What’s Happening Sept. 30-Oct. 6

Only one year after Elysian Brewing opened its Capitol Hill doors in 1996, Night Owl, perhaps the most famed fall beer, emerged from the shadows of the night to bring pumpkin ale to autumn-lovers everywhere.

This beer is the very brew that inspired the Great Pumpkin Beer Festival, a now 18-year Elysian tradition which grew from Elysian co-founders Joe Bisacca, Dave Buhler and Dick Cantwell’s desire to create their own fall-themed beer festival that differed from Oktoberfest.

“We were not too jazzed about Oktoberfest,” Bisacca admitted. Märzen, the typical beer found at Oktoberfest festivals, is “kind of syrupy, they’re a little sweet, they’re a little weird — everybody’s doing them, so we wanted to do our own thing.”

When brainstorming the Great Pumpkin Beer Festival, then-assistant Markus Stinson pulled an idea from tales of long ago to draw inspiration for Elysian’s new festival: “When the Pilgrims landed and ran out of beer, they didn’t have barley. They were trying to ferment with whatever they had on hand, and they had a lot of squashes and gourds, which are fermentable themselves. So, we were thinking pumpkin,” Bisacca explained.

With a recipe for Night Owl brewed by Stinson himself, followed by two other pumpkin beers brewed shortly after, “the three of us were kind of sitting around going, ‘We got these three pumpkin beers, what are we gonna do? Let’s throw a party, right?’ ” Bisacca said.

Thus, the Great Pumpkin Beer Festival was born in 2005. This year, the event will be presented by The Vera Project and sponsored by Elysian Brewing, and all proceeds will be donated to The Vera Project.


The Great Pumpkin Beer Festival is unlike other beer festivals where “you walk around and stand in line to get a couple of beers,” Bisacca said.

The main attraction is a several-hundred-pound pumpkin that will be scooped, scorched, filled with pumpkin beer, sealed, conditioned and then tapped for attendees to enjoy. The largest pumpkin ever filled at the Great Pumpkin Beer Festival weighed in at 1,810 pounds.

The festival also includes costume contests, more than 80 pumpkin brews, seasonal brews, fresh hop brews and ciders (there may even been beer slushies and pumpkin sodas!), food trucks, music from KEXP DJs and even fun surprises.

The Great Pumpkin Beer Festival takes place 4-10 p.m. Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at Seattle Center (305 Harrison St., Seattle) for ages over 21. Although the event is currently sold out, find more information and stay up to date for next year at theveraproject.org/greatpumpkin.

What else is happening

Here are some other events happening Sept. 30-Oct. 6 in the Puget Sound area. If you would like to submit an event for consideration, please email your event details to weekend@seattletimes.com.

Orcas Island Farm Tours — Sept. 30-Oct. 2

Enjoy family-friendly activities, educational tours, delicious farm-to-table meals, wine, cider and spirit tastings, farm animals and more. Prices vary. Location varies; 360-378-9551; visitsanjuans.com/savor


Cheasty Mountain Bike Trails Celebration — Oct. 1

Seattle Parks and Recreation, Friends of Cheasty Greenspace at Mountain View, Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and the Seattle Parks Foundation invite the community to celebrate phase one of the new Cheasty Mountain Bike and Pedestrian Trails 10 a.m.-noon. The celebratory event will be held on Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day with a ribbon cutting, trail tours and BikeWorks on site providing bike repair services. Free. 4400 Cheasty Blvd. S., Seattle; 206-684-4075; seattle.gov

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Kirkland Urban — Oct. 1

Join Kirkland Urban for the second annual family-friendly fiesta celebrating Fiestas Patrias (a celebration of the contributions and culture of Hispanic and Latin Americans) 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The celebration will include artifacts in partnership with Sea Mar Museum, food, educational activities, dance performances, a live DJ and more. Free. 425 Urban Plaza, Kirkland; kirklandurban.com

U District $4 Food Walk and Street Party — Oct. 1

Explore culinary destinations throughout the University District with $4 bites at more than 50 participating businesses 11 a.m.-6 p.m., plus stick around for a street party featuring an after-hours menu of $4 drinks and cocktails 6-10 p.m. There also will be live music and entertainment all day long on the Xfinity Main Stage. Location varies; udistrictseattle.com

2022 Northwest Orchid Society Fall Show & Sale — Oct. 1-2

The Northwest Orchid Society presents its 2022 Fall Orchid Show and Sale 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 1-2 in the Volunteer Park Conservatory. Enjoy a showcase of orchid displays by orchid societies throughout the Pacific Northwest and orchid vendors. There also will be a sales and repotting service area directly behind the main conservatory. $4. 1400 East Galer St., Seattle; nwos.org

Wizard Express Train Event — Oct. 1-2

Experience magic, mystery and managed mischief on the School of Wizardry Express featuring award-winning magician Headmaster Jeff Evans. Get in the spirit and be part of the atmosphere by wearing your cloak, wizard hat and any supporting costume attire. Snacks will be available for purchase. Shows take place at the Chehalis Centralia Railroad Depot. Purchase tickets online; $30. 1101 S.W. Sylvenus St., Chehalis; 360-748-9593; steamtrainride.com

The Seattle Film Festival 2022 — Oct. 1-2

Enjoy films by Seattle-area, national and international filmmakers, actors, writers and producers in the historical Grand Illusion Cinema and online. Purchase tickets online; prices vary. 1403 N.E. 50th St., Seattle; 206-523-3935; grandillusioncinema.org


Chair Yoga for All Ages — Oct. 5

King County Library System presents an online class with instructor Rachel Stagnaro 7-7:45 p.m. Stagnaro will lead this gentle yoga practice in which postures and breathwork are performed while seated and with the aid of a chair. Register online; free. kcls.org

Fall Ravioli from Scratch — Oct. 6

Join PCC and instructor Paola Albanesi for a lively class as you make a staple of Italian home-cooked meals 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Participants will learn how to make ravioli alla zucca, little pillows of butternut squash, almonds, spices and Parmigiano paired with a luscious sauce of butter and sage. To finish, learn how easy it is to make elegant red wine-poached pears served with a scoop of vanilla gelato. Register online; $80. 11615 N.E. Fourth St., Bellevue; 206-545-7112; pccmarkets.com

BrickCon — Oct. 1-2

BrickCon returns for its 21st annual Lego fan convention and public exhibition at Seattle Center. The convention features hundreds of Lego displays and Lego-related vendors in the Brick Bazaar. Purchase tickets online; $16. 305 Harrison St., Seattle; brickcon.org

Peonies — Oct. 6

Bellevue Botanical Garden hosts an online class taught by Kit Haesloop to explore peonies 7-8:30 p.m. Learn how to have several months of blooms by overlapping peony types, and find out why your peonies stopped blooming or never bloomed. Haesloop will also demonstrate how to plant and divide them. Register online; $15/general public, $10.50/members. bellevuebotanical.org