BACK IN THE LUTEFISK SADDLE AGAIN

There are lots of things we haven’t done in three years.

When we kicked into COVID mode and shut down almost every tradition and festival imaginable, things went away with no guarantee they would come back.

Two of those things that were put on hold was the Ballard Seafoodfest and the FIshermen’s Fall Festival and that meant I wouldn’t be hosting any lutefisk eating contests as part of my annual collection of weird crap I do.

In fact, the Fall Festival people have already canceled this year’s edition and so last Sunday, when I grabbed the microphone at Seafoodfest, the corniness, the bad jokes and puns, all came rushing back to me like Marjorie Taylor Green at a Qanon garage sale.

But then I realized when I say Ballard Seafoodfest, it may come off as just another summer festival. Far from it. And so, I thought I’d do a quick seminar on “How to Seafoodfest.”

The Salmon Barbecue

They do it every year, and the aroma just pulls you in. The salmon is prepared in their secret, amazing way, with lots of alder smoke present in the end result.

A Quick Stop at Skal

It’s a Viking bar in Ballard and one of our faves. We watched it being built and admired how the owner, Adam, hung in there with every curve ball you could imagine. For special occasions like Seafoodfest, they offer “Walk-up shots”, where you can grab a quick shot of aquavit and a polse (a Norwegian hot dog, wrapped in lefse)

Booths and Ballard Businesses

Besides the Lutefisk Eating contest, Sunday is a bonus day because you get all the booths, the live bands, and the beer gardens, plus all the stores you probably never got a chance to explore are open, AND, the Sunday Ballard Market is opening for business.

            Now, Let’s Talk Lutefisk

Yeah, there was pent-up demand for the annual Lutefisk Eating Championships. Normally, I’ll get there prior to the competition and we have to beg the crowd for a few more competitors. This year, all 10 slots were filled, including these two.



Sorry, I don’t remember their names but they were from Santa Barbara. While on the flight up, their mom saw the competition coming up Sunday and knowing they’d be there, she signed them up. They were incredibly good sports and made a go at it, but they were bumped out on the first round. And I should mention that their mom told them it was a SALMON eating contest.

Special thanks to Debbie, Cory and the gang at Mountain Pacific Bank who always staff the contest every year, as well as The Landmark, which dares to allow their kitchen to be used to prepare it. Oh, and of course, that lutefisk is from THE place to buy yours, Scandinavian Specialties in Ballard.

Congrats to one of the usual suspects, Al Johnston, who showed up to regain his title this year, and special thanks to Seattle City Councilman Dan Strauss who helped out as a judge and kept his distance.

Yeah, if you’ve never been, I know northwest summers have lots of options when it comes to festivals, but I hope you’ll include a little lutefisk in your summer plans next year.

We’re always looking for new competitors.

Tim Hunter

Wacky Week Podcast EPISODE #172

This week, I’m taking you down to the streets of Ballard where every year, a champion is determined. Yes, several people actually compete to be the winner of Ozzy’s World Famous Lutefisk Eating Contest, during Ballard’s annual Seafoodfest. So that you don’t have to see or smell it, I thought I’d give you a front row seat on the Internet.


There Is No Cod

Cod

Cod is dead.

The time-honored tradition of the Lutefisk Eating Competition at Seafoodfest in Ballard is over.

When I hadn’t received the call to emcee the championship eating event for this upcoming weekend, I went to the website.  Nothing. So I emailed the Ballard Chamber and they confirmed it: the annual Lutefisk Eating Contest had been scrapped.

It may come back next year, it may not.

Yeah, it gave me something to do and kept me off the streets, but I know there exists a die-hard collection of lutefisk eaters who are going to show up on Saturday and be greatly disappointed.

If you’d like to make a comment to the Ballard Chamber about dropping the competition, I’d suggest you go to their Facebook page by clicking here

Since you will be deprived of witnessing a 2015 edition of this northwest tradition, I offer a collection of “Great Moments” that will live on YouTube forever.

 Here are the finals of the 2009 contest

Who could forget the father and son finale` of 2010?

2011 was a fun year

There was the 2012 return of a past champion

 I’m just not sure I want to be part of a codless society.

 

“Oh, somewhere down in Ballard, yes, the sun is shining bright;

A band is playing somewhere, while some folks drink Bud Light

And one less cod will soak in lye, no need for fans to shout,

There is no joy in Ballard. The mighty lutefisk is out.”

Lutefisk eater

Tim Hunter