There are many things that make the Emerald City shine: the stellar food scene; its influence on global innovation and technology; a trailblazing music industry; its leadership position in philanthropy and corporate social responsibility; the collaborative and creative arts community…this list goes on. 

During AFAR Experiences Seattle, you'll be introduced to many of the major influencers and community leaders behind these significant stories and be given an opportunity to engage and connect with them in a meaningful way.  We'll visit local establishments and iconic venues: some that have put Seattle on the map, while others are less on the radar but equally inspiring and important in the story of the city. * All program details and times subject to change.


Friday March 7th

5pm – 6:30pm

Welcome Drinks in the Cascade Suite, Fairmont Olympic Hotel

Meet the AFAR team and fellow attendees for a casual welcome drink to kick off our weekend adventure. After a few opening remarks, we’ll depart together for a short walk to our opening night party.


Departure from the Fairmont hotel lobby

7pm – 10pm

Opening Night Foodie Party at Pike Place Market

Seattle’s food and drink scene is on fire, and tonight we celebrate Pacific Northwestern cuisine with Renee Erickson, one of the hottest chefs in town. Special guests include local purveyors and industry experts who will sample some of the area’s most notable delicacies. We’ll also hear from Peter Steinbrueck, an architect and policy maker whose passion for the market runs deep.

Saturday March 8th


Departure from the Fairmont hotel lobby

9am – 11am

Speaker Talk: The Seattle Story at MOHAI (Museum of History and Industry)

Margaret O’Mara, historian and professor at the University of Washington, shares her insight into Seattle’s history, sense of place and the role it plays in the remarkable world of innovation and creative collaboration. MOHAI’s executive director, Leonard Garfield, will provide an overview of the museum and its phenomenal exhibits.

11:30am – 1:30pm

Meet the Makers

Seattle Met Magazine’s Style Editor extraordinaire, Laura Sullivan Cassidy, introduces us to some of the city’s most creative designers, stylists and makers in this unique pop-up shopping experience at Love City Love, a contemporary space in the trendy Capitol Hill neighborhood. Lunch provided.

2pm – 4:30pm

Breakout Activities, various locations

This is our chance to visit up close and personal with local Seattleites. We’ll dig deeper and engage in fascinating and meaningful conversations about their respective projects and passions. Click Here for Breakout Activity Descriptions

5 pm – 7pm

Free Time



Departure from the Fairmont hotel lobby

7:30pm – 11pm

Final Night Music Party at EMP Museum

Tonight, we dance! Prepare for an evening of live music and entertainment in an environment of epic proportions. The EMP Museum is a Seattle landmark, a shrine to Jimi Hendrix and a music lover’s fantasy come true. Eat, drink, party!

Sunday March 9TH


Departure from the Fairmont hotel lobby

10am – 11:30am

Speaker Session: The Buzz of a Great City

Seattle boasts the greatest coffee consumption levels of any American city, and is a world center for roasting and supply chain management. We'll talk about this unique coffee culture with Daniel Shewmaker from Caffe Vita, followed by a thought-provoking discussion with Dominic Holden about Washington State's recent legislation to legalize marijuana: Seattle wasn't always a pot-friendly town, so how did it get to the vanguard of legalization? Hear more about the activists and lawmakers who influenced this cultural shift.

12pm – 2pm

Speaker Session and Farewell Luncheon

City Arts Magazine editor-in-chief, Leah Baltus, will enlighten us to the incredibly rich arts and culture scene in Seattle as we dine at the top of Seattle’s historic Smith Tower. Meet artists, writers, choreographers, and other fascinating locals from the arts and culture scene – including the most envied apartment dweller in town, Petra Franklin - as we soak up sensational views from high in the sky.

2pm onwards

Guest departures

Featured Locals

  • Original leah baltus.jpg?1503018431?ixlib=rails 0.3

    Leah Baltus

    Leah Baltus is editor in chief of City Arts, a monthly magazine dedicated to creative life in the Seattle area. She previously founded and edited RIVET magazine, co-founded an arts services nonprofit called Shunpike, and led the brand and editorial wing of Pyramid Communications, where she worked with many of the region’s leading arts organizations. She hails from Detroit, and studied journalism and creative writing at Northwestern University.

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    Laura Cassidy

    Laura Cassidy has been telling people where to go and what to buy for 15 years. Following seven years at the city's leading alternative weekly, she joined Seattle Met magazine in 2006. Currently the style editor of the monthly publication as well as the editorial director for the parent company's West Coast trio of stylishly oversize biannual wedding magazines (and the editor-in-chief of the Seattle version), she produces photoshoots, covers fashion and shopping news, illustrates trends, and highlights stylish characters all over town in print and online. Over 10,000 subscribers get Shop Talk, the e-newsletter that she her team compile and send out each Tuesday, and fashion show and special event audiences get to know her face-to-face as she and Seattle Met step up to host and sponsor things like Downtown Seattle Rocks the Runway on Fashion's Night Out, EMP Museams's Project Leather, Bellevue Fashion Week's Independent Designer Showcase, Screen Style at Northwest Film Forum, and Product Runway, a fashion contest for interior designers.

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    Erik Chapman

    Erik Chapman is the Head Distiller and Operations Manager for Sun Liquor MFG. With ten years of craft bartending experience, he starting distilling to produce products utilizing organic and sustainable grains and fruit, and has been distilling (legally) since 2010, and fermenting beer and wine for much longer. Since 2006, Sun Liquor Lounge and Distillery has been his main focus, with attention to detail on scratch cocktails, craft distillation, and spirit education.

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    Lisa Cohen

    ELisa Cohen is the Executive Director of the Washington Global Health Alliance (WGHA), a coalition of more than 60 leading global health research, development and civic organizations. Prior to the formation of WGHA, Ms. Cohen spent 25 years as a producer and manager in broadcast news. She serves as Executive Director and Board Chair for the Washington Global Health Fund and on the governance boards of Global to Local, Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association and Literacy Bridge.

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    Langdon Cook

    Langdon Cook is a writer, instructor, and lecturer on wild foods and the outdoors. His books include The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America, winner of the 2014 Pacific Northwest Book Award, and Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager. His writing appears in numerous publications, and he has been profiled in Bon Appetit,, and the PBS TV series Food Forward. Cook lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.

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    Renee Erickson

    Renee Erickson is the chef-owner of Seattle’s Boat Street Café, and Boat Street Pickles, and co-owns The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Whale Wins, Barnacle, and the Narwhal Oyster Truck. Renee worked in the kitchen at Boat Street Cafe while earning her art degree from the University of Washington. In 1998 after a stay in Europe to study art and food, she found herself with the opportunity to buy that very same cafe thus entering the wild ride of restaurant ownership, and she pounced. 

    In the summer of 2010, along with two partners, she opened a tiny oyster bar with big personality called The Walrus and the Carpenter in Seattle's Old Ballard neighborhood. Two years later and one neighborhood away, the same crew opened The Whale Wins, a “dream cottage feel” with a vegatable-heavy menu and protein classics (like the whole trout, or a much-lauded roasted half chicken) coming from a woodfired oven.

    Renee has always been dedicated to providing the best, fresh, local, foraged and farmed organic ingredients in all her dishes. Her commitment to the best ingredients continues as her connections within the community of food providers grow. Renee lives in Ballard with her cat Lucca, her new puppy Arlo, seven chickens, and a potager.

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    Charles Finkel

    Charles Finkel is a pioneer in marketing craft beer.  As a wine merchant with a passion for beer, a company that he founded in 1978 was the first to introduce Belgium beer in America. Charles, both an entrepreneur and designer is responsible for creating and designing some of the most iconic craft beers in England, German and Belgium, for multi-generational family breweries, and in America for his own Pike Brewing Company. He and his wife and business partner Rose Ann founded Pike, the state’s second oldest craft brewery in 1989.

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    Leonard Garfield

    Leonard Garfield is Executive Director of Seattle’s Museum of History & Industry, an award winning history center with a collection of 4 million historic artifacts and archives, and a robust schedule of exhibits and educational programs related to the history of Seattle, the Pacific Northwest and the United States. MOHAI is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is an official affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. Garfield led MOHAI in the move to a new museum at Lake Union Park and a new Resource Center in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood, both of which opened in 2012.

    Before joining the museum, Garfield served as Washington State historic preservation manager and State Architectural Historian, directing the National Register of Historic Places program in WA. Leonard has taught in the College of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Washington in Seattle. Among other writings, he is co-author of Built in Washington, an architectural history of Washington State published by WSU Press.

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    Dominic Holden

    Dominic Holden is news editor of The Stranger, a weekly paper written by spoiled children. He writes about politics, gays, guns, taxes, and other stuff that makes people mad. Before that, he was a pot activist. He was a director of the Seattle Hempfest, a staffer for the ACLU of Washington, and head of a city initiative that made pot the lowest enforcement priority. He grew up in this conceited fishing village and has never driven a car.

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    Adam James

    Adam James farms oysters at Hama Hama, a fifth generation family shellfish farm with a reputation for quality built on hard work and clean water. Since 1922 they've been based along the eastern slopes of the Olympic Mountains, and in 2010 began expanding their farming operations into other estuaries in Puget Sound, experimenting with how growing location and method can lend oysters unique flavors and seasonality. They love long walks on the beach, hiking in the Olympic Mountains, surfing local breaks, and learning new things... especially about the ocean.

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    Megan Jasper

    Megan Jasper currently works for Sub Pop Records as the label's Executive Vice President. She worked at Sub Pop from 1989 until 1991 as the label’s receptionist and retail salesperson and went back to the label in 1998 as the head of Sub Pop’s marketing department. Before returning to Sub Pop, she was the Northwest Sales Representative for Alternative Distribution Alliance. Megan has also volunteered for numerous non-profits. She served on the Board of Directors for SCBWI (Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators) for four years, volunteered and served on the Board of Directors for The Service Board for ten years, and served on the Board of Directors for the Vera Project for six years. Today she is one of twenty one Music Commissioners serving the City of Seattle. When she isn't working, volunteering or listening to music she's training for triathlons and hanging out with her husband, Brian, and her BFF, Yogi Bear Claw.

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    Cass O'Callaghan

    Cass O'Callaghan has been a resident of Ballard since 1998, when she and her husband bought a 1913 Craftsman bungalow. Cass¹ desire to give back to the community has been fulfilled through financial management for many non-profits, and she has served on the Ballard Historical Society board since 2005.

    The Ballard Historical Society was formed in 1988 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation, education and celebration of Ballard¹s history. Among her Historical Society duties, Cass conducts tours of historic Ballard, sharing Ballard Ave Landmark District¹s rich and storied past.


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    Margaret O'Mara

    Margaret O’Mara is Associate Professor of History at the University of Washington. Her work looks at the growth of the knowledge economy and the reasons creativity and innovation thrive in particular places. She is the author of the acclaimed history of Silicon Valley, Cities of Knowledge (Princeton 2005), as well as numerous articles, and commentary about technology, cities, and politics. In addition to her scholarly work, O’Mara advises elected officials, business leaders, and cultural organizations on how innovation drives growth and change. She was the lead curatorial advisor to the Bezos Center for Innovation, which opened at Seattle’s Museum of History and Industry in 2013. O’Mara previously taught at Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania, and served on the domestic policy staff of President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. Web page:


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    Daniel Shewmaker

    Daniel spent his childhood in the coffee producing country of Indonesia, on the islands of Sulawesi and Java. Having a coffee enthusiast for a father, his earliest coffee memories involved going to the local market, purchasing green coffee to be roasted in the wok at home. Now, as a green coffee buyer based in Seattle, Daniel travels the world in search of the best to bring home to the vintage Probat roasters of Caffe Vita.


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    Preton Singletary

    The art of Preston Singletary has become synonymous with the relationship between European glass blowing traditions and Northwest Native art. His artworks feature themes of transformation, animal spirits and shamanism through elegant blown glass forms and mystical sand carved Tlingit designs.

    Recognized internationally, Singletary’s artworks are included in museum collections such as The British Museum (London, UK), The Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), and the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC). Singletary maintains an active schedule by teaching and lecturing internationally.


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    Peter Steinbrueck

    Seattle native and architect, Peter Steinbrueck, FAIA is founding principal of Steinbrueck Urban Strategies, LLC, providing professional consulting services to clients with mission-critical challenges, risks, and opportunities in design, development and the urban environment. Recent clients include Pike Place Market, Port of Seattle, Washington State Department of Transportation, and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Peter has been recognized nationally as an outstanding public policy maker, civic leader, and citizen architect. In 2006 he was inducted into the AIA College of Fellows, and named among the “Most Influential People” by Seattle Magazine.


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    Sarah Traver

    A Seattle native and daughter of local gallery owner William Traver, Sarah has been immersed in studio glass movement and the Seattle arts scene all her life. She attended the University of Washington where she studied Fine Art Photography and Art History and after graduating she moved to New York City to pursue a degree in education and worked as a teacher through Teach For America. In 2004, Sarah returned to Seattle where she enthusiastically jumped back in to the arts, joining her father in business at the Traver Gallery. She has been working as director of Traver Gallery since 2006.


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    Ruth and Bill True

    Bill and Ruth True are native Seattleites and contemporary art collectors. From 2002-2011, they ran Seattle's renowned Western Bridge, a public exhibition space dedicated to contemporary art. Since it's closure, much of their collection is loaned to galleries and museums around the country, as well as shown in their home in Washington Park. Bill True is Chairman of the board for Gull Industries, Chairman of the board of the Henry Art Gallery, and on the board of overseers at the Hammer Art Museum in Los Angeles. Ruth is the founder of Nube Green and Nube9, sits on the board of trustees for Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, the board of Forterra, and is actively involved in other community organizations in Seattle.


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    Erika Dalya Massaquoi

    Erika Dalya Massaquoi is a Consultant Curator for the Seattle Art Museum. Having recently moved from New York City, where she was the Assistant Dean of Art & Design at The Fashion Institute of Technology, Erika has become a fixture in Seattle’s art and fashion community almost overnight. She is a Board Trustee of Pratt Fine Arts Center and the founder of FASHIONY, a creative development project whose objective is to raise awareness of global dress and culture.
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    Sierra Stinson

    Sierra Stinson is the founder and curator of Vignettes, a one-night only art gallery in her apartment on Capitol Hill. She works with Seattle based troupe Saint Genet as artistic director of their ancillary performances.In 2012 she co-founded annual ONN/OF - ‘a light festival’ held on two of the darkest and depressing days in the Pacific Northwest. Inviting artists and performers to create works focused on illumination and ‘light’ in underused spaces each year.In spring 2014 she will launch an online boutique to export unrepresented artists and their work beyond their region. Sierra was brought up in Northern California, has lived in London, Glasgow, and currently resides in Seattle.
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    Tara Austen Weaver

    Tara Austen Weaver never intended to move to Seattle. She came for the summer, but soon fell in love with snowcapped mountains and kayaking at sunset; that was seven years ago. Now she covers the Pacific Northwest as a freelance writer and the editor of Edible Seattle magazine. Her work focuses on food, travel, arts and culture, agriculture and the environment.An award-winning writer, Tara is author of The Butcher & The Vegetarian, Tales from High Mountain, and the forthcoming memoir Orchard House, a story of growing food and family. Her work has appeared in San Francisco Magazine, Edible San Francisco, Edible Seattle,, Apartment Therapy: The Kitchn, and Her own blog, Tea & Cookies, has been selected as one of the top fifty food blogs in the world by both The Times of London and the UK Independent.


  • Original seattle sponsor 1.jpg?1503009831?ixlib=rails 0.3

    Visit Seattle

    Located between snowy mountain ranges and overlooking Puget Sound, Seattle is a world-class city with the perfect mix of natural beauty. Where else can you kayak up to your favorite restaurant, then set out strolling and shopping through downtown? From celebrity chef restaurants, world-class wineries, and music venues for every genre to an overabundance of lakes, mountains and shoreline to explore right in our backyard, Seattle has something for everyone.

    Discover all that Seattle has to offer and start planning your trip at