In June the Pioneer Square Fire Festival (206/622-6235) recalls Seattle’s  Great Fire of 1889 (any excuse for a party, right?) with free activities in the park, a parade of classic firefighting equipment, contests, and entertainment.
In late June, the funky "Republic of Fremont " holds the Summer Solstice Parade and Fair (206/547-7440, www.fremontfair.com ) with booths, live music, ethnic food and drink, and assorted street performers and residents from the fringe. These are not your standard productions, but instead visual and performance works from new artists that push the envelope. The events could be bizarre, disconcerting, funny, psychedelic, and haunting all at the same time. A handful of nude participants are always there for a bit of spice.
Seattle’s  biggest fair of the year, Seafair (206/728-0123, www.seafair.com ) starts on the 4th of July and packs in a month of crafts, more than a dozen parades, along with triathlons, ethnic festivals, live music, a milk-carton boat race, ship tours, and demonstrations by the Navy’s Blue Angels, culminating in the unlimited General Motors Cup Hydroplane Races on Lake Washington in early August.
Held over the whole month of July, Seafair is the annual celebration of all things Seattle. Events include a marathon, a triathlon, a fun run, hydroplane races, fireworks, and a traditional performance by the Air Force’s precision flyers, the Blue Angels.
The festival begins with the Seafair Pirate’s Landing, in which many city leaders, dressed as pirates and acting the role to the hilt, “sack” Seattle and are handed the keys to the city by the mayor. The fair’s centerpiece is the signature Torchlight Parade, held at the end of the month.
This long-running event brings upwards of 300,000 onlookers to watch the clowning pirates as well as local drill teams, equestrians, floats, and bands as they march through the streets of downtown. Most events are extremely family friendly and do a fantastic job of conveying the flavor of this unique city.
The 4th of July brings twin fireworks displays, one on Lake Union  and the other at Myrtle Edwards Park on Elliott Bay. The latter—called 4th of Jul-Ivar’s (206/587-6500, www.ivarsrestaurants.com )—is sponsored by Ivar’s Acre of Clams and is said to be one of the largest in America. It also features food booths and entertainment, plus a fly-over of antique and modern aircraft.
Also in early July, the Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival (206/382-2628, www.cwb.org ) takes place at the south end of Lake Union, where you'll see some of the most beautiful boats on Puget Sound.
In mid-July the Bite of Seattle (206/232-2982, www.biteofseattle.com ) comes to Seattle Center , giving more than 60 fine restaurants an opportunity to show their products. It attracts nearly a half-million participants in three days!
Across the way in Ballard , Seafoodfest (206/784-9705, www.ballardchamber.com ) arrives in late July, with a street festival, salmon barbecue, food and crafts booths, beer garden, and children’s games.
One of the more unusual events is the Bubble Festival (206/443-2001, www.pacsci.org ) held in mid-August at the Pacific Science Center . Professional bubble blowers create bubbles in every imaginable shape.
A Labor Day weekend arts extravaganza, Bumbershoot (206/281-7788, www.bumbershoot.org ) brings together top-billed musicians, writers, and craftspeople for a huge end-of-summer blowout at Seattle Center . Bumbershoot attracts more than a quarter million visitors annually and features internationally known musicians, along with local talents. All told, more than 2,500 artists perform! Find the full schedule at bumbershoot.org/lineup, available in the spring prior to the festival.