Idiot’s Guide to the Ballard Seafood Fest


The 2012 Ballard SeafoodFest kicks off on July 14th at 11am in Seattle. I’ve been waiting all year for this. Who doesn’t love a good street fair? Fresh salmon and accordion players will be this year’s highlights. You may never want to leave.

Still not convinced? Maybe this handy guide will do it for you.


Grumpy Vikings, lutefisk enthusiasts (there is an eating contest), boisterous accordian players (yes, accordian players), hungry scavengers and families of every shape and size will be roaming the streets all weekend long. Musical acts will take to the main stage throughout the day, while street performers will be roaming about and setting up in designated areas.

Oh and a few dogs in costume will be running around. It’s not a party without them.


Like crab cakes, deep-fried candy bars and spicy Cajun food? What about salmon BBQ?

No you say? Well more for me then. I plan on eating a whole lot of fish (no lutefisk though thank you) and finally chowing down on a deep-fried snickers.

The smell of Salmon BBQ runs down the street attacking your nose

Swedish fish inspired cupcakes from Cupcake Royale

Bring on the fried food and stuff on a stick!


The festival runs from Saturday, July 14 11am-9pm through Sunday, July 15th 11am-7pm, rain or shine.


If you can find NW Market Street in Ballard then you can find SeafoodFest. The streets are blocked off to cars from 20th Avenue NW to 24th Avenue NW. Portions of Ballard Avenue NW and Leary Avenue will also be closed off. Take the bus if you can. Bikes are also welcome. Parking is available you just might be circling for a while looking for a spot.


There are so many ways to experience this annual street festival, but in case you need a little extra help, here is an easy guide to follow.

  • Shop for hand blown glass and a new tutu for your toddler before you get a neck adjustment at the tent next door.
  • Grab your fill of BBQ salmon then make your way down the food vendor aisles sampling some of your typical and not so typical street fair food.
  • Let the kids do a little dancing by the main stage while you pop into the wine garden for a quick sip.
  • Bounce down a really, really tall slide in the Kids Zone and keep little bodies busy at the Kid’s Fun Center.

    Not sure I’ll have the guts to go down this ubber slide again.


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Showing 10 comments
  • Megan

    I am actually not into seafood but I love experiencing different festivals in different places.. Anyway, thanks a lot for the yummy photos here..

  • Reply

    What’s not to love? You’ve got food, food and more food; arts, crafts and entertainment. I can see why you’ve been waiting for this. Hope you have fun!

  • Reply

    Seattle was on my list of places to visit but now I must visit while this seafood fest is going on! Thanks for all of the helpful tips!

  • Reply

    Looks like a lot of fun but I’m confused – why are there vikings in Seattle? And what’s a lutefisk?

    • © Keryn Means/ walkingon travels

      Lisa- There is a very strong nordic presence in Seattle, which of course means Vikings to all festival organizers 🙂 Lutefisk is a dried white fish and lye. Pretty gelatinous and very pungent. Not really my thing.

  • Reply

    I love street fairs like this! Good food and a great reason to over indulge. Never had a deep fried snickers but did try the deep fried twinkie a few years ago.

  • Reply

    Love the idea of a seafood festival. I’m pescatarian, so I would definitely enjoy it there. I only wish it were happening nearer!

  • Reply

    This sounds like an awesome festival to attend. I love seafood so I’m semi-drooling right now. I’m not sure about the deep-fried snickers though. We just had deep fried Oreos and deep friend Kool Aid at the fair last weekend and my kids were on a sugar high until the next day. Have a great time this year.

  • Reply

    That sounds like blast! … and it sounds and looks delicious too. I’m not a huge fish person, but I’m sure I could find something to eat there.

  • Reply

    I don’t like seafood much, but it looks like heaven for my husband. I see plenty for me to enjoy too. I happen to love art glass, accordions and cupcakes.

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