As fighter jets screamed through the sky and the masses descended on the beaches of Lake Washington for SeaFair, a small gathering on Capitol Hill was picking up steam. The first Summit Block Party — between East Olive St and East Howell on Summit Ave — brought together an eclectic mix of the community and offered a space for the Hill to enjoy a tallboy on a (Seattle-style) sweltering Saturday.
Arriving shortly before 1p, the smell of pot wafts through the air and attendees listen to an acoustic performer play Beatles covers while enjoying paper bag wrapped beers and conversations with interesting vendors. A random attendee remarked, “This is awesome!” Another quietly admitted to me, “I didn’t pay to get in,” thinking he had pulled off a master-mind scheme, “sneaking” into the free event, I assured him this was not the case.
Organizers of the event had riffed on the city’s annual participation in the “Night Out” events that encourage neighbors to organize street parties across the country. The event is focused around this Tuesday’s night of community parties in many corners of Seattle. Many of those will be in quiet, residential neighborhoods on quiet residential streets. Intrepid city dwellers of Capitol Hill will bbq and take over their streets, too. The Summit crew decided to take the riff one notch higher adding live music and vendors — plus plenty of coordination with local business managers and facilities to pull it off.
Later in the evening, the crowd has grown and the smell of burgers and charcoal tickled and teased the nostrils, brown bag wrapped 40s abound, and Portland band Black Pussy is rocking out . The set ends with front-man Dustin Hill asking the crowd to help him get drunk. He’s come to the right place. Seattle doesn’t see many 75 degree nights and it clearly has plans to make the most of this one.
The block party began to wind down and trickle off to parties, bars and a planned after-hours event farther up the Hill.