Seattle Festivals

Seattle hosts many festivals well worth attending while visiting this incredible city. Bumbershoot is Seattleís largest music festival and is held yearly during Labor Day weekend. Huge national bands include Bumbershoot in their summer tours. The Northwest Folklife Festival is another large Seattle music festival. This one caters more to the Birkenstock wearing, herb loving hippie crowd and draws over 250,000 spectators and upwards of 6,000 musicians. The Seattle area also has many other smaller festivals that are great ways to get to know the city and its inhabitants better. The Ballard Seafood Fest celebrates Ballardís seafood tradition and features live entertainment, food vendors, a beer garden and a salmon barbeque. Be sure to check the calendar often when visiting Seattle—missing out on these festivals would definitely be disappointing.


Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St., Seattle, Washington; Tel. 206.628.0888
Three days of music from a variety of genres, comedians, literary arts speakers, a film festival, dance and theater performances and visual arts displays.
More information about Bumbershoot

Ballard Seafood Fest

2208 NW. Market St., Seattle, Washington
Various booths with arts, crafts and, of course, food vendors each offering a unique seafood item make up this festival. The Seafood Fests started in 1974 as a one-day community salmon barbeque and has evolved into a weekend-long event in July in the middle of historic Ballard. Two entertainment stages, a beer garden, vendors and, of course, a salmon barbeque attract people to celebrate the maritime tradition in Ballard.

Central Area Community Festival

Garfield Community Center, 2323 East Cherry St., Seattle, Washington; Tel. 206.999.3482
A non-profit organization puts on this annual parade and festival in Central Seattle during August to aid in social and economic development of the area. Local and corporate sponsors also help put the event on that celebrates with music, culture, people and spirit to open the minds of the community. The annual festival strengthens community pride and spirituality while promoting cultural diversity throughout the Central Area Community.

Chateau Ste. Michelleís Summer Festival on the Green

Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, 14111 NE 145th St., Woodinville, Washington; Tel. 425.415.3300
The historic Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery hosts a summer concert series in June, July and August that brings in major jazz and rock artists like Harry Connick Jr., Moody Blues, the Doobie Brothers and Diana Krall. The outdoor amphitheater is on the wineryís 87-acre estate and has a beautiful backdrop to watch world-famous artists perform. Net proceeds from the concert series go to various Puget Sound non-profit organizations and support the arts in and around the Seattle area.

Festival Sundiata: African-American Celebration

Seattle Center, Seattle, Washington; Tel. 206.329.8086
As the most comprehensive African American cultural event in Seattle, the Sundiata African American Festival offers a weekend in February of dancing to live entertainment with Northwestern jazz, rap, gospel, hip-hop and R&B artists performing. Childrenís activities, arts and crafts complete the weekend festival and open eyes to the African and African-American journey.

Great Wallingford Wurst Festival

St. Benedict School: 4811 Wallingford Ave. N., Seattle, Washington; Tel. 206.633.3375
In Octoberfest style, the festival that started out as a small fundraising festival for St. Benedict School has become an event that has more than 10,000 visitors that come to the Wallingford neighborhood in search of food, games for kids, homemade sweets and more. Offering free admission, the Great Wallingford Wurst Festival doesnít just have bratwurst and sauerkraut. Booths also offer grilled salmon, sweet corn, baked potatoes, burgers and many other selections. The festival is kid and family friendly but for grown-ups who need a break there is a Biergarten to grab a cold one.

Lake City Summer Festival

Lake City Way and NE 12th St., Seattle, Washington; Tel. 206.363.3287
Celebrating for over six decades, the Lake City Summer Festival takes advantage of the warm weather in August to have a street fair, entertainment showcase and plenty of fun for the whole family. A vintage car show is part of the festival that coincides with the Grand Performance Parade. A stage with live music is right by the food booths so folks can grab a bite to eat while listening to great music. The Lake City Summer Festival brings the community together to celebrate the great city of Seattle.

Seattle International Film Festival

Various venues, Seattle, Washington; Tel. 206.324.9996
Celebrating the culture and art of the moving image through filmmaking and film going, the Seattle International Film Festival Group makes a point of informing, educating and entertaining the Seattle community through film. Several venues show films during the festival including the Seattle International Film Festivalís own SIFF Cinema at Seattle Center. Events and special galas are also held during the festival that takes place during mid to late summer.

The Northwest Folklife Festival

Each Memorial Day weekend, Seattle puts on its annual Northwest Folklife Festival and 250,000 people come to enjoy more than 6,000 musicians, dancers and visual artists from 100 countries display their multiethnic talents. Performances take place on 17 stages over the Northwest Folklife Festivalís four days. Produced by Northwest Folklife and sponsored by Northwest Folklife and Seattle Center, the festival meant to honor the cultures of the Pacific Northwest. It does so via folklore exhibits, educational children's activities, music workshops and an instrument showcase. the Northwest Folklife Festival also has an International Food Village featuring more than 35 booths of international cuisine and a Crafts Marketplace displaying the goods of 116 folk and ethnic artisans. Admission is free.
--Seattle festival reviews by Alanna Lee, Claire Taylor and Avital Binshtock