All Fired Up in Pioneer Square for the Annual Fire Festival

This super hot fest celebrates the history of Seattle’s oldest neighborhood
Posted August 13, 2014

The annual Pioneer Square Fire Festival returns to Occidental Square Park August 16-17 to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Great Seattle Fire that happened on June 6, 1889. On that infamous day of the most destructive fire in the city’s history, a combustible pot of glue destroyed some 64 acres of the Central Business District despite the volunteer firefighters’ efforts, who needed more than the privately owned water mains available to save the wooden buildings.

It’s hard to imagine this fiery demolition actually happened when you’re standing in Seattle’s most historic district, but for one weekend the influx of regional firefighters and antique fire trucks will bring the catastrophe that allowed Pioneer Square to rebuild its identity (this time in stone and brick, of course) to top of mind.

What’s in the cards at this year’s hot fest? Settle in to watch the Scott Safety Firefighter Challenge, an X-Games of sort for the firefighting community that has regularly drawn thousands on each day of the event and demands feats of bravado and skill from participating firefighters in the form of climbing a five-story tower in full gear or rescuing a life-size 175-pound victim in a race against the clock. There is even a modified Kid’s Firefighter Challenge for plenty of family-friendly fun. Turns out you don’t have to be a pyro to appreciate this fire-themed occasion. (8/16-8/17, S Main St & Occidental Ave S, 206.623.0340,