Farmers Market side event once more — Westside Baby’s “Stuff the Bus (with diapers)” drive (even though they’ve got big bright banners on both sides of the Fauntleroy walkover so they probably don’t need the plug)!

Whatever you do, keep cool

Countdown continues: Reason #4 to love The Parade


In the day-plus since I posted Reason #5, I’ve been provided with the top-secret scoop on who’s in Saturday’s big annual parade down Cali Ave. So I can tell you, the motorcycle representation includes not only the incredible daredevils from Vancouver, B.C. (making their ONLY stop in this area), and their more-reserved rivals from our fair city, but also the “Apple Dumpling Gang Motorcycle Club” and the Nile Mini Bike Unit. And on one wheel, without motors, with incredible coordination, it’ll be the Pathfinder Unicycle Team (ready to pop wheelies … or something … over the “No Boren” victory).

Tomorrow: Reason #3!

Ahead of their time?

A WS Blog visitor forwarded us this e-mail overnight … won’t get to head out and independently verify it till later, but it looks like the garden shop on the north edge of the Junction is pulling up stakes:

Farewell from In Bloom

When we first opened the store in November 2003 it was with the dream of creating a welcoming environment to showcase and sell the things we loved: garden accessories, house plants, vintage pottery, home decor, and local crafts.

In Bloom has lived up to many of our dreams, providing us the opportunity to meet many wonderful customers and artists, as well as giving us an outlet to showcase fine products and creative ideas. Unfortunately the demands of running a store have taken their toll on our health, happiness, and well-being. And so, with our hearts full of warm feelings and our heads full of happy memories, we are closing the store in August 2006.

Sorry to hear it. That’s a tough location, right at the edge of the business district, but one that we think will be a boom zone within a few years — these nice folks may just have been ahead of their time.

Bright lights, big neighborhood

July 18, 2006 11:07 pm
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 |   Seen around town

The intersection at the heart of The Junction suddenly has enough neon to resemble a corner of the Las Vegas Strip. Try driving through at night — the big new Cupcake Royale/Verite Coffee sign anchors the northeast corner, the relatively new Super Supplements sign glows on the face of the ex-Urban Fitness storefront on the southeast side, and on the northwest corner, there’s the Easy Street Records sign that started it all. Missing in this equation: Key Bank, on the fourth corner of the fabled “Walk All Ways With Walk” intersection. C’mon, guys, how about at least a red neon key like the one on your much-maligned arena?

Countdown: Reason #5 to love The Parade

July 18, 2006 8:28 am
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 |   West Seattle Grand Parade | WS culture/arts

I have no inside info on who’s confirmed for this Saturday’s parade, but online calendars confirm two regulars: the spectacular All-City Marching Band and the lively Rainbow City Band. One of the local Christian churches usually has a combo on a truck playing some sort of gospel-rock. Bagpipers have turned up most years. Tomorrow: Reason #4!

Tunes tonight among the trees

Another better-late-than-never discovery! I swear I am a Hi-Yu die-hard — later today, I’ll start counting down the Top 5 Reasons to Love the Hi-Yu Parade — but till this very moment, I had NO idea the festival included an annual Concert in the Park! Just stumbled onto it, wandering around the web … and it’s TONIGHT, 7 p.m., on the east lawn at Hiawatha Park, with the West Seattle Big Band, which got rave reviews at Summer Fest. The weather’s bound to be beautiful, the music’s guaranteed to be good, case closed.

The sidewalk less taken

For all the times you’ve driven over The Bridge, have you ever taken a good look at the waterway it spans?

Over the weekend, we did. On a whim, after leaving the house with the intention of walking straight to Summer Fest, we redirected ourselves all the way to what’s most commonly called the “Low Bridge,” which has a well-protected sidewalk/bike path along its south side. Walking that path provides a fine view of the waterway and everything on it, including the Harbor Island Marina, where I would love to be able to keep a boat someday … From the Low Bridge, you also get a better appreciation of the sleek structure of the “high bridge” (which, according to this page, just passed its 22nd anniversary, a day before our walk!).
If you want to try this adventure, you don’t have to do what we did (trudge all the way from home) — there are places to park not too far from the access path.

More than a garage sale

July 16, 2006 2:37 pm
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 |   Delridge | Seen around town

On a pole at the corner of Delridge and Thistle: “MOVING IN TOGETHER SALE.”

Somewhere on 34th SW — didn’t catch the whole address while driving by the sign. Anyone who does see the sale — tell ’em good luck!

A craftsperson’s perspective on Summer Fest

If you, like me, are “just a spectator” at street festivals, here’s an interesting perspective … a blog entry by a soapmaker who apparently has a booth somewhere at Summer Fest.

Meantime, one last observation, and then I’ll get on to wishing the Garden Tour folks (today!) good luck, and looking ahead to next weekend (THE PARADE! THE PARADE! plus on Sunday 7/23, it’s “Stuff the Bus” time for Westside Baby — you can get slightly more environmentally sound disposables at PCC, btw): Among the more interesting sights on the southern block of WSSF are side-by-side outdoor areas for Talarico’s and Elliott Bay Brewery. The former is behind a tall chain-link fence; the latter, behind a cheery-looking short white picket fence. Maybe just something to do with the whole “no kids” thing? All the same, the Talarico’s visitors look like they’re in jail.

Previously Enjoyed=Currently Embattled

July 15, 2006 10:18 pm
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 |   Fairmount Springs | Seen around town

If you frequently drive Fauntleroy northeast of Morgan Junction, you might have noticed a little storefront full of used items, in the lower level of a brick building, with its offerings frequently spilling out onto the parking strip. It’s called “Previously Enjoyed.” On our stroll today, we discovered why those colorful, busy displays haven’t been out lately — a note on the door says “Due to a landlord dispute, we are closed till further notice.” More ominously, very close to that note, there’s a business card from a state revenue agent with a scrawled note telling the store owner he “needs to call” said agent. Hmm.

Seen but not heard

Back from our jaunt, which took us far beyond Summer Fest, though we dropped in on the way back.

Glad to see the info booth full of West Seattle-related collateral/propaganda is right in the center of things.

Even more interesting — sightings of people in mascot suits. First there was the State Farm Insurance bear, being interrogated by two beat cops. Then, the strolling ATM shilling for US Bank. Didn’t seem to be handing out complimentary cash, sad to say.

Biggest crowd for comestibles — The 7-11 at the south end of the Junction. Stacked up seven deep in there for sour Slurpees.

Shake it like a …

July 15, 2006 9:51 am
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 |   WS culture/arts

Don’t forget, Summer Fest isn’t the only festival in WS today and tomorrow.

MedFest is shaking things up in the Admiral area.

We’re setting out for a big stroll that just might, maybe, possibly, take us to both.

Slice of life from West Seattle Summer Fest

July 14, 2006 8:40 pm
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 |   West Seattle restaurants | WS culture/arts

So I sent WS Blogger Spouse and an accomplice to Summer Fest for Night 1, because my condition after this workweek was a lot like Gerry Rafferty’s line in the classic “Baker Street” — “light in my head and dead on my feet.”

Their report centers around Pagliacci, where they attempted to get pizza before coming home. “One person who was really nice was taking my order,” reports WSB Spouse, “but then this other girl came out and started barking, ‘DON’T YOU KNOW THERE ARE SLICES OUTSIDE? IT’S GOING TO BE A LONG WAIT IN HERE.’ Then,” WSB Spouse continues, “this guy waiting on the bench by the window says to no one in particular, ‘I’M HERE TO GET A PIZZA FOR JOHN DOE‘S WIFE’.”

Ultimately, WSB Spouse and accomplice left with no pizza, and wound up getting something from Spiro’s, which finally seems to have a website.

As for the rest of Summer Fest, I’m told that Mr. Doe himself informed the crowd he had to avoid singing a certain song (or part of a certain song) when he realized there were a lot more kids than he’d expected to see. Last but not least, I’m told the collection of merchants includes a lot of “Home Show”-style stuff — windows, flooring, you name it.

I’ll go check it out tomorrow.

Another addition to the cams page

July 14, 2006 5:24 am
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 |   West Seattle online

OK, this might be the most mundane WS cam yet, but nonetheless, it’s a WS cam. Purportedly out the window of a house near Alki. Just added to our cams page. If you know of any local webcams (family-safe, please) that I’m missing, please advise!

Everyone’s a critic

Checking around online for the latest on what people are saying about WS, I encountered a blogger who reviews restaurants and recently visited Coyotes on Alki. This person rates its food “average to above average,” but what struck me more about the post was the photo of the receipt … $5 tip on a $34 tab? Was the service average too? That’s not quite 15 percent. I usually tip 20 percent unless things are really bad (like the last time we went to Azteca in Burien, when our guacamole never arrived, and our chip basket and water glasses never got a refill — the waitpeople were solicitously buzzing around a big group nearby, instead of checking in on us). Meantime, anybody else have feedback on Coyotes? We haven’t been yet. I still find it hard to get over the fact that space is no longer The Point Grill (three names ago), which was our favorite WS restaurant in the ’90s and the site of many family memories (usually starring my old fave, the blackened salmon Caesar, sigh).

Dig it

One more big event this weekend, besides Summer Fest (see below): Garden Tour!

I am sorry to say that the WS Blog World HQ failed to make the cut once again this year. Our gardening style can be described in one word: Overgrown. We’ve planted so much in our decade-plus on our little lot, we’re out of space. If you check the aerial photo of our house from one of those Google Earth-type programs, it’s a whole lot of greenery and a little spot of roof. So we might have to take the tour, just to see what an actual “garden” is supposed to look like.

Festival countdown

The “no parking after …” signs are up at strategic spots around the Junction … this time tomorrow, the street-blocking will be under way … the newly renamed Summer Fest is almost here! The musical programming we’ve been discussing here has really generated a new sense of excitement; even here at WS Blog World Headquarters, one of those acts is making the festival a Must-Go for WS Blogger Spouse.

You know parking will be a nightmare, so consider taking the bus (the Trip Planner feature is handy if you need it).

And once the Summer Fest is over … I’m going to be relentless about this … PLEASE come to the parade a week later, even if you think you’re too old and jaded for parades, or just not interested, etc. If you’ve never seen a local parade, you have to check it out at least once for yourself. Most of the summer parade regulars usually turn up — the All-City Marching Band, the Chinese community girls’ drill team, the Seafair Pirates, various assorted politicians, and a LOT more, including the Vancouver (BC) and Seattle motorcycle drill teams. Bring a chair, bring drinks and snacks, stake out a spot along Cali Ave. Which reminds me, I promised myself we’d buy new chairs before parade season this year … gotta get to the store!