Monday, June 20, 2022

Leavenworth, International Accordion Celebration 2022

Reflections: June 19, 2022

Saturday morning I headed down to Auburn to pick up my long time friend, Dave Hoskin.

We’re driving to Leavenworth for the International Accordion Celebration. We left his place about

9:30 AM and then up Highway 18 for Interstate 90 just outside North Bend. It was a typical cool

gray cloudy Spring morning this year with a light sprinkle of rain.

As soon as we were over Snoqualmie Pass to the east side of the Cascades the sun came out.

We arrived in Cle Elum at 11:00 AM and stopped at the Sunset Café for a nice breakfast. Then up

Highway 97 past Liberty, Swauk Prairie and Blewett Pass. It's been a favorite stretch of road and drive

since I started coming over to Wenatchee to teach classes 10 years ago for First American Title.

Today, the greens were two-tone and lush. The new growth formed bright stripes against the seasoned

dark green on every tree. You just know they’re loving the warmer weather and the seasonal daily

oscillation of rain and sun.

We pulled into Leavenworth a few minutes after 1:00 PM. It’s gorgeous, sunny, and the town is full of

people enjoying a Saturday. It took us quite a while to find a parking place. We just kept driving around

and a good one showed up for us off 12th on Commercial Street.

Our first stop was the Civic Center. There was a wonderful collection of antique accordions to view and

I had a fun chat with Bruce Triggs, author of the Accordion Revolution. My favorites were a couple of

small button accordions, especially the Dino Baffetti models.

Dino Baffetti, A. 20 - 2 basses

Back by the concert hall I ran into Joe Petosa Jr. I haven’t seen Joe for about 10 years or so. One day

after Barbie Van Horn and I had finished a social media class in Wallingford I stopped by the old store

on North 45th on a whim for a visit. They relocated a couple of years ago to Lynnwood. 

Dino Baffetti, 8 basses

I was moved by the fact he looks so much like his Dad as I remember. It was great to see him and he

gave me a big ol’ bear hug, twice. Joe Sr. was a dear friend of my Dad’s. They met back in the late

1940s and ever since then Dad played Petosa Accordions exclusively.

I listened to a few players in the hall, then Dave and I headed for Front Street Park to catch a

performance. We stopped at Patterson Cellars along the way and I enjoyed one of their red blend

wines. Funny, I just recently listened to a podcast about them moving their HQ from Woodinville to

Walla Walla. The bartender was a really nice talkative guy. We went out front of the shop to the tables

along the walkway.

When we arrived at the Gazebo on Leavenworth Square the music was just about to begin. Our dear

old friend John Giuliani was playing bass in the accordion ensemble and we heard all the old songs I

remember from childhood. John’s Dad was also a close friend of my Dad’s and both John Sr. and Jr.

took lessons from him. I loved the fact that there were a lot of people of all ages and a wide variety of

ethnic backgrounds enjoying the performance and dancing.

Thanks to John I met a 92 year old guy who played accordion and played a few times on the

Horace Heidt show in Los Angeles back in the early 1950s. Dad also performed on that show a few

times back in those days, so that was our connection. We had a wonderful conversation and I came

away thinking I hope I’m as spry, alert and energetic as he is when I’m 92! I also really enjoyed a couple

of kids who were both just teenagers and very good players. So happy to see that accordions are being

rediscovered and having a comeback!


After the accordion ensemble played we hung out with John for a bit. There was a group of us gathered

around to swap old stories and we had several good laughs. John had to get ready for his next event

and we were off to find a place to eat. He suggested to Dave and I that we stop at Gustav’s. I’m glad we

did. They have a 2nd floor deck and it was great to sit outside and enjoy the view below watching the

throngs of people go from shop to shop. The food was excellent and so was the service! 

I think this was a really good day for all the businesses in Leavenworth. As we roamed around town it

came up a few times that the weather has been pretty lousy and that today was the first really nice day.

The town was packed and every establishment was busy, so yeah!, we’re all making some money today!

Well, the plan is to get back home before dark, so dang this day went by so fast. We’re on the west side

of town and we’re parked on the east side, so it was a bit of a trek. My legs were like rubber and sore,

but I made it.

Accordion Revolution by Bruce Triggs

The drive back home was just as enjoyable and it was dusk when I dropped Dave off in Auburn about 8:20 PM. What a cool way to do a day. I enjoyed the fact this day included a few dear old friends and unexpectedly brought up many good memories and emotional ties to my Dad. As I headed from Dave’s for home in Renton, how fortuitous it is that tomorrow is Father’s Day. It touched my soul.

Leavenworth Fire Hydrant with Wild Flowers

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