King 5 Winterfest is a five-week holiday festival with decorations, children’s entertainers, choirs, an ice rink, lighting ceremony, and New Year’s Eve celebration at Seattle Center (206/684-8582, www.seattlecenter.com).
The last festival of the calendar year is the multi-day Christmas Ships Parade (206/461-5840) a lighted flotilla that cruises Lake Washington in mid-December.
Seattle’s weeklong Mardi Gras celebration in February at Pioneer Square features jazz and Cajun music, arts and crafts, and a parade. Unfortunately, in 2001, drunken rioters (many apparently from local gangs) left one person dead and 70 others injured. Mardi Gras continues to be celebrated annually in Seattle, but it has been much scaled down since then.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition