Capitol Hill Pride Festival making plans to expand to Pride Sunday

The 2015 Capitol Hill Pride Festival reportedly drew 35,000 to Broadway (Images: CHS)

The 2015 Capitol Hill Pride Festival reportedly drew 35,000 to Broadway (Images: CHS)

The Capitol Hill Pride Festival will continue to grow into its eighth year as organizers plant to expand the Broadway street fair to a second day in 2016.

Planned for Saturday and Sunday, June 25th and 26th, the festival that got its grassroots start in 2009 has grown into an annual event that organizers say last year drew more than 35,000 to Broadway to celebrate Pride, enjoy performances and a doggie drag show, ride ponies(!), and, local merchants hope, visit restaurants and bars for food and drink.

Organizer Charlotte Lefevre, who used to operate the Seattle Museum of Mysteries on Broadway and has maintained a connection to the street’s older generations of businesses, must work with area businesses to secure approval for the second day of the festival, according to a discussion of the festival with the Seattle Special Events Committee. The Department of Neighborhoods has also asked the festival producers to invite Broadway business owners to have a “greater participation in planning” the annual event.

Capitol Hill used to be the center of Pride weekend’s activities. In 2006, the big parade moved downtown as it outgrew Broadway and expanded to be a bigger part of Seattle culture. While the parties and bar celebrations remained mostly on the Hill, the “official” events grew to spaces beyond the neighborhood.

This is the second year of growth for the Capitol Hill Pride Festival which added a Broadway parade and rally in 2015 and has continued to draw crowds despite the introduction of a competing event in Cal Anderson from the producers of the PrideFest event at Seattle Center. In 2013, Seattle PrideFest expanded its activities back to the Hill with Family Day in Cal Anderson and later added a street festival on 11th Ave. This year, PrideFest will also plans to expand its offerings on Capitol Hill on Saturday, June 25. (We’ve corrected and updated this paragraph — sorry for screwing up who was who with Seattle Pride and the year in which PrideFest returned for its first Cal Anderson family day.)

With a second day of the Broadway festival on Pride Sunday, revelers will face a choice about where to celebrate after the downtown parade — or whether to head downtown at all. A new light rail station just outside the Capitol Hill Pride Festival footprint will make the journey an easy one.

In the meantime, there are some logistics to work out. Last year, there was “sign confusion” due to high amount of construction projects in the area that caused a headache for organizers. And SDOT complained that Broadway’s Julia’s set up “a margarita cart selling to passing public.” That, unfortunately, is against the rules and won’t be allowed in 2016.

5th annual APRIL litfest brings expanded events to new Capitol Hill venues

Capitol Hill’s scrappy, all volunteer run literary festival has been an undeniable success among Seattle’s most ardent indie book lovers. As it enters its fifth year, APRIL Festival organizers are now charting course to expand its weeklong slate of events and meet a growing demand for tickets.

“We’re kind of in this awkward growth phase now,” said Francs Chiem, one of the organizers of the festival that spans multiple venues around Capitol Hill. “We’ve been around long enough to show we know what we’re doing.”

The annual festival of Authors, Publishers and Readers of Independent Literature kicks off Tuesday with an opening party at The Pine Box. Continue reading

Seattle Ice Cream Festival in Capitol Hill’s Chophouse Row will mark start of ‘ice cream season’

Timmermeister behind the Kurt Farm Shop counter inside Chophouse Row (Image: CHS)

Timmermeister behind the Kurt Farm Shop counter inside Chophouse Row (Image: CHS)

As a leader in the farm to table movement, Kurt Timmermeister is accustomed to small, simple things going big. But he’s not sure Chophouse Row and his tiny Kurt Farm Shop will have room for the more than 12,000 people so far listed as “interested” in his first ever Seattle Ice Cream Festival planned for this May on Capitol Hill:

Sunday, May 22 at 12 PM
Chophouse Row 1424 11th Ave
First annual Seattle Ice Cream Festival located at Chophouse Row on Capitol Hill. A dozen of Seattle’s best ice cream makers sampling and selling their unique ice creams. No admission fee; open to all.

The format will be exceedingly simple. A dozen or so of Seattle’s best ice cream makers set up throughout the preservation-friendly alleyways of 11th Ave’s Chophouse Row development.

A final roster of participants will be announced in the coming weeks but Timmermeister listed off a few you should expect to see including Molly Moon’s, Full Tilt, and Sweet Bumpas — and, of course, Timmermeister’s own ice cream creations from the 300-square-foot Kurt Farm Shop.

There won’t be any contests or awards. Just a chance to buy and taste great ice cream. “It’s not about who’s better or who’s bigger,” Timmermeister said.

The simple format — and timing may be part of the appeal. Though these days are gray, hope for warmer times and sunshine are ahead.

“I think people really love ice cream,” Timmermeister said Wednesday about the event. “I just picked the date as the beginning of ice cream season.”

UPDATE: Here’s the participating roster:

  • Sweet Bumpas
  • Molly Moon’s
  • Bluebird
  • Cupcake Royale
  • Gelatiamo
  • Balleywood Creamery
  • Kurt Farm Shop
  • Full Tilt
  • Parfait
  • Half Pint
  • Trove
  • Pink’s


Centered at 12th Ave’s Hedreen Gallery, Yellow Fish — Epic Durational Performance Festival starts this week

It won’t take much to help one of the only art performance festivals of its kind grow in independence for its third edition slated to start later this week at 12th Ave’s Hedreen Gallery.

The Yellow Fish — Epic Durational Performance Festival is only a few hundred dollars from its $6,000 goal to create a third year of “performances lasting a minimum of an hour and a maximum of 48 hours” — you can make your contribution here:

Artists from all over the world have been invited to perform at all moments of day and night. In its third year, the festival will have a monthlong run, made possible thanks to newly-created partnerships with Northwest Film Forum, Velocity Dance Center, Studio Current and New Tomorrow. Artifacts from all of the performances will accumulate at the Hedreen Gallery, where most of the festival’s events will take place.

“As the festival has grown exponentially since the two years of its creation, the costs have also increased. This year we were unable to receive any of the funding we had received in the prior editions,” organizer and artist Alice Gosti explains.

The festival is free to attend — so you might consider your donation a kind of spiritual downpayment for your free ticket.

The planned 2015 lineup is below: Continue reading

CHS Pics | A Hugo House full of small press all-stars on Capitol Hill


(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

RJ Casey and Ann Casey of Yeti Press

RJ Casey and Ann Casey of Yeti Press

55 small press publishers, some producing as few as six works per year, some fewer, filled 11th Ave’s Hugo House Sunday afternoon for the APRIL Book Expo, the grand finale of the 2015 edition annual festival and one of many last bows for Hugo House as we know it before a planned, literary nonprofit-friendly redevelopment of the property.

During the week, CHS also stopped through a seance at the Sorrento Hotel and APRIL’s “offsite” with the Vignettes gallery. If you missed the event but are interested in learning more about the region’s small press publishers, here’s a roster of Sunday’s participants. You can learn more about the APRIL Festival at

More pictures below. Continue reading

CHS Crow | APRIL Festival edition — Wendy and Søren

Wednesday, APRIL did its best to summon the spirit of Alice B. Toklas from the walls of the Sorrento along with Rebecca Brown, Joshua Beckman, Jan Wallace and “musical accompaniment.” (Images: Alex Garland)

APRIL Festival 2015 has been keeping the literature calendar packed with unconventional events for most of the last week and it all wraps up today with the grand finale — APRIL’s annual small press book expo:

Sunday, March 29
Hugo House, 11 am – 5 pm
Our annual book fair, featuring more than 40 small presses from around the country.

Thursday night, the CHS Crow stopped by the independent literature festival’s annual collaboration with art gallery Vignettes — hosted at an offsite location this year — and chatted with poet Wendy Xu and artist Søren Nilsson. What read as a playfully deconstructive video by Nilsson was one of the eight works responding to Xu’s book You Are Not Dead that made up the exhibition. Works by Ripple Fang, Susanna Bluhm, Max Cleary, Francesca Lohmann, Klara Glosova, Aidan Fitzgerald and Paul Komada were also featured. Check it out. Continue reading

2015 APRIL will be ‘largest ever’ edition of small press literature festival

APRIL-logo-full-GreenThe cozy, home-like environment of Richard Hugo House’s original and current space makes it a pretty fitting last stop for APRIL Festival’s annual grassroots romp around Capitol Hill and First Hill. Add the sorta-twisted fact that the 1904 building that houses the internationally acclaimed center for writers was once a mortuary and the space might seem an even more ideal fit as a venue for the week-long literature festival known for its freewheeling spirit and often unorthodox approaches to presenting works.

However, next year APRIL will have to find another site for its capstone small press Book Expo, and other events it has traditionally held at Hugo House. The writing center’s current building will be torn down in 2016 to make way for the construction of a six-story mixed-use structure. Thankfully, the new building does promise to provide a continued home for Hugo House on the east side of Cal Anderson Park, but it will of course take some time to build. And the new space will of course be a change; a welcome change in many respects, Hugo House’s executive director Tree Swenson says, but aspects of the ambiance will certainly shift.

It remains to be seen how APRIL will adapt in 2016 and if it will return to Hugo House once the new incarnation is completed. And while thanks to generous support Capitol Hill gets to hold on to Hugo House, some fear that trends the Hugo House property revamp reflects — including the continuously rising property values and rents helping spur the rolling redevelopment of the neighborhood — may threaten to push most less-commercial artists and arts out of the neighborhood once and for all. Meanwhile, the city’s designation of Capitol Hill as Seattle’s first official Arts District represents one effort meant to help prevent that from happening.

All that said, though at its inception four years ago it may have entered a Capitol Hill already past its prime as a readily accessible place for the arts to thrive without intervention or initiatives, APRIL has nonetheless seen impressive growth since its humble beginnings. Whats more, APRIL continues to find some ways to grow in 2015, as it now looks to adapt to new challenges in the near future.

“It’s definitely getting bigger and bigger than we ever could have imagined when we started it,” said Tara Atkinson, who founded APRIL along with Willie Fitzgerald back in 2012, when the two found themselves unemployed roommates in a Capitol Hill apartment that also served as APRIL’s headquarters. The acronym they chose as the name for the festival that comes every March, and which has morphed in to an organization that also offers some smaller literary events throughout the year, is descriptive — ‘Authors, Publishers and Readers of Independent Literature.’

This year’s festival runs one day shorter than 2014’s, kicking off Tuesday, March 24, with a party at Barboza, and wrapping up Sunday, March 29, with the Book Expo at Hugo House. However, while the number of days and events is indeed slightly lower, some other numbers are up. Continue reading

Seattle Street Food Festival returns to Cal Anderson bigger, longer… and shorter? 2014 chef, food truck and pop-up roster

2013's festival (Image: CHS)

2013’s festival (Image: CHS)

The 2014, second-ever edition of the Seattle Street Food Festival at Cal Anderson is planned as a bigger, longer Capitol Hill event with shorter lines — and an art and shopping fair brought to you by the creative types at Urban Craft Uprising.

The festival takes place Friday and Saturday, August 8th and 9th

“Our aim last year was to test the concept and thankfully, it was a huge success,” event producer Ryan Reiter told CHS earlier this year discussing the expansion of the festival. “Now as we move to two days, it should cut down on the congestion and offer a healthier food festival experience.”

Long lines and serious crowds were a blessing and a curse for the inaugural 2013 edition of the festival.

(Image: Seattle Street Food Festival)

(Image: Seattle Street Food Festival)

On top of the addition of the Urban Craft Uprising “indie craft show” on Bobby Morris field, the two-day 2014 event will also bring back the beer gardens and “pop-up” dinner concept featuring an announced lineup of foodie-favorite chefs: Continue reading

Vibrations Festival forgoes corporate sponsorship, looks to the crowd for return to Capitol Hill

Witch Gardens @ Cairo's Vibrations Festival

Witch Gardens (Image: CHS)

552012_10151170273376351_2115913652_n Speaking of good times at Capitol Hill music festivals, a free celebration of music makers, poets, filmmakers and artists is being planned for a comeback in Volunteer Park. After a one-year hiatus in 2013, organizers of Cairo’s summer Vibrations Festival are looking beyond the corporate sponsorship that has helped make the event happen in the past and are turning to the crowd to make a 2014 return of the event a reality:

After two years of collaborating with corporate sponsors, the Cairo team has decided to go DO IT YOURELF this year!

We need YOUR help to make Vibrations a reality.

This Indiegogo fundraiser will allow us to create the budget we’ve always wanted for Vibrations: with money to pay for top performers, sound equipment and engineers, visual artists, and staff for the event, Vibrations will be bigger and better than ever before.

2014 Vibrations is YOUR event! Help us make it happen!

We like that typo — we also like Vibrations.

If you want to “do it your elf,” you can give via this Indiegogo site.

The perks include limited edition Vibrations t-shirts, Cairo tunes, access to a special yoga session atop the Biltmore and, for the big givers, a tent at the Vibrations festival “with food and fresh watermelon juice.”

No date is yet listed for the festival which took place in August in 2011 and 2012. The campaign has its work cut out — despite some big(ger) media attention here and there, Cairo is currently at $261 of its $10,000 goal.

Capitol Hill Block Party readies for 18th annual neighborhood invasion — UPDATE: 2014 lineup announced

The explosion of fun that was CHBP 2013 (Image: CHS)

The explosion of fun that was CHBP 2013 (Images: CHS)


The hopefully sun-drenched days of the Capitol Hill Block Party are just three short months away and the festival’s producers have been busily making new plans for the three-day Capitol Hill celebration of Pike/Pine’s nightlife culture.

The 18th annual installment of the festival will once again fall on the last full weekend of July, this year the 25th, 26th, 27th. Block Party producer Jason Lajeunesse told CHS that permits have been issued and most of the bands are booked. The main stage acts and ticket prices are expected to be announced Tuesday morning. The festival annually draws more than 30,000 attendees.

UPDATE: Spoon, The War on Drugs, and Sunday closer A$AP Rocky will be among the Capitol Hill Block Party 2014 headliners, organizers revealed Tuesday during their ritual announcement on KEXP. Three-day passes also went on sale for a limited time discount of $99.

Here’s the list of headliners being announced Tuesday morning:

A$AP Rocky, Spoon, Chromeo, Matt and Kim, The War on Drugs, Odesza, Sol,  A$AP Ferg, Beat Connection, Star Slinger, Budos Band, Tanlines, XXYYXX, Angel Olsen, Poolside, Cymbals, Shy Girls 

The full lineup and schedule is typically released by early June.

Tickets can be purchased here.

“The Block Party is a boisterous and spirited event that takes place right in the heart of Seattle’s artistic community,” Lajeunesse said in a statement released along with the 2014 lineup tease. “This year’s headliners like Chromeo and Matt and Kim will transform the intersection of Pike and Broadway into a giant dance floor. I can’t wait.”

In December Lajeunesse went before the city’s Special Events Committee to assure the city’s party police that there would be no major logistical changes from last year’s festivities. Over recent years, Block Party planners have attempted to do more with less, packing more music and art into the same confines and doing more to mitigate the festival’s impact on the neighborhood by keeping a lid on attendance and last call. Ticket prices have also climbed with single-day access reaching $40 last year. 2014 three-day passes will start at $99 for a limited time, organizers say. Continue reading