With a bevy of craft distilleries, urban farms, and top-notch bakeries popping up everywhere, Seattle has become a bona fide foodie heaven. And the hub of Pacific Northwest gastronomy is arguably Seattle’s beloved Pike Place Market, which will host the Arcade Lights Tasting Festival this Friday, April 25. The annual after-hours tasting extravaganza is quickly becoming a must-attend event
Kelly Lindsay, the director of programs and marketing at Pike Place, wrote in last year’s press release “the camaraderie among artisans and their customers is often what keeps relationships going and market goers coming back. Arcade Lights allows Seattleites—many of whom have their favorite neighborhood farmers market—to meet, mingle and taste products from other local artisans they might not be familiar with.”
In keeping with the market’s “Meet the Producer” tradition (established in 1908, a year after the market opened), Arcade Lights routinely draws an interested Seattle crowd for a night of food and drink.
The Friday festival will feature artisan food, craft beer and wine from over 60 local purveyors.
One such vendor will be the Pike Brewing Company, a local brewery that has a long relationship with the world-renowned market. Originally located under the market itself, Pike Brewing Co. has become one of Seattle’s most prolific local breweries.
Since it opened in 1989, the brewery has been committed to crafting quality beer. According to their published history, “from the beginning the goal was to brew world class ale to accompany great food.”
Another vendor will be Jonboy Caramels, a relatively new Seattle sweetshop quickly gathering attention with its distinctive product. According to Edible Seattle, the buttery caramels pack “intense flavor,” being “totally sophisticated while feeling very sweet and simple.”
Until only May of last year, all of Jonboy’s candies were hand wrapped by employee Carson Ferguson. However, with the acquisition of a 45-year-old English-made machine capable of wrapping over 28,000 candies a day, Jonboy’s is able to provide the region with an even greater quantity of their buttery caramels, in flavors ranging from traditional fleur de sel to an (utterly delicious) absinthe with black salt.
“Seattle is the perfect place for this type of product,” said Jason Alm, business partner of owner Jonathan “Jonboy” Sue. “In many places, the caramels would melt in the summer and be too hard in the winter.”
The small business is already benefiting from the developed customer base of Seattle’s artisanal market. According to an article on Jonboy Caramels in Seattle Weekly, “Farmers markets help both with ideas from customers and the company they provide.”
Also participating in the event will be Piroshky Piroshky Bakery, a Pike Place classic for over two decades. Blending traditional Russian baking techniques and Pacific Northwest taste, the small bakery offers an array of piroshky “from savory to sweet.”
Owner Oliver Kotelnikov says of his best selling item, “It’s always a different item that sells well everyday. They hear or see someone eat something and other people start buying it, and that becomes the best seller that day. It’s just the whims of the [customer].”
“I think it sounds like a lovely event,” said Seattle U freshman Rachel Wong. “I like that Seattle has so many local producers and artisans, and having a night dedicated to that seems like it would be a lot of fun.”
Arcade Lights is likely to draw a large and hungry crowd to Pike Place on April 25. Entry fee includes 10 tokens redeemable for food and beverages as well as a keepsake tasting glass. Additional tokens will be available for purchase at the event.
Arcade Lights takes place at Pike Place Market on Friday, April 25. Tickets are available online for $33 in advance and $40 at the door.