Lil Smokies at the 2017 Ballard SeafoodFest
Lil' Smokies at the 2017 Ballard SeafoodFest Ballard Vox

Guys. I'm from Florida—well, technically, I was born on the West Coast (in Cali), but moved to the Sunshine State as a wee lass with my folks and didn't make it back west (to Seattle) until late summer of 2016. I had all kinds of opportunities to develop a love of fish—I lived on a peninsula located on a peninsula, in St. Petersburg, right off the Gulf of Mexico—but I don't think I ever really got excited about fish until after I moved to Seattle.

Maybe it's because I was never a big fan of some of the main species you find on menus there—grouper, sea trout, and mackerel included—but one of my faves has always been salmon, the unofficial fish of Washington, and you certainly weren't served fresh non-Atlantic salmon in the good ol' FLA.

Perhaps Washington's abundance of salmon in addition to all those varieties of fish I'd never heard of (let alone tried) awakened my icthyophilia, so I'm heartily looking forward to this weekend's Ballard SeafoodFest.

Originally launched in 1974, the festival started as a grassroots celebration of Ballard’s long-standing connection to the fishing industry and its deep Nordic roots. More than four decades later, the free three-day Ballard Seafoodfest draws upwards of 75,000 people with boatloads of fish, bevvies (alcoholic and non), entertainment, diversions, and a rather impressive musical lineup for an event you don't have to pay an admission fee to get into.

Blitzen Trapper
Blitzen Trapper
The standout and Saturday night headliner hails from Portland—Blitzen Trapper, among my favorite purveyors of alternative roots music, deftly mixing Southern twang and rays-lit folk rock with psychedelic stretching and exploring. I've seen them a few times and they never disappoint. Also of note on the main stage: Nashville stoner-desert rockers and neo-psych rollers All Them Witches, and Canadian folk-bluegrass string band the Dead South.

There's a food-eating competition at Bergen Place Park. (Can you eat 2 lbs of lutefisk? It's made of aged or dried/salted fish and lye, and has a 'gelatinous' texture according to Wiki. Oooh, yum.) For those disinclined to endure such abuse to the tastebuds and guts, there's an alder-smoked salmon dinner ($12 a plate) and (Alaskan) crab shack, both presented by Trident Seafoods, not to mention all manner of other seafood and regular food vendors hawking delectable eats.

Peep at this #ballardseafoodfest community food porn.

Feeling #crabby at the #ballardseafoodfest #seattle #ballard

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