Fremont Fair: Seattle’s Quirkiest Neighborhood Shows Us More Than We Asked For

Wow, this past weekend was definitely something to remember! On Saturday, Rob and I visited the Fremont Fair – a giant fun event celebrating the summer solstice that took place in Fremont, the quirkiest neighborhood of Seattle. This annual fair took place for the 43rd time, and while we only found out about it a few days ago, we were definitely glad that we did!

Just how quirky is Fremont, you may ask? After living in the Deep South for almost eight years, I consider seeing anyone wearing clown shoes on an average day the pinnacle of quirkiness, but for the dwellers of Fremont it’s just casual Tuesday morning attire. In fact, this Seattle neighborhood has an official motto of ‘delibertas quirkas’ – the freedom to be peculiar. The Fremont Fair concentrated this free spirit the same way sugar cane juice is concentrated to turn into molasses – it may be light and thin at first, but after some effort is applied, it becomes rich and in-your-face strong (okay, that’s a weird comparison 🙂 ).

Here’s a picture that describes the range of Fremont’s attractions – from solemn Vladimir Lenin statue (WTF?) to some dancing clowns:

collage(I fully acknowledge that if I had put together a collage like this back in the days of Joseph Stalin, I would have already been rotting in the depths of GULAG before this post had even come out.)

As we arrived on Saturday afternoon, we found the place filled to the brim with arts and crafts, music coming from all directions, and lots and lots of people walking around. There were plenty of street performances:

Buskers… and opportunities to try your hand at creating something artsy and thus expand your brain:

BrainAt around 3 pm, the fairgoers lined the streets to make room for the upcoming Solstice parade. It opened with something we’ve NEVER EVER seen before: lots of bicyclists, both male and female, went on to ride in the parade clothed in nothing but body paint. Yes, you’ve read that right – all they were wearing was the artistic expression of their inner selves, expressed with the help of body paint.

CyclistsHope this picture doesn’t offend anyone! If it does, I’ll have to take it down, and the readers who stumble upon this post later will have to use their imagination exclusively.

Once the bicycling was over, the more traditional part of the parade began, with marching bands, dancers, singers, decorated floats, etc. But even here we could definitely sense the spirit of ‘delibertas quirkas’ – from the cute and innocent bees radiating summery vibes…

Bees parade… to some satirically charged performers expressing their displeasure with how large corporations rule the world these days (naturally, there had to be some stilt walkers among them):

SatireThe parade proceeded all the way to the Gas Works Park  (below) – an incredibly picturesque place in the center of Seattle that Rob and I discovered only recently. While most of the parade participants, including the bicyclists, had at least some clothes on by then, we still had a few awkward encounters with people who enjoyed the clothing-free concept too much. It is what it is, we concluded.

Gas Works Park

The Food Part of This Post

Of course, my narration would be incomplete without mentioning what we found to eat at the fair. We stumbled upon a rather large lineup of food trucks, and thankfully, some of them had vegan-friendly options. A Mediterranean-themed truck served us these delicious falafel pita sandwiches – and they even had a vegan tzatziki sauce:

FalafelAlso, the wonderful Flying Apron Vegan & Gluten-Free Bakery was located right up the street from the fair, so we felt like we had to stop by! I had a gigantic slice of their orange-cardamom cake (below), while Rob enjoyed a banana bread muffin (not pictured). I reviewed Flying Apron Bakery in more detail in this post.

cakeAfter we left the festiveness of the fair later in the afternoon, we decided to stop by another all-vegan restaurant – the famed Pizza Pi in the University District of Seattle. Interestingly, it’s located within a stone’s throw of another two vegan restaurants we’ve visited before – Wayward Vegan Café and Araya’s Place (both of them reviewed by me in this post). The menu was expansive – it included all kinds of pizza from the classic pepperoni to the cleverly named Tropic Thunder (pineapple and vegan Canadian bacon topped with shredded coconut) and St. Patrick’s Revenge (green veggies in spinach-artichoke sauce). We proceeded to enjoy this St. Louis pizza topped with smoky vegan cheese:

Pizza PiIt was good, but a bit too rich to my taste that’s been weaned off creamy and smoky foods a while ago.

The foods of the day were definitely on the indulgent side, which caught up to me later as we headed back to the ferry to go back home – my energy levels dropped so much that I had to take a quick nap in the car (I’m rolling my eyes as I’m writing this!). As soon as we got back, I devoured a large bowl of mango, kiwi and blueberries, and instantly felt reenergized! Go fresh food!

I hope that by now you have a decent idea of what it was like to visit the Summer Solstice Fair in Fremont. If you’re ever in Seattle area in mid-June, come on over to the Fremont Fair – but be prepared that clothing seems to be optional here 🙂

4 thoughts on “Fremont Fair: Seattle’s Quirkiest Neighborhood Shows Us More Than We Asked For”

  1. Heidi Cusworth

    Be sure to check out the Maxwelton Parade on the 4th of july. It’s held at Maxwelton Beach/Dave Mackie Park, in Clinton. It’s also a quirky parade (like a mini Freemont Parade), and right in your neck of the woods. Have fun!!! 🙂

    1. Nicollette, the body paint was indeed very impressive! I wish I could share more pictures I took, but most of them are a bit too revealing.

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