(click to enlarge photo)
The first Downtown Seattle Spring Festival of Fun was promoted mid-march in 1964. It was another try at adding some zing to a city who felt deprived of it since its Century 21 left it a Seattle Center in the fall of 1962 but not yet much to use it for. As the southern terminus of the Worlds Fair’s Marvelous Monorail, the Westlake Mall was also developing into another and smaller Seattle center. The Ides of March – the next day, March the 15th – was designated the festival’s Waterfront Day. Joe James manager of Ye Old Curiosity Shop was the chairman. Ted Griffin, the manager of the marine Aquarium at Pier 56, which had done well during Century 21, two years later was struggling to draw visitors. Days before the March fun Griffin announced his plans to stage an octopus wrestling match at his aquarium. Every Old Settler understood that Griffin’s promotion was inspired by the “Great Rassel of 1947” when Ivar Haglund brought out from the east the pugilist Two Ton Tony to take on Oscar, the star octopus at Ivar’s Pier 54 Aquarium. Griffin’s bout did not make such a splash, but his great celebrity was less than a year away when he captured and put on show at his far end of the pier the killer whale Namu. For Ivar’s part in the ’64 Festival he arranged the musical accompaniment for the Ide’s Waterfront Day with Pep Perry’s Fire House Five Plus Two playing for the open house at the new fire station, which still stands at the foot of Madison Street, and next door to Ivar’s Acres of Clams.