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Giggles, Guffaws, Awe-inspiring Acrobatics: The Moisture Festival

trapeze-crppedWhile the rewards for getting through the long haul of winter are spring colors and an occasional tease of blue sky, living in the Northwest teaches us to expect no real sunshine until July 5. We live in a wet, drippy, cloud-covered place and most of us need a little pick-me-up come March and April. Wring out your sodden boot-liners, there is a antidote: the Moisture Festival.

I'm sure that's what the creators of the festival had in mind 10 years ago when they p resented the first Moisture Festival in a tent in Fremont. The festival started as a five- day event and has bloomed into a four-week showcase for local and far-flung performers of everything from aerobatics to slapstick comedy, tap dancing to harmonica playing. And juggling, don't forget the juggling.

What makes it so much fun is that as each act comes out on stage you have no idea what you're about to see. I was struck, multiple times during the evening I attended, at how dedicated these performers are to their craft. You don't just fool around in your basement on weekends to get that good at say, swirling 15 hula hoops while gracefully striking a ballet-worthy pose, one-footed and spine-twisted. Or manage to tell a love story that is somehow graceful and touching using no words and wearing inflatable suits.

I fall in a little more in love with Seattle and the people who live here ever time I see a show at Hale's Palladium. There were babes in arm, sweet tutu-clad toddlers and pink-cheeked boys in cable knit sweaters all mingling with 20 somethings, elderly couples, and the rest of us -- slightly damp pacific northwesterners soaking up a bit of brightness and sipping beers. This is the good stuff in life.

Ages and stages

The comedy/varietè and burlesque shows run through April 14. The events take place in three locations — in Fremont at Hale’s Palladium, at the Broadway Performance Hall on Capitol Hill and at the SIFF Cinema at the Uptown on Queen Anne.

The 3 p.m. matinees and the 7:30 p.m. evening shows are intended as all-ages appropriate. Just understand that the acts are different for each show (check the calendar for a full list of performers per show) and the performers may have a differing viewpoint on what constitutes "appropriate".

The night I attended was nothing but giggles, guffaws and awe-inspiring acrobatics — all completely appropriate and kid-friendly.

If you go ...

What and when: Comedy/varietè shows are Wednesday–Friday, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 3 and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $10-$22; buy at

Tips: Most importantly — bring cash. That delicious Hale's beer and the snacks (my hotdog was a little too drippy, but super yummy) are cash only and the closest cash machine is across the street at Fred Meyer.

emily-smith-croppedAbout the author: Emily Metcalfe Smith lives and writes in Edmonds, WA and feels the need to speak up about a troubling dilemma she faced while attending the Moisture Festival. She poses this question in hopes that others will benefit from her ordeal. How does one clap while holding a beer?

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