Editor’s note: Given the persistently high COVID-19 case count, COVID protocols and other details for events are subject to change. Please check your event’s website for COVID requirements and the latest information, and heed local health authorities’ safety recommendations as they’re updated.

What’s Happening Sept. 24-30

If you were to shrink Italy and all of its culture, food and music into a 74-acre campus, you would end up with the Italian Festival at Seattle Center. This celebration of all things Italy runs Saturday and Sunday at Seattle Center.

With multiple wine gardens, live music, cooking demonstrations, bocce (lawn bowling) and more, the Italian Festival has brought the essence of Italian culture and life to Seattle since its inception in 1988. It began “as a way to celebrate the quincentennial of Christopher Columbus arriving on the shores of America in 1492. Five hundred years later, there was going to be a big celebration in 1992, and they designed this festival to show off Italian art and artifacts,” said Dennis Caldirola, director of Festa Italiana, the nonprofit organization that produces the Italian Festival.

The original producers of the festival — Pagliacci Pizza founder Dorene Centioli-McTigue and Patricia DeLaurenti of DeLaurenti Food & Wine in Pike Place Market — didn’t want the festival to end at the quincentennial celebration, Caldirola said.

“Back in the days when ‘Garlic Gulch’ existed down in the Rainier Valley, Italians were pretty darn predominant in a lot of activity, but mostly food. They were excited about all of this celebration, and there are a lot of Italian American organizations that said, ‘For most of our history here in Seattle, we’ve all fought with one another. For the first time, we actually all came together to do something for the community as a whole.’ And they wanted to continue it,” he said.

That was 29 years ago, and now the Italian Festival attracts over 20,000 people each year to Seattle Center. The festival will be the first this year in Seattle Center’s Festál series (a summerlong series celebrating ethnic diversity and culture) to take place in person and it includes: outdoor cooking demonstrations from local Italian chefs; Italian music on the Moretti Mainstage and in the wine gardens; a grape-stomping competition (just like you see in the movies!); a bocce tournament (including a masters and recreational division); an Italian dog show; an Italian car show; an art show; a historical photo exhibit on Seattle’s earliest Italians; Italian vendors; and, of course, Italian food and wine.


“The dog show is back, and it’s going to be as big as it’s ever been,” Caldirola said, adding that there will be Sicilian sight hounds, Italian greyhounds, Lagotto Romagnolo, Spinone, Bracco Italiano and Cane Corso breeds for attendees to view and even pet.

The car show will feature “Ferraris, Maseratis, Ducati motorcycles, Alfa Romeos — they’re always there, they come in great numbers,” Caldirola said.

The festival is taking COVID-19 precautions and asking those who are not seated and eating or drinking, actively playing bocce or participating in the grape stomp to wear a mask. There will be no samples at the cooking demonstrations and vendor booths will be spread out to make room for social distancing.

Caldirola said with the event’s virtual format last year, the Italian community is excited to “invite Seattle back to enjoy some Italian hospitality, hopefully on a nice sunny weekend afternoon, and try and re-create some of that warmth and friendliness and family-oriented fun of years past.”

The Italian Festival will take place Sept. 25 (10 a.m.-9 p.m.) and 26 (10 a.m.-6 p.m.) at the Seattle Center Armory and Fisher Pavilion and Green (305 Harrison St., Seattle). The festival is free. Find more information at: festaseattle.com

What else is happening

Here are some other events happening Sept. 24-30 in the Puget Sound area. If you would like to submit an event for consideration, please fill out the form at the bottom of the post.


University of Puget Sound Jacobsen Series Faculty Recital — Sept. 24

University of Puget Sound presents a faculty recital featuring School of Music professor Maria Sampen (violin) in collaboration with Oxana Ejokina (piano), Eli Chenevert (violin), Timothy Christie (viola) and Alistair MacRae (cello) at 7:30 p.m. Works performed will include Georges Enesco’s Sonata No. 3, Op. 25 (1926), Trevor Weston’s “Juba” for string quartet (2017) and more. Purchase tickets online; $20/general, $15/over 65, military, members and Puget Sound faculty and staff, free/students. 1567-1625 N. Union Ave., Tacoma, 253-879-3100; pugetsound.edu

“Next at Annex!” — Sept. 24-25

“Next at Annex!” is a comedy showcase bringing comics from around the country to Seattle 8-9:30 p.m. Sept. 24 and Sept. 25. The show includes special guests and headliner David Gborie, a comedian, writer and podcaster who has appeared on MTV, Showtime, Viceland and more and was named one of Comedy Central’s top comics to watch in 2015. Purchase tickets online (Sept. 24 and Sept. 25); $22/presale, $28/at the door. 1100 E. Pike St., Seattle; yogipaliwal.com

“Rep 1 — Singularly Cerrudo (IP and V)” — Sept. 24-26

Pacific Northwest Ballet opens its 2021-2022 season online (streaming Oct. 7-11) and in-person with “Rep 1 — Singularly Cerrudo (IP and V)” Sept. 24 (7 p.m.), Sept. 25 (2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.) and Sept. 26 (1 p.m.). The opening weekend features work from PNB’s resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo in “Silent Ghost,” “One Thousand Pieces” and “Little moral jump.” Purchase tickets online; prices vary based on subscription. 321 Mercer St., Seattle; 206-441-2424; pnb.org

Forest Bathing Walk — Sept. 25

Join UW Botanic Gardens and Cascadia Forest Therapy for a unique forest bathing opportunity 10-11:30 a.m. in the Washington Park Arboretum. This practice encourages participants to walk in the forest at a slower pace to take in the atmosphere around them. The walk will generally cover less than a mile of trail. Register online; $25. 2300 Arboretum Drive E., Seattle; 206-543-8616; botanicgardens.uw.edu

DjangoFest NW — through Sept. 26

This gypsy jazz showcase invites attendees to enjoy both live performances and workshops by the performing artists themselves at various times Sept. 24, 25 and 26 (the festival began on Sept. 22). The workshops include “How to learn a new tune” and “Gypsy guitar setup 101” among performances by Trio Dinicu, The Samuel Farthing Sextet and more. Purchase tickets online; $40-$60/all seats, $290/full series pass. 565 Camano Ave., Langley; 360-221-8268; djangofest.com

Guided Nature Walk | The Great Seattle Fault and the Geology of Seward Park — Sept. 26

Seward Park Audubon hosts this “Guided Nature Walk” featuring the Seattle Fault from 1-3 p.m. Lead naturalist Ed Dominguez guides participants to examine the nature of the Seattle Fault zone and its impact on Seward Park. From uplifted scarps to ghost forests, the geological consequences of the fault in Seattle will be explored. Register online; free. 5902 Lake Washington Blvd. S., Seattle; 206-652-2444; sewardpark.audubon.org


“amber” — through Sept. 27

Join Washington Ensemble Theatre for “amber,” a journey through the disco era presented as a generative sensory installation Sept. 24 (1-5 p.m. and 6-10 p.m.), Sept. 25 (1-5 p.m. and 6-10 p.m.), Sept. 26 (1-5 p.m.) and Sept. 27 (4-8 p.m.). Small groups will explore a series of immersive spaces in the 30-minute multimedia experience including lights and sounds to revisit an era from the past. Purchase tickets online; $10. 1620 12th Ave., Seattle; 206-325-5105; washingtonensemble.org

“The Future is Green” — Sept. 28

King County Library System hosts an online class showcasing the different green technologies that allow pulling water out of the air, electricity from the sun or even heat from vegetables 6:30-7:30 p.m. Key Tech Labs will teach participants about an air-to-water generator, solar panels and solar storage, vertical gardens, rainwater harvesting and even how to grow vegetables in your own living room. Register online; free. kcls.org

Pride Speaks: LGBTQIA+ College Student Leaders — Sept. 29

Seattle Pride presents LGBTQIA+ college student leaders 7-9 p.m. in “Pride Speaks,” a series of community conversations with expert panelists and speakers on topics of interest to the LGBTQIA+ community and beyond. This event will focus on college student leaders with panelists from Seattle Central College, a U.S. military veteran and more. Register online; free. seattlepride.org

Gallery Talk: Among Forests and Lakes — Sept. 30

Join Leslie Anne Anderson, Nordic Museum’s director of collections, exhibitions and programs, and explore “Among Forests and Lakes: Landscape Masterpieces from the Finnish National Gallery” 2-3 p.m. This exhibition examines how Finnish artists have depicted the landscape of their native country from the 1850s to the present day. There are over 50 paintings and prints that depict over 800 miles and more than 150 years drawn from Ateneum Art Museum (one of the three museums that form the Finnish National Gallery). Register online; free. 2655 N.W. Market St., Seattle; 206-789-5707; nordicmuseum.org