Daily news blog for Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood

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Goddess Festival fills Meridian Park

Posted by Kate Bergman on August 15th, 2011

By Christy Wolyniak

Although few masks were seen, Wallingfordians and friends shifted through Meridian Playground to enjoy local food, art, and craft vendors in support of 13 nonprofits.

Comedy groups and musicians interchanged between three stages, while others hula-hooped, played a game of volleyball, slack-lined, or were busy getting a feather in their hair or face painted. ‘Buckateers’ walked throughout the park with buckets or baskets asking for donations.

“I love Seattle [for this reason]. There’s a family thing going on; both kids and adults are here. [The atmosphere] is really relaxing. Everyone is chilling in the park and everyone is so nice,” said Scarlette Vesper, Peddling Gypsies crafter of handmade silks and feather accessories.

Hitchhiked from Pennsylvania, Elias Scalise found new friends at the Goddess Festival. Scalise used his drawing skills to draw portraits of vendors in exchange for their craft. He planned to feather his hair and get his face painted as he worked on his first portrait.

“It’s time for a festival of this caliber to be on the north end of Seattle,” said Casey Cassinelli, who dressed in full toga apparel as Hermaphrodites, attracting picture opportunities from festival-goers.

Not every Wallingfordian felt compelled to dress in tribal garb, but the ones who did added a unique vibe to the festival.

“I would say about two thirds [of people] threw on t-shirts and came out, while one third dressed up and [are doing] their own thing,” said Wallingford resident, Jake Were.

Three young boys with painted warrior faces practiced their Oom Yung Doe on the sidewalk, a martial arts and self-defense art. For a decorated Dillon Ballesteros, the face paint booth was the most fun.

“There’s a good variety of music here and it’s free which gives a really good feeling,” said Oom Yung Doe instructor, Greg Martin.

Electric guitar prickled through the park from the Hecate stage while smooth jazz by Ari Joshua & Friends serenaded an audience at the Aradia stage.

“I expected to see more goddesses on stage,” said Wallingfordian, Eimear O’Neill. “But I love seeing the park being used for community purposes.”

A few ‘goddesses’ were spotted playing volleyball, while other festival-goers danced to music.

“[This event] empowered everyone [and brought out] the goddess in each and every one of us,” said Nancy Shuttleworth, sister-in-law of Tara Shuttleworth. “[Raising money for nonprofits was] my dream, and it still is my dream, but for this year, the festival helped benefit 13 nonprofits by getting their name out there. They received promotion from The Stranger, 300 posters were distributed, and 3,000 handbills were handed out,” said Shuttleworth. She hopes to scale back next year in order to effectively benefit nonprofits.

The day of festivities ended with a full moon ceremony with Rev. Judith Laxer of Gaia’s Temple as fluid notes from the Haiku-Chi band lifted Wallingford in a community of celebration.

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  • Gaminggirlnews

    So. A: The festival hardly filled the park. It was a wasteland of emptiness when we went and from what I've heard from others who went, most of the day it was like hearing crickets. B: The variety of music was non-existant. It was all loud, every musician WE saw on three stages at once was a guy (at a goddess festival no less). Most of it sounded like metal and all of it was TOO LOUD. Just ask the neighbors, who have been complaining non-stop from what we can read online. One of the stages only had one person as the audience when we were there in the middle of the day. The other had like four people. The most populated had maybe a dozen. There was what, one and half food vendors? Seriously, this was the lamest, most sad, most underwhelming, sparsely attended festival I have ever been to in my life. And she hopes to “scale back next year” on the promotion? And what dream world was this writer living in writing about this like it was some huge, roaring “fill the park” success? If we want more 'festivals of this caliber' in Wallingford, we could probably get a couple of five-year-olds to plan some for us pretty easily.

  • BurkeStreet

    I am afraid Gaminggirl  has it right.  We stopped in twice on various neighborhood errands and there was hardly anyone there.  I saw the posters around the 'hood and read about it in the local blogs and was there twice during the event and STILL dont know what the point was supposed to be.  That could be a bit of the problem right there.  And while I appreciate the writer's enthusiasm and neighborhood boosterism, the result isn't exactly journalism…

  • Chris

    Did I go to the same event Christy did?