Chocolate lovers unite at the Northwest Chocolate Festival, an annual event dedicated not just to eating chocolate in its many forms, but to tracking its journey from cacao bean to confection. Visitors hone their expertise through seminars on trade equity and cacao farming, chocolate-making workshops led by confectioners, and tastings where palates learn to distinguish between milk chocolate and a chocolate bar clumsily forced inside a milk jug. A portion of the proceeds from the event benefits local nonprofits aligned with the festival’s mission. Recipients are announced yearly.
The SIFF Cinema team scours the globe in search of extraordinary films. Their mission is to bring the community—and the world—together through quality international showings, and they host premieres, classic films, and revivals at the SIFF Cinema Uptown and the SIFF Film Center 365 days each year.
As one of the largest and best-attended film festivals in the U.S., the Seattle International Film Festival reaches more than 150,000 moviegoers each year. The 25-day festival presents more than 250 features and 150 short films from more than 70 countries during its run, giving people a perfect excuse to try out an all-popcorn diet.
A gypsy rides through the crowd while standing upon two horses. Behind him follow more members of his troupe, who do back flips off their steeds and then regale spectators with fire breathing and juggling. Performed by the seventh-generation acrobats of Cavallo Equestrian Arts, this spectacle—called Ma'Ceo—often draws standing-room-only crowds every day during the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire. It's these kinds of glimpses into the Elizabethan era that fulfill the mission of bringing renaissance Europe to life. Turning the Kelley Farm into the Village of Merriwick, entertainers of all types, from courtiers to peasants, engage fairgoers with a range of acts. Flanked by her entourage, Queen Elizabeth travels through the streets, perhaps on her way to watch the jousters compete for her phone number, or perhaps to watch sprightly performers such as the Celtic fiddlers or the commedia troupe. Merchants peddle wares to passersby, talking up goods such as hand-forged weapons and armor, hand-tooled leather goods, and roasted turkey legs. Camel rides and bubble-filled buckets cater to kids, and adults can duck into two alehouses where quick-witted wenches pour draft microbrews and ciders. For guests who want to spend the whole weekend immersed in the renaissance festivities, organizers reserve a section of the grounds for tent and RV camping.
Big cities have a wealth of entertainment, but the options can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Luckily, the founders of Festivals Inc. have established several events that gather the Seattle region’s diverse food, drink, and music all in one place. Their flagship shindig, Groupon Bite of Seattle, attracts over 400,000 people with healthy appetites to try cuisine from more than 60 eateries alongside craft beers and live bands. During the fall, Oktoberfest Northwest celebrates the German beer festival, while the Taste of Tacoma rings in the last weekend of June with culinary offerings from its titular city.
The staff at Rotary First Harvest have a single mission: to help end hunger within the Washington community by making fresh fruits and vegetables available to those in need. Its methods for carrying out this vision, however, are quite numerous and innovative. In addition to connecting a network of farmers, truckers, and volunteers, the workers organize corporate volunteering days and seasonal events such as gardening workshops in the summer and a Harvest Hoedown in the autumn.
At each of several one-day festivals held throughout the country, thousands of revelers unite in an epic clash of pulp, beer, and live music. Armed with a cache of 300,000 tomatoes, participants don protective bathing suits and goggles and hurl the fruit at one another during a two-hour battle. Throughout the afternoon, live music and costume contests offer an entertaining respite from the front lines, as bartenders dispense drafts of beer to attendees older than 21, refueling soldiers' morale before they resign to writing goodbye letters to their produce vendors back home. All tomatoes used during the event are past ripe and already fated for disposal, making the battle an efficient means of tossing them before their cursed transformation into singing Muppets.