Monday, October 20, 2014

The Italian Festival - Seattle Center

The Italian community is upset that the Seattle City council is considering eliminating Columbus Day and replacing it with Indigenous Day

Our first time t sit through a complete cooking show.

Then the competitive Grape Stomp

They put a overflowing crate of grapes into each barrel.

The MC Hypes up the crowd.

All the Audience seated on the front row had to retreat See it here:

The last minute is spent trying to get the juice through the tube to the big container.

The winners.

Whole lota stompin goin on.

This guy was not Italian but he could sure make some tasty Ravioli


This Lady was the real Deal She is from Sicily and only spoke Italian, the guy on the left did his best to translate.

Alfa Romeo logo

Image result for lamborghini

This is the first Cultural Festival that had a dog show!

The Cirneco dell' Etna The Primitive Bed Warmer

Italian Water Dog

Tired Italian Dog

Italian Grayhound "Cirnechi"


That Magician puppet is cutting that female puppet in half


Italian Strings

The Jr. Pizza dudes get their hands floured up

mash it push it

Toss it

Toss it Higher!

The Italian Festival - Seattle Center

"Italians continue to arrive in Seattle, of course. During the recent World Cup tournament, Italian 
immigrants formed a large and vocal group in local bars and cafes, where soccer games blared 
on big-screen TVs. And they can frequently be found at Tutta Bella in the morning, drinking 
espresso and chatting with the barista, 22-year old Giovanni, who hails from Rome. When Cory 
Pizutto’s sister (who lives in Italy) brought her Sicilian fiancĂ© in for a morning espresso, 
Giovanni asked how long he’d be in town, then scoffed at the answer. “Two weeks? That’s what 
I said. It’s been four years.” " There must be a significant Italian populaiton in Seattle and I found this article that has the history

We missed the Italian Fest last year because big "D" was just born and we were all so busy it is now just a blur. Like all the festivals this one was full of music, food, and art but they added a few events that we have not seen in any of the others: a puppet show and a Dog Show. They also had one of the best events for the kids, a giant pizza toss, the parents and kids were all having a great time.
We spent most of our time at the Chef Cooking demonstrations which were great since you got free tasting of their cooking. Right next to the chef show was the grape stomping competition which was great fun to observe from a distance, if you were in the front row the grape juice splashed.  

The building controversy over Columbus Day caught us a bit surprised. Being retired Public School Teachers from Austin Texas Columbus Day was a chance to get a little history in but the locals here in Seattle see Columbus in a much different light. We have heard him accused of Genocide and a Mass Murderer. The indigenous in the PNW are respected way more than those native Indians in Texas and anywhere on the East coast. But it turns out several communities and even states have ended Colmbus Day and celebrate the alternative Indeginous Day see:
The poor Italians are petitioning to get their Holiday Back but it is easy to see it is gone forever here in Seattle for just a few reasons stated here:
It's funny, I never realized Italians thought this was "Their" holiday, I thought is was an American thing? I think if they want to celebrate the Explorer who discovered America it should be Leif Erikson, possibly one of my Ancestors! He beat Columbus by a long shot :

Friday, October 17, 2014

Leavenworth Oktoberfest

Early Morning skys on the way out of Seattle.

Passing through Stephens Pass

Not sure why they need to label them up here, to many in Texas to label.

Our Guide pointed out the cabin on the right as an example of the Baverian home.

Where's my Horse?

Fall has a head start at this elevation and it is only 1166'

I don't think we dressed for Oktoberfest

This is like the town Square for Holidays

Chicken Dance

Best to Sausage up before Beer!
I chose the Bockwerst and the Admiral Apple Chicken

Your choice of dressing + Sauerkraut

It was a hard choice.

The opening Day parade starts right before our very Sausage.

Wonder if it can get any more Baverian?

The Head Beer Dudes

The Town  Jungfrau
The Beer Wagon

This end of town is almost deserted cause they all follow the Beer to the Oktoberfest Garten

There they go.

There is a Seahawks game today.

We diverted to the town water front while waiting for the Parade route to clear a bit. a river running from the Eastern Slopes of the Cascades.

The new Baverian Hut o the block

Really Tall Maypole?

A street clown entertaining those in line to get into the Oktoberfest Garten

A little cultural reflection

The line is moving.

If I had a pair I would have worn them!

The day turned out partly sunny and perfect Mountain temperature

I like his hat, besides it fits in at the Seattle Jazz clubs

The Band arrives at Fest Hall.

The Band marches all through the people increasing the anticipation of  tapping the first Keg.

The Band is in place and dignitaries prepare to speak.

inserting the tap

More Important words.

A final whack with the Big Wooden Mallet.

Beer at last!

Everybody (on Stage) Gets a Stein Full

Including the Little Kids!

Some like it with a Pretzel Necklace.

Number 3 poured my Dunkel! Go Hawks!

More Sausage

More Pork

Here.s the Beef but we could not find any Kale anywhere?

The Fest Hall was to packed so we found room at the Spass Platz Tent

But it starts filling up fast.

The Dance floor starts to fill up.

Chicken Dance:

The place is packed now

My favorite hat.

Handy belt loop to carry a apare.

Captain Crusty from Lake Travis mentioned that we are living in the Land of Tall Women, I am 6'-0" and she is almost a head taller, but the guys are taller.

Giddyup Sounder

Bavarian Style

Bavarian Dancing Train

There is always a choice in life.

Never to Late

Cosmic Bavarian Chicken

Bavarian McDonalds

Sunset in the Highlands

Full moon for the ride home.

We give the Leavenworth Oktoberfest a 10

Leavenworth Oktoberfest

We were talking to a couple from Bismark, North Dakota on our way to Leavinworth for Oktoberfest. They were saying that they had a pretty large German population in North Dakota and they had a really good Oktoberfest there. I learned from Leavenworth's website

"Germany’s Oktoberfest began in Munich in 1810, as a celebration of Prince Ludwig l married to Princess Therese from Saxony-Hildburghausen. It all began as a wedding feast on the outskirts of Munich where the guest ate, drank and celebrated. It was such a success that it became an annual tradition now enjoyed by more than 10 million people per year." Leavenworth Washington is located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Today more than a million tourists come to Leavenworth each year for their Traditional Bavarian Village and Events.

I am sure there are German communities scattered all over the US but the ones we know the best are New Braunfels, TX home of the Wurstfest and Fredricksburg, TX. .We have not been to either of those celebrations in years so just going on our past experiences Leavenworth certainly seems to be trying very hard to live up to it's reputation as the best Oktoberfest celebration in the nation. We used the same tour company for this ride as the one to Mt. Rainier and the Tulip Tour: Tours of Seattle
There is a scenic way and a short way to Leavenworth from Seattle. The Scenic way takes you through up and over the Cascades through Stevens Pass East on Route 2 along the Skykomish River. This is great since it is one of the two main passes near Seattle through the Cascades and we had never been through Stevens Pass before. This is the route you take to Leavinworth and then you take the shorter route through the Snoqualmie pass on the way back. Both have plenty of scenery but it was mostly night time on the way home so not as much to see. I was amused to learn that the name of the town as you begin the ascent over the Cascades is Startup,WA.Our tour guide John says the town is named Startup since this is where you start up the mountain, but Wiki says "Startup was homesteaded by F.M. Sparling in the 1880s.[4] In 1890 William Wait laid out a townsite which he called Wallace, but this caused confusion with mail being missent to Wallace, Idaho, and in 1901 the name was changed to Startup to honor George G. Startup, manager of the Wallace Lumber Company",_Washington

Since this was opening weekend of Oktoberfest we were not sure what we were in for but it seems to be a big day where lots of locals participate on all the opening day ceremonies. We had plenty of time to spend for the day so we took the first part just walking down the main road through Leavenworth to try to just see the town a bit. As we walked back down Route 2 we sort of just got drawn in by the music and lots of people in Bavarian dress. We made our way slowly toward a restaurant we had already spotted that we thought would be good to get some food in before heading down to the Fest Hall. We stopped to listen to a german band playing at a small amphitheater in the middle of it all and then they played the Chicken Dance, just one of many variations we heard throughout the day, but the Admiral was inspired and had to join in.
The Food smells were wafting over and so I was mostly interested in finding some. We walked the short distance to the Sausage Garten and ordered up. Just one Sausage loaded up with Sauerkraut is all one could eat but I thought perhaps I would get hungry again later and get one inside the  Oktoberfest. Just then the Parade escorting the Beer Barrels to Fest Hall appeared, it was a short but sweet parade lasting perhaps 10 minutes. I guess the objective of transporting the Ceremonial Beer Barrels to Fest Hall was achieved in style.
I went to find a good beer while the Admiral took pics of the opening Ceremonies in Fest Hall. After enjoying all the darker Ales in the PNW for so long I chose the Warsteiner Dunkel which is a dark Lager. A good choice. Then we went to the Spass Platz Tent to here the music there since the Main Fest Hall was packed. Good German music and of course the Chicken Dance again. A good place to consume the Dunkel. Off to the next tent the Bier Strube and on the way I chose a Hofbrau Oktoberfestbier, how could you not drink one of these? with it's 6.3% alcohol it is a vital Part of the Oktoberfest experience. The band in this tent was a bit more lively as they played Bavarian versions of pop tunes.Here we noticed several tall people. A fried of mine from our Lake Travis sailing days mentioned we were living in the land of Tall Women. I thought that was funny he mentioned that since I had noticed a lot of really tall women in the Seattle area. And then I started looking at the mens height and found just as many tall men. I had to researc this and figure out why there are so many tall people up here. Well, it turns out from my research that, the Dutch, aka Netherlanders, Scandinavians diet is higher in protein and somehow has led their population to grow taller than Americans in the last 100 years. So I was not surprised to find a few of these tall persons up here. I have been pointing this out to the Admiral for a while now and finally I think she is starting to see the differences as well. It is not just the land of Tall women but Tall People. 
We had one more tent to visit and I was glad cause I noticed they had a local IPA on tap as well and I could leave the Lagers for a fine Ale. So on the way to Tanz Hall I got a Bootjack IPA brewed in Leavenworth at the Icicle Brewing company. This beer has earned 4.5 stars, a rating of 87 on and I agree. If your gonna be stuck in the mountains over a long winter this cetrtainly helps to have it available right down the street.