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Downtown Seattle Events

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1 of 6 great entries for the Gingerbread Village: Historic North Seattle.  Design/Creation: Callison RTKL, Hargis, and Chef Lee Baldyga.  Photo: Alethea Myers

“While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads” seems an apt description of what creators were thinking for this year’s Gingerbread Village in downtown Seattle. The Sheraton Seattle Hotel has hosted the display for 25 years and they’ve moved it this year to the main floor of nearby City Centre (1420 5th Avenue). Our city’s top architects and master builders team up with Sheraton Seattle chefs and their culinary teams to create what could be termed “advanced gingerbread”: sugarplums & other candies, colorful Chiclet gum pieces symmetrically adhered to create a wall, gingerbread pieces become brick walls or a bridge, LOTS of frosting, and some even feature moving parts (such as a trolley on a track, or the Ballard Locks doors swinging open). This year’s theme is “A Celebration of Seattle” and each fairly-large creation features areas of the city, either in the past or in the future. They are a delight to look at, and you can vote for your favorite one.

Not only is the village visually appealing, but donations made (online or at the exhibit) will benefit the research of the JDRF Northwest Chapter, a non-profit with a vision to see “a world without Type 1 diabetes”. Previously the organization focused on diabetes in children only, but that has expanded since it affects adults as well. Different children were chosen to be JDRF Elves, and are represented by each team that completed each gingerbread creation.

The WA Athletic Club parking garage is located right next to the City Centre entrance on 6th Avenue, and after 5 pm on weekdays, it’s currently a $7 flat fee to park there. This is one of the parking options if you don’t live or work downtown and need to drive to see this year’s display.

Gingerbread Village Viewing Hours (until January 1st):

Mon.-Thursday    6:30 am- 11:30 pm
Friday                      6:30 am- 12:30 am
Saturday                 8:00 am- 12:30 am
Sunday                    8:00 am- 11:30 pm

MORE GINGERBREAD EXTRAORDINAIRE

The life-size gingerbread house in the lobby at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.  Photo: Rachel Dooley

Another fun and labor-intensive gingerbread display is at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel (411 University St.).  Walk through a life-sized gingerbread house in the hotel lobby, admire the Festival of Trees which has been hosted for 40 years, or take your kids to the Teddy Bear Suite. Donations benefit the Seattle Children’s Hospital, another worthwhile cause.

Come enjoy these “sweet” holiday traditions!

As a chocolate lover, you might understand these terms: Dark, milk, white, infused, nutty. 70%, 80%, 90% cacao. Drinking chocolate versus cocoa. “Country of Origin”. And, a skinny mocha…hold the whip, please. The Northwest Chocolate Festival 2017 is the perfect opportunity to practice this lingo and discover even more about this sweet global obsession. This year, it takes place November 11th and 12th, at Smith Cove Cruise Terminal, Pier 91, near the southeast corner of Magnolia (close to both Belltown and Queen Anne). 

When attending the Northwest Chocolate Festival for the first time, one is struck by how immense the chocolate industry is, based sheerly on the number of exhibitors that are represented here. Over 100 chocolate industry vendors will be at this year’s event.  Artisan chocolate makers from around the world and USA, including a number of local crafters, offer samples of their products at each table you stop by. It truly is a chocolate lover’s dream: truffles, single-origin [world region] chocolate bars, liquid chocolate for drinking, syrups, and other incarnations.

But buying and tasting chocolate aren’t the only available activities at this event: 
What if you want to craft your own artisan chocolates or incorporate more into your own cooking?  There are cooking demonstrations and classes for that, led by professionals in the industry. And suppliers who sell chocolate-making equipment and supplies, to get you started.

What if you want to become a professional “taster” or turn your chocolate obsession into a career? Professionals in that field will lead you through what to savor to determine the quality in a piece of chocolate and other educational demos.

Chocolate begins life as pods hanging from a cacao tree.  Photo: CT Cooper

Are you’re interested in the process involved in a fruit pod hanging on a tree in the southern hemisphere ultimately becoming refined piece of chocolate? Or how carefully cultivated crops are yielding a better life for small farmers? Or how chocolate consumption can lead to better brain health?  Yes, yes, and yes.

The saying goes, Life is short; Eat chocolate. And, if you feel so inclined, celebrate this at The Northwest Chocolate Festival.

Their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1257237424388358/?active_tab=about

Steamposium, like a sleek Jules Verne futuristic submarine, is gliding into harbor on October 27th – 29th. The Bell Harbor International Conference Center on the waterfront near Belltown is hosting this gathering for those who love Steampunk.

For those not familiar with it, a simplified explanation of “Steampunk” is wearing period costume, often from the Old American West or English Victorian era, accompanied with advanced, futuristic weapons and other gadgetry built from materials readily available in the 1800s. Pocket watches, gears, and goggles abound. There are also variations on this, such as post-apocalyptic themes. The word is derived from “steam-powered”, such as devices like the steam locomotive (train) from that era, and is based on early science fiction literature.  Jules Vernes’ “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, and HG Wells’ future-predicting work as well, are two examples. One of the earlier examples adapted for the screen was “The Wild Wild West”, a series which ran on television from 1965-1969. It was based in the American West and featured two government agents, outfitted with advanced gadgets, who travelled by an adapted steam locomotive with special features (like an escape tunnel built in a fireplace) to track down masterminds in crime.

 

Another example of British Victorian Steampunk is the movie “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”, based upon a graphic novel, among many other examples.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Steamposium takes place a few days before Halloween, and is a good excuse to showcase your garb and gadgets, or just admire other people’s handcrafted cosplay while walking around the convention. You can take classes/workshops on various aspects of Steampunk, drink tea and watch a fashion show, attend a mad science fair, or shake your metallic gears at a live music concert. Actor Billie Piper, who was Doctor Who’s companion for a number of seasons, who also appeared in Penny Dreadful, will be there, as well as her Penny co-star, Reeve Carney. Billie also played the key role in a PBS adaptation of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park years ago. (Check out an upcoming celebration of Austen’s life & writing, called JaneFest at the University of Washington on November 4th, to admire clothing from the Regency era.)

So feel free to flash forward on the time-space continuum (using your 1800s ray gun to get there, of course), and enjoy yourself at Steamposium.  Your future self will thank you.


Love Belltown?

Now’s your chance to get involved in your community and help make a difference!

This Wednesday, October 25th, there will be a very special Belltownhall meeting where you can meet Seattle’s Mayoral candidates, Seattle’s City Council members, and the City Attorney.

They will be here, in Belltown to listen to US, so let’s get involved and make the most of this opportunity for the neighborhood and for the city as a whole!

Really want to get involved in this awesome event? There’s still time to help by volunteering!

The folks at Project Belltown can use some extra help before the event and on the day, itself too!

If you want to help on Wednesday the 25th, email Evan Clifthorne with Project Belltown at evan@projectbelltown.com

Some ways you can help ahead of time:

  • Do you live here? Is there a poster in your building?  Can you put one in another building that your friend(s) live in?
  • Do you know 5 – 10 people who love Belltown?  Will you call and/or text them and specifically request that they come on Wednesday?
  • Have you reserved your tickets yet?  Did you say “going” on Facebook yet?
  • Do you use Facebook?  Will you share the event on your page?  Will you go to the event page and “invite” more of your friends?
  • Do you know of lists of people that can spread the word?  Will you ask them to help us?
  • Do you manage a Belltown community email list of any kind?  Have you told them about this opportunity?
  • Do you know someone that loves Belltown as much as you do?  Email, text, call however you can contact them, let them know you’re going and ask them to go too!

 


Here’s a little bit more info on the event from Project Belltown –

Durkan, Moon, & 2017 candidates to join #belltownhall on October 25th

Who:       Mayor, City Council, City Attorney, and YOU!
What:     Candidate One-on-One Interviews, Civic Tradeshow, Live Music, Artists, and BEER.
Where:   Block 41 event space, 115 Bell Street
When:    Wednesday October 25th at 6:00PM

Why:      Join us at #belltownhall to meet the candidates for Seattle’s Mayor, City Council at-large, and City Attorney. We will be talking about all things Belltown and Seattle, including affordable housing, arts and culture, public safety, transportation, open space, and so much more.

Hosts:    Project Belltown, with support from the Belltown Community Council, Belltown Business Association, The Stranger, Tune, Block 41, Makers, Pyramid Brewing, NW Polite Society, Live Nation, Growing Vine Street, and Friends of Historic Belltown.

Bonus:    We are launching the 2nd & Belltown Pale Ale (available at the event and in bars and restaurants throughout Belltown afterward) and will be showcasing food from several iconic Belltown restaurants.

Track on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using #belltownhall.

Tickets are FREE but space is limited.

Get your spot and find us online @ProjectBelltown

Contact: Evan Clifthorne
Telephone206-486-6558
E-mail: evan@projectbelltown.com
Websitegoo.gl/aJ8UDd

Let’s all show up for Belltown and for Seattle by getting out, getting educated and getting heard!

Ever notice the colorful lights in Etta’s Seafood restaurant? And did you know there’s a lunch card deal for us regulars?

Named after the daughter (Loretta) of local restaurateur force-of-nature Tom Douglas and wife/partner Jackie Cross, Etta’s is located a ½ block north of Pike Place Market on Western Avenue. Set against a backdrop of mostly black and brown tones, colorful lights from Kasala (located a few blocks away) illuminate and highlight the interior space of the restaurant. A definite bright spot on an overcast Fall or winter day.

Dining there is also a highlight: all food and most drinks are locally sourced from the Northwest. They even cure and smoke their own meat and seafood, often purchased from Pike Place Market. Fresh vegetables from their farm in Prosser, WA, are prepared and served on their menu during the growing season, which is May through November. Certain menu items shift in a subtle way to match that month’s bounty. Vegetables currently being featured and where they originated from (along with some fun drawings) are sketched on their chalkboard near the front entrance. Below that, Tom’s autographed cookbooks are displayed for sale, and multi-colored, fish-shaped chewy candies invite you to take a spoonful. The True Cod Fish and hand cut Chips accompanied by a unique, good coleslaw, are definitely worth repeating, and the Dungeness crab cakes are excellent.

Chalkboard inside Etta’s front door, as well as autographed cookbooks, food rubs, and candies.   All photos: Alethea Myers
The lunch card.

For those of us who frequently eat lunch here, you can request an Etta’s lunch card, which your wait person or manager will initial at the end of each visit. After purchasing 10 lunches, your 11th one is free. That’s a significant savings, and a good incentive to keep returning.

Seattle Restaurant Week is coming soon, October 15th through November 2nd, in which 165+ local restaurants offer 2-3 course lunches for $18, and 3-course dinners for $33. Etta’s is participating in this event, and you can view their special menu here.