News Blog for Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood


Fireworks photos from Wallingford

July 5th, 2011 by master

While thousands of people converged on Gas Works Park for the fireworks, many others gathered in the streets of Wallingford to catch a glimpse of the light show.

Cheryl Jones sent us this photo from her 45th Street studio.
Photo Credit: Northern Lights Photography

Marina snapped these two photos from Wallingford Ave.

There seemed to be a lot more people out watching the fireworks compared with last year. Of course we’re pretty sure the weather had something to do with that. Hope you had a great Fourth!

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One Reel reaches $500K July 4th fireworks goal

May 25th, 2011 by master

After almost a year of fundraising for the July 4th fireworks at Gas Works Park, event organizer One Reel today announced the $500K goal has been reached and Family 4th will go on.

Interesting note: It wasn’t a Northwest company or person who got One Reel to the goal; instead support bubbled up from Coca-Cola Refreshments – Northwest Region, based in Bellevue. Other supporters include Microsoft, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Talking Rain, BECU, Charlie’s Produce, Merrill Gardens, Taco Time and Smith Brothers Farms.

From the press release:

“Fundraising for the 2011 event began in July of last year, and contributions have come from supporters throughout our region, all with inspiring stories and memories of this Northwest family tradition,” says One Reel Executive Director, Jon Stone. “With true appreciation for the partnership and dedication of the Greater Seattle Chamber, we are glad to put this year’s budget to bed, and look forward to putting on one heck of an Independence Day party for Seattle.”

Family 4th at Lake Union starts at noon at Gas Works Park (2101 N. Northlake Way) on Monday, July 4. The fireworks show begins at 10 p.m. See all our 2010 fireworks coverage here.

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Fireworks update: final fundraiser April 25

April 19th, 2011 by master

Thanks to our sister site Queen Anne View for this story.

By Jesus Chavez

A fundraiser for “Family 4th at Lake Union,” Seattle’s only Independence Day fireworks celebration, will be held on Monday, April 25 at Jillian’s Billiards Club on Westlake from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

“Over the Top” will be the final fundraising event by the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and non-profit organization One Reel to raise the remaining amount needed, as well as a community celebration in honor of the continuation of the fireworks show.

One Reel, who has sponsored “Family 4th at Lake Union” for more than two decades, has raised more than 80 percent of the $500,000 budget, and the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce is calling on its members to raise the additional $90,000.

One Reel announced in January that the July 4 fireworks show would indeed take place, which would not be possible if it weren’t for donations from Seattle’s business community and public.

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July Fourth weekend flashback

July 6th, 2010 by master

Did you get out of town or just avoid the computer this weekend? Here’s how the holiday weekend went:

Zombies take over Fremont, regain world record

Scenes from a soggy Family 4th at Gas Works Park

Seattle fireworks show lights up Lake Union

The fireworks from Wallingford Avenue

July 4th: Wallingford’s daylong party & traffic jam

The Walk Bike Ride Challenge for the month of July begins

Cleanup crews fan out across Wallingford

This week, you’ve probably heard, we’ll have temperatures 20 to 30 degrees higher than recent norms. The wading pool at Wallingford Playfield will be a popular spot this Wednesday through Sunday (noon to 7 p.m.)! The Green Lake wading pool will be open every day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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Fireworks attendance lower than expected

July 5th, 2010 by master

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the rain dampened attendance last night at the Family 4th fireworks show at Gas Works. With 50,000 or so expected, today One Reel put the official tally at 31,000.

“This is definitely lower than we anticipated and hoped for given the amazing circumstances surrounding the event this year,” One Reel’s Mikhael Mei Williams told My Wallingford. “We’re very pleased with the show and the reaction and feedback we received from people who did join us in the park was that it was the best show they’d ever seen! It really was a pretty magical day; even with the rain it couldn’t dampen the spirit of the event!”

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Cleanup crews fan out across Wallingford

July 5th, 2010 by master

Enticed by free lunch and coffee from Starbucks, hundreds of volunteers descended on Gas Works Park, South Lake Union and Eastlake this morning to clean up after last night’s spectacular fireworks show.

Volunteers picked up a mountain of trash, not only in the park but up nearby Wallingford streets, in parking lots, and along the Burke-Gilman trail, as well. By noon, most of the area was picked clean by volunteers.

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July 4th: Wallingford's daylong party & traffic jam

July 5th, 2010 by master

As the hosting neighborhood for the July Fourth fireworks, Wallingford swarms with cars, pedestrians and cyclists all day long.

At noon the Family 4th festivities began at Gas Works Park, and the Seattle Police Department blocked off nearby streets to ease congestion. We talked with two officers at N. 39th and Bagley, who said that last year there were officers at almost every blocked corner, but this year their numbers were cut by more than half. “The traffic’s always a mess,” said one officer, “but now people have to wander around to find someone to help them [get through the barricades].”

At 6:30 p.m. QFC was busy with shoppers stocking up for the trek down to Gas Works or for their celebrations closer to home. “Everyone was talking about the fireworks,” reader Vicki told us. Unsurprisingly, beer was the hottest seller.

As many fireworks fans know, you don’t need to go all the way to Gas Works for a great view of the pyrotechnic display. Each year, people emerge from their houses or stop on the streets below N. 45th that offer sight lines down to Lake Union.

Wide Wallingford Ave. has long been a prime fireworks-watching spot, and with the streets closed below N. 39th, the throngs know where to go.

After the fireworks, private shows of their own began in backyards, street corners and at Wallingford Playfield and Meridian Park. The explosions were persistent until about midnight. We were grateful that the cool night let us close all our windows.

Along N. 45th St., traffic moved smoothly, and the backups above the main drag seemed lighter than in recent years.

We talked with revelers along Burke Ave. close to Gas Works who told us that many neighbors leave for the Fourth of July to avoid all the commotion. It’s true, Wallingford does seem to become one big, loud party every Independence Day.

See also: Fireworks attendance much lower than expected
Plus: Thousands brave the rain with any shelter they can find

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Seattle fireworks show lights up Lake Union

July 5th, 2010 by master

After a rain-soaked afternoon, the skies cleared just in time for a spectacular fireworks display that some are calling possibly the best ever at Lake Union.

Photo from Joey Anchondo, Seattle Times. See more photos here.

“That was the best ever!” said KING 5 anchor Dennis Bounds moments after the fireworks ended. “I am like, awestruck,” said co-anchor Meeghan Black.

Organizers promised the show — which was saved by a half-million dollars of donations — would be one to remember. “Any great holiday should be owned by the citizens,” said Norman Langill, President of One Reel. “There’s no way to do it but the same way from now on.”

“They’re not going to let a little thing called a recession stop it,” said Dave Ross, who helped spearhead the effort to save the show with chef Tom Douglas.

Plus: Photos of the fireworks from Wallingford Ave.

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Fourth of July fireworks fundamentals

July 2nd, 2010 by master

If you’re staying in town this weekend and plan to see the fireworks over Lake Union this Independence Day, here’s a primer on all things fireworks. For even more information, see the Family 4th site.

The Big Event: Family 4th at Gas Works Park
One Reel’s Family 4th event begins at noon at Gas Works Park. The free festival will attract tens of thousands of merrymakers and feature kite making and flying, face painting, climbing walls, a giant inflatable slide and obstacle course, a bungee trampoline platform, and more activities.

Wallingford businesses Not a Number, Trophy Cupcakes, and Fuerte Fitness will entertain with a game show, cake walk, and inflatable sumo wrestling (in that order, yes).

Beloved Seattle band Presidents of the United States of America are slated to play before and after the fireworks.

The fireworks show itself will begin around 10 p.m. Preparations have begun:

There will be two entrances to the park open on July 4: one on the north end of the parking lot and the other to the south.

Leave these items at home — they won’t be permitted into Gas Works Park during Family 4th:

  • Pets
  • Personal barbecues (There are barbecues available on site.)
  • Alcoholic beverages (You may purchase beer and wine in the beer garden with proper ID.)
  • Fireworks
  • No staking the parks grounds (i.e. no tent stakes)
  • Weapons of any sort—firearms, knives, etc.

Unless you live, work or can prove you need to be in the area, the streets around Gas Works Park will be off limits beginning at noon on Sunday.

The streets of Wallingford get clogged before the fireworks and traffic moves at a glacial pace for a couple of hours after the last explosion.

One Reel strongly suggests you walk or bike to the fireworks show — they’ll set up an express access bike entrance on the northwest side of the park and offer a dedicated bike parking area inside. You should plan on a very long wait for the buses after the fireworks too.

Where Else to Watch
Most areas ringing Lake Union provide good views of the fireworks. One popular spot, Lake Union Park on South Lake Union, will be closed for fireworks viewing this year (it accommodated 2000 last year).

Prefer the comfort of your home? Unless you have a view of Lake Union, turn on KING 5 to see the show.

Want to listen to music synchronized to the display? Tune in to 97.3 KIRO FM during the fireworks.

The Day After
We’ve never been to Gas Works Park on the morning of July 5, but can imagine it’s not a pretty sight. Starbucks, which donated $125,000 to the fireworks this year, is organizing the 5th of July Lake Union Cleanup:

In the spirit of keeping our neighborhoods clean and healthy and thanking our Lake Union neighbors for their hospitality, Starbucks is inviting community at large to join their partners (employees) to come out for a day of service to re-beautify the area.

Starbucks will not only coordinate the cleanup efforts on land, but will also sponsor the cleanup on Lake Union’s waters, which will be conducted by Puget Soundkeeper Alliance.

To sign up for the event and get additional details, visit and

Stay Safe (and Don’t Annoy Your Neighbors)
Lastly, a safety reminder from the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Fire Department:

There are no legal fireworks in the City of Seattle.

The possession, manufacture, storage, sale, handling and use of fireworks are prohibited. Fireworks offenses are gross misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

Fireworks pose a fire hazard to property and present a safety risk to those who use them. Every year the Seattle Fire Department responds to fireworks-related fires and injuries. Each and every one of these incidents could have been prevented.

On the 4th of July, 911 centers become overloaded with non-emergency fireworks calls. DO NOT call 911 unless you have a life-threatening emergency and need immediate help from police, fire or medics. Unnecessary 911 calls block people with real emergencies from reaching 911 and getting help.

Any fireworks-related fires or injuries should be reported directly to 911. Other fireworks violations may be reported by calling the Seattle Police non-emergency number at (206) 625-5011.

Hope you have a happy 4th!

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'Save the Fireworks' drive reaches $500K goal

April 2nd, 2010 by master

Update: Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has declared April 2, 2010, “The Day the People Saved the Fireworks.” Read the full declaration.

Just 24 hours after KIRO radio talk show host Dave Ross and restaurateur Tom Douglas began a pledge drive to return the Family 4th fireworks to Lake Union and Gas Works Park, the $500,000 goal has been reached.

Both Microsoft and Starbucks agreed to each pay $125,000 if other businesses and citizens pitched in the remaining $250,000. “We’re pleased to announce, with your help we have reached the goal of raising $500,000 in pledges. According to One Reel, the nonprofit that organizes the show, that is the amount needed to keep the show going,” an announcement posted on states.

“The power of community is truly amazing,” Wallingford Chamber of Commerce president Kara Ceriello tells us. “It’s patriotic, it’s fun, it’s cool, it’s ours,” she says of the fireworks.

Mikhael Williams, spokesperson for One Reel, which has produced the event for more than 20 years, told us yesterday that Monday was the deadline to meet the goal.

(Full disclosure: Next Door Media, which powers, has donated to this fund.)

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