Ready for another Capitol Hill music festival? Vibrations returns to Volunteer Park

558273_10151170275526351_935403658_nProrated over the entire slate of Capitol Hill’s summer music festivals, Block Party’s $60 ticket prices are downright reasonable. You can start to achieve that actuarial discount Sunday, August 3rd as the Vibrations festival makes a triumphant return to Volunteer Park.


This spring, CHS told you about festival organizers Cairo reviving the free summer music festival with a crowdfunded version of the event free of corporate sponsorship. While the online drive generated only a fraction of the $10,000 goal, producers have moved ahead with the free day of music, art — and summertime dancing on the Volunteer Park grass. Continue reading

Teenage Dreams, Art Deco Japan part of summer 2014 outdoor movie schedule on Capitol Hill

8446531864_ceacd36e09_oScreen Shot 2014-07-22 at 9.36.04 AMFive weeks of outdoor cinema on Capitol Hill begins Friday night with a special screening in Volunteer Park of a silent Japanese classic accompanied by a live musical score performance. Below, you’ll find the summer 2014 roster of the annual screenings brought to you by the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park and Three Dollar Bill Cinema in Cal Anderson.

July 25
Volunteer Park, 8:30 PM — The Lady and the Beard: Directed by Yasujiro Ozu, 1931, silent, 75 min. A traditional kendo practitioner becomes interesting to a cosmopolitan young woman once he shaves off his beard in this classic comedy. The Aono Jikken Ensemble performs their original score to accompany the film, with live benshi narration (English and Japanese).

August 1
Cal Anderson — Bring it On
Volunteer Park — Osaka Elegy

August 8
Cal Anderson – Dirty Dancing
Volunteer Park — Floating Weeds

August 15
Cal Anderson — Clueless

August 22
Cal Anderson — Teen Witch

Dirty-dancing-coverx-largeThe July 25th screening in Volunteer Park is part of a celebration of the SAAM’s Art Deco roots:

… we are celebrating Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920–1945, the Asian Art Museum’s Art Deco building, and summer in Volunteer Park with Deco Night , 6:30-10:30 pm, hosted by the Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas. Below are details:

Exhibition Viewing and Guest Lecture
Asian Art Museum
6:30–8:30 pm: Short tours of the exhibition, the museum’s Deco architecture, and the park design, plus light refreshments.
7 pm: Textile artist Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada speaks on Japanese Deco textiles and fashion.

Outdoor Music and Film
Volunteer Park Amphitheater

8:30–10:30 pmA short selection of Deco-era music from Japan and the U.S. is followed by the silent film The Lady and the Beard. The Aono Jikken Ensemble performs their original score to accompany the film, with live benshi narration (English and Japanese).

Meanwhile, the connective theme for Three Dollar’s Cal Anderson screenings is “Teenage Dreams” –

Three Dollar Bill Outdoor Cinema returns to Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park with TEENAGE DREAMS! Four enchanting films that’ll get your heart racing on Friday nights in August. Come enjoy the summer with FREE outdoor movies. The night is young, and so are we!
Hot popcorn, cold drinks, candy, and other concessions for sale on site.
Limited lawn chair rentals available.

The Cal Anderson shows are free and begin at sunset (around 9 PM) in the southeast corner of the park. You can learn more at

The SAAM screenings at Volunteer Park are also free and take place at the park’s amphitheater adjacent the reservoir. If it rains, the film will be shown in the the nearby museum’s auditorium. You’ll want to arrive around 8:30 PM to find your place on the lawn. Learn more at

Here’s why there are pianos in Cal Anderson and Volunteer Park

Inspired, perhaps, by the great Rancho Bravo piano installation of 2011, a new campaign has placed two pianos on surprising Capitol Hill stages. Thanks to Pianos in the Parks, you’ll find “artistically enhanced” uprights ready for the playing inside Cal Anderson and Volunteer Park:

Pianos in the Parks features 20 artistically enhanced pianos created by Gage Academy of Art faculty, students and friends, each placed in one of 15 iconic Seattle city parks and open spaces, such as Alki Park, Cal Anderson Park, and Seattle Center, and five King County Parks locations, including Marymoor Park and the Sammamish River Trail.

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All the Volunteer Park lawn’s a stage for 14th annual Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival

IMG_5584IMG_8130A performance of Othello part of GreenStage’s 26th season of Shakespeare in the Park helped kick off a weekend of drama on a gorgeously warm Friday night in Volunteer Park. The GreenStage troupe takes the stage the lawn again Saturday with comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost as part the 14th annual Seattle Outdoor Theater Festival – a weekend of theater including eight companies and 14 free performances. The festival’s full lineup is here including plenty more Shakespeare. Performances begin at noon on Saturday and 11 AM Sunday. Expect lots of sun and stay cool: Your wit’s too hot, it speeds too fast, ’twill tire.

More pictures, below.


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With Seattle under an ‘Excessive Heat Watch,’ Capitol Hill wading pools and sprayparks ready to serve

Volunteer Park's wading pool (Image: Peter Allen Clark for CHS)

Volunteer Park’s wading pool (Image: Peter Allen Clark for CHS)

The National Weather Service has Seattle under an EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH this weekend:





CHS is issuing a HOT BABY ALERT. The best protection against HBAs are the various sprayparks and wading pools in the area. They’re open!

  • Volunteer Park wading pool through 9/1, 11a-8p, Daily
  • Cal Anderson Park wading pool through 8/17, 12p-6:45p on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays
  • Miller Community Center spray park through 9/1, 11a-8p, Daily

As an element of the City’s water conservation effort, we’re encouraging people to use public wading pools and sprayparks rather than fill their home “kiddy pools” or run backyard sprinklers. In accordance with state law, we fill, chlorinate, supervise, and empty each wading pool every day, which requires a substantial amount of water. With a bit of analysis, we learned that filling home wading pools uses more water than a public community wading pool. For example, if 50 families used the East Queen Anne wading pool at 160 Howe St., rather than filling their home wading pools, the water saved would equal that needed to fill the public wading pool, which would serve a lot more than 50 kids!

Meanwhile, if you’d like to dive all the way in and go for a swim in a public pool, there are a few options for “open swim” not too far from the Hill or you can visit the nearby Capitol Hill Riviera.

Free ice cream and lemonade as Volunteer Park Trust celebrates summer

10416584_694521537249693_1266359755234295289_nThe Volunteer Park Trust is once again hosting its celebration of summer in the classic Capitol Hill public green space it works to protect and improve.

Thursday night — and near-80 F temperatures — brings the second annual Volunteer Park Trust Picnic:10309707_701621603206353_7046146607318037071_n

Join us at our second annual celebration of summer in Volunteer Park!

The Shed Boys and
The Tall Boys

Food Vendors:
Dante’s Inferno Dogs
Don Lucho’s and
Happy Grillmore

Free Treats, provided by VPT:
Cupcake Royale – Capitol Hill Ice Cream and

The picnic starts at 6 PM — you’ll find the crowd on the amphitheater green just to the west of the reservoir.

CHS introduced you to the newly formed trust back in 2012 as the group began its mission to protect and enhance the more than 100-year-old park.

25th and Union parklet nears $10,000 fundraising goal

A sketch of the 25th and Union parklet's possible design

A sketch of the 25th and Union parklet’s possible design

The effort to raise $10,000 from the community to help create a parklet at 25th and Union is in its final stretch — and within reach of its goal.

In May, CHS wrote about the efforts to create two separate parklets within a few block on E Union. With the Chuck’s project pulled off the drawing board, the community seems to have rallied support for a street park proposal at 25th and Union adjacent the Cortona Cafe. As of Thursday, the giving total was less than $1,000 from its 10 grand goal.

You can give here if you’d like to help put it over the top before the June 30th deadline — Crowdrise: 25TH & UNION PARKLET

Backers of the project added this CHS Community Post to explain how parklets work and provide a few details on the 25th and Union proposal.

Capitol Hill pollinator pathway would create 11th Ave route for neighborhood bees, butterflies

If you think it can be difficult for a pedestrian to dart across E Madison traffic, try being a bumble bee. Creating a connection for the pollinators through the densely populated, heavily trafficked streets between Seattle University, Cal Anderson and Volunteer Park will be one of the problem researchers from the University of Washington Green Futures Lab and backers of the Capitol Hill Ecodistrict try to solve in creating a new Pollinator Pathway project along 11th Ave.

Part of the answer for the bees, says Ecodistrict director Joel Sisolak, is building higher.

“I think it’s important to know that pollinators don’t only travel right near ground level, which is why rooftop gardeners may be surprised to suddenly find bees working their potted plants 5 stories up,” Sisolak tells CHS. Continue reading

Cal Anderson playground alert: Safety grass installation underway

IMG_1269Cal Anderson’s water mountain fountain flows again — but the playground has spent June out of commission.

Capitol Hill moms, dads, etc. take note — the park’s playground is closed through the week while Seattle Parks replaces the old foam-y surface with a new layer of sport turf. We’re told it’ll be better for wear and tear in the heavily-used play area.

The playground should be reopened by Friday, June 13th — just in time for Saturday, June 14th’s Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day community lot in Cal Anderson Park.IMG_1268

Cal Anderson water mountain dry for mayor’s minimum wage visit

Cal Anderson Park will be the backdrop for the signing of an historic piece of Seattle legislation Tuesday though the civic green space won’t be in full glory for the occasion. Water mountain still runs dry.

Mayor Ed Murray will be in the park named for his political mentor to sign the legislation passed Monday that puts Seattle on track for $15/hour minimum wage. The ceremony is slated to begin at 1:15 PM in front of the park’s Shelterhouse.

In the background, one of the park’s favorite features remains without water due to required maintenance. The fountain and its flowing pool are slated to be turned back on soon, Seattle Parks assures:

Our plumbing crews have been working at getting all the fountains working after Memorial Day.  Cal Anderson fountain is being cleaned and should be turned back on by the weekend.

It’s not as serious an outage as 2011 when the mountain went dry for weeks after a special pump failed and had to be replaced. Meanwhile, at the end of that same summer, another piece of important legislation for the city’s business community and workers was signed on Capitol Hill. Mayor Mike McGinn came to 12th Ave’s Plum Bistro to sign the city’s new paid sick leave rules into law.

One E Union parklet a go, another on hold — no worries either way, Chuck’s is getting a patio

Chuck's parklet is on hold but design for a planned parklet at 25th and Union in front of Cortona is underway

The design sketch for a planned parklet at 25th and Union. You can support the project by giving here to help raise the $11,000 needed to complete the parklet.

With the onset of warmer and drier weather, it’s time to start thinking about strategy for finding coveted outdoor seating at your favorite drinking establishments. Thankfully, the CD can add one more outdoor patio to the list this summer. The city has approved Chuck’s Hop Shop for a 20 person outdoor patio at its 20th and Union location. Owner Chuck Shin told CHS that construction should get under way in the coming weeks and would be complete in plenty of time for enjoying sun-drenched brews this summer.

Meanwhile, another proposed outdoor space near Chuck’s is getting a less enthusiastic response from neighbors. CHS reported in April that Chuck’s would be sponsoring a city parklet, which coverts 2-3 street parking spaces into a small public seating area outside a participating business. Shin tells CHS the E Union parklet plans are now on hold after nearby business owners voiced concerns about losing parking.

“Some neighbors approached us and they weren’t happy about it … theres no sense in making enemies over something like that,” he said.

Shin said he will be discussing the parklet plans with business owners at the May meeting of the CD Association. He said he’ll step away if there’s opposition to losing parking, but that he’s happy to fund the street park if that’s what neighbors want.

25th and Union Parklet
Another Central District parklet is in the works at 25th and Union where the owners at Cortona Cafe are working to raise $11,000 to design and build their street-side park.

The parklets are designed, built, and maintained by participating business owners even though the park itself is a public space. In 2013, Capitol Hill became home to the first parklet in the city as Montana’s management financed a small deck and hangout space in front of the E Olive Way bar.

The new owners of the Comet and Lost Lake also jumped into the expanding program with a plan to exchange a few parking spots at 10th and E Pike with a street park. See the full list of proposed parklets here.

In 2014, Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day has a new home — Cal Anderson Park

Cal Anderson mural is not for sale (Image: CHS)

Cal Anderson mural is not for sale (Image: CHS)

Happy birthday, Cal Anderson, born this day in 1948. It’s a bit of an odd gift but we’re hoping Washington’s first openly gay legislator would appreciate knowing that his namesake park will be home to another fun community event this summer.

CHS and the Cal Anderson Park Alliance are proud to announced that the 11th Ave green space will be host to tables and tables of goodies in the 2014 Capitol Hill Garage Sale Day community lot on Saturday, June 14th.

The deadline to sign up for the community sale or add your own yard or apartment or parking strip or dry cleaners parking lot is June 4th. You can register below or at

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