North City Jazz Walk - the best party in town

Monday, August 20, 2012

Families fill the street, with kids on roller blades,
bicycles, in strollers, and on dad's shoulders.
Photo by Steven H. Robinson
By Diane Hettrick

On a warm evening after one of our rare, hot days, 15th NE in the heart of the North City business district was blocked off from 175th NE to 185 NE, and for almost four hours on August 14, 2012, became a huge street party for the North City Jazz Walk.

A full house for the Jazz Camp performance
Photo by Jerry Pickard
Perhaps photographer Marc Weinberg said it best, "The night was about fun, family and enjoying the summer evening together.  Something we need to celebrate given the ongoing news of drought, fires, shootings, political clashes and community violence."

Or maybe it was our news partner Parent Map that got it right when they advised their readers that this was a wonderful, free family event.

Faculty and students from Jazz Camp
Photo by Marc Weinberg
The Jazz aficionados had something to say, too, "An entire Jazz Festival in one evening, for the price of less than one ticket to a concert."

It really was two parties in one - the street festival and the jazz clubs. On the street, families walked up and down with babies in strollers and backpacks and dogs on leashes. Three stages were outdoors and open to all to sit and listen, dance, or just stroll by. There was even an outdoor beer garden run by a Rotary group, next to an outdoor stage.

David Moe of Richmond Beach
breaks into a spontaneous dance
Photo by Marc Weinberg
Kids on bicycles rode through the crowd, as did the Shoreline police bicycle patrol. Spontaneous dancing broke out. There were quick dance lessons by the Phoenix Restoration site.

Leena's Cafe moved to the street
Photo by Jerry Pickard
There was food everywhere. Restaurants located on the route moved outside to sell "jazz bites" - small portions at reduced prices. The pizza place sold whole pizzas and stayed open late.

Shear Jazz at Laughing Ladies
with event organizer Keith McClellan on keyboard
Photo by Steven H. Robinson
In the "clubs" jazz groups played and patrons could show their bracelets to go in, sit down and buy a drink while they listened. These venues became even more important as the evening went on and the temperature dropped.

Eagle's Lodge becomes a jazz club for the night
Photo by Jerry Pickard
The "clubs" were businesses along the street that transformed themselves for the evening. The only place that normally has jazz acts and alcohol is the North City Bistro. The others were jazz for the night - the local catholic church, the theatre, the Eagle's lodge.

It was a wonderful, magical evening. If you were there, you know what I mean. If you weren't - well, you'll get another chance next year.


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