The Seattle Cheese Festival is no more. In an announcement posted on the festival website, Pat McCarthy of DeLaurenti's said "Over the last couple of years the Festival has become kind of like Yogi Berra’s quote 'Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.' Attendance by cheese makers and distributors has fallen off sharply." Ironically, the Seattle Cheese Festival was in many ways a victim of its own success. While I can't think of any better place to hold a festival of any kind than at the Pike Place Market, the very popularity and accessibility of the Market proved to be the Festival's undoing. Literally thousands of people flocked to the Seattle Cheese Festival, turning the experience of attending into a harrowing experience of battling crowds rather than enjoying and/or learning about cheese. Few small local cheesemakers would even consider going to the festival . . . can you imagine sampling out your products for free to 35,000 people? In the end, even the big distributors like Peterson's and DPI that had come to dominate the festival started backing out.
I'm sorry to see the Seattle Cheese Festival go, but Washington's cheese enthusiasts still have something to look forward to: the Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival, which is slated to hold its second annual event in October of 2013.