The Solstice Fair is one of the premiere summer activities in Seattle
The annual Fremont Solstice Fair, a beloved Mardi-Gras style festival, is returning to Seattle this weekend (June, 17th-19th). If you’re anything like us at Smith & Burns, you’re probably feeling a bit overwhelmed. There’s no doubt you’ll have a great time at the Fair, but there’s just SO MUCH going on, how do you choose?
Well, if you’re an inexperienced solstice-er, you’re in luck. The folks at Smith & Burns are more than just a little familiar with Wallingford, Fremont, and the amazing summer activities that go on in these unique corners of town. If you’ve never been, the Fremont Solstice Fair and Parade is a wonderful event that’s thoughtfully curated by the Fremont Arts Council. But if you’re short on time this weekend and you want to know the things you absolutely should not miss, we’ve got a nice list of highlights. Study up while you can; the Solstice fair is this FRIDAY!
Billed as ‘Seattle’s Largest Free Summer Music Festival,” the Solstice Festival is truly an incredible thing. With a solid combo of some national touring acts, a few North West favorites, and some local legends, the music at the Solstice Fair is a wonderful mixture of big and small, and it’s just a quick walk from Smith and Burns! You’re sure to see some of the best and and most unique performances around.
Here’s a few sets you CANNOT miss:
DJ Mullet (Redhook Mainstage 4:00-5:00pm, Friday)
DJ Mullet describes himself as a turntablist, a male model, and a yachtsman all in one. That’s a pretty hefty resume. One thing’s for sure, he definitely brings the weird and wacky eccentricity to everyone of his gigs, spinning vinyl only, hip-hop centric sets that are sure to get the party rockin’.
The Helio Sequence (Redhook Main Stage 10:00 pm – 11:30 pm, Friday)
If you’ve stayed up to date on the indie-electronic music scene over the past ten years, it’s pretty unlikely that you’d have missed The Helio Sequence. Veterans of SubPop, a Seattle record label responsible for big grunge acts like Nirvana and Soundgarden, The Helio Sequence bring a lighter, funkier sound to the label’s discography with their ethereal, syncopated electro jams.
Cataldo (Redhook Mainstage, 6:00-7:00pm, Saturday)
Led by singer-songwriter Eric Anderson, Cataldo has grown steadily in popularity since their self-titled debut in 2005. A promising local act with the potential to rise to national prominence, Cataldo is not one to be missed. Think Death Cab for Cutie, but helmed by a young Paul Simon.
Luluc (Redhook Mainstage 7:30-8:30pm, Saturday)
Another SubPop records affiliate, Luluc is an australian indie-folk duo that released their second record on the Seattle label in 2014. Since then, they’ve garnered a ton of critical acclaim as one of the best understated folk music groups currently around. You can’t miss their sweet and sentimental songs, a real treat!
Hey Marseilles (Redhook Mainstage 10:20-11:30pm, Saturday)
Another indie-folk gem, Hey Marseilles is a quintet which originally formed in Seattle in 2006. Since then, they’ve successfully weathered the tricky transition from a local favorite, to a well-acclaimed national touring act, riding the wave of populairty generated from their first two releases and touring relentlessly.
Country Lips (Redhook mainstage 2:00-3:30pm, Sunday)
Doing country the way it was meant to be done, Country Lips is a local act that has steadily been gaining popularity in Seattle. People just can’t seem to get enough of their honky-tonk, bar-band style that leans much closer to Merle Haggard than it does to Keith Urban.
Seattle Rock Orchestra Plays the Beach Boys (Redhook Mainstage, 4:00-5:30pm, Sunday)
The Seattle Rock orchestra started in 2008 as a 13-piece. Since then, they’ve grown into a 50+ person orchestra with strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion and a rotating cast of guest vocalists, SRO is embarking on its sixth full season of programming! Don’t miss them rocking some of your favorite Beach Boys tunes to close out the Festival!
Aside from the music, the food at the Solstice Fair is one of the more tantalizing aspects of the festival as it’s one of the only times during the entire year that you can get fair food in this corner of town. This year, they’ll have all sorts of yummy eats available. Here are a few highlights:
Tokyo Dog is a delicious food truck that’s cranking out japanese style hot dogs. What’s a japanese style hot dog, you ask? According to their site, it’s “German style bratwurst and sausages with a combination of high-quality Japanese toppings such as nori, furikake, shichimi, miso, etc…” YUM!
Panda Dim Sum is a catering company that focuses on traditional chinese Dim Sum. They set themselves apart by emphasizing their use of organic ingredients and partnerships with local, family-owned farms. Good food with a good cause!
Oh yes! Corn Dogs of the World is exactly what you think of when you think ‘fair-style corn dog.’ They’re well known throughout the Washington Fair scene for some of the most decadent fair dogs you can find. Don’t miss ‘em!
With a strong commitment to both speed and quality, Bambuza cranks out traditional Vietnamese eats with profound precision and speed. They, like many of Solstice’s food vendors, pride themselves on using organic ingredients of the highest quality. If you’re in the mood for vietnamese this weekend, there’s little reason to pass them up.
This year, the Fremont Solstice will be home to over 100 vendors of all shapes and sizes. There’s certainly too many of each kind of vendor to include in this post here, (now we’re having trouble choosing!) but you definitely will not want to miss the chance to shop at this year’s solstice fest; there’s too much good stuff! Follow each link for a complete list of vendors.
- Revel in all the different kinds of work from local artists.
- Henna Tattoos, face painting, caricatures….you name it solstice has it!
- Hats, sunglasses, clothing, and the full gamut of eccentric accessories!
- A variety of eclectic house and kitchenwares
- All sorts of unique jewellers showcasing their crafts.
- Clothes, toys, and accessories for kids!
- A mixture of churches, charities, and social programs that are each doing their part to make Seattle a better place.
- A few other miscellaneous businesses
Alright, we’ve finally made it to the crown jewel of the Fremont Solstice Parade! The Painted Cyclists are truly a beloved aspect of the Solstice festival and they’re truly a sight to behold. Some may refer to it as the “Naked Bike Ride,” but the Fremont Arts Council chooses to emphasize the body paint over the nudity. Sure, on their site, they warn that there could be nudity, but as a whole, the Fremont Solstice parade is more about celebrating the eccentricity and kookiness of the Fremont neighborhood than it is about celebrating being naked. “Nude-not-lewd” is their decisively clever terminology. The painted cyclists usually consist of around 1500 riders that are set loose at the start of the parade, heralding the floats behind them through Fremont and down the Burke Gilman. The ride begins at 3pm at 3rd and Leary Way and wraps up at Gasworks park, where there’s food, music, a beer garden, shopping, and more!
Smith & Burns is a new apartment community in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle. Aside from providing a fantastic place to live for our residents, we love to be able to provide our residents with a comfortable and convenient life in Seattle. The Fremont Solstice Fair is a gleaming example of the kind of unique, eccentric culture that exists in this corner of town and throughout Seattle, and we love that our residents, and Seattleites, as a whole gather together to enjoy the festivities.
If you’re interested in calling this kooky corner of town your home, we’d love to have you!