Category Archives: Fairs and Festivals

Is Summer Over?

Guest post by Meteorologist Michael Fagin of West Coast Weather

Our favorite meteorologist, Michael Fagin, has good news for this holiday weekend. Whether you’re on the fence about attending Bumbershoot in Seattle, checking out the Washington State Fair in Puyallup or just having some people over for a barbecue, the weather, and even the smoke we’ve endured lately are in your favor.

Here’s what Michael predicts:

Labor Day Weekend is usually the end of summer vacation and the conclusion of temps in the upper 80’s and low 90’s the Seattle area enjoys in August.

The good news is that this upcoming weekend will bring daytime temperatures close to the seasonal normal of 74. High temperatures for Seattle should be in the 70 to 75 range for Saturday through Monday. There’s a slight chance of drizzle Saturday morning but that is mainly for north of Seattle (near Everett). Then, on Monday a chance of some light morning showers, but afternoon should be dry.  The best day will be Sunday, which will be dry and mostly sunny in the afternoon

 

What About Smoke?

Perhaps a more important question is what will the air quality be like? We have had some extended periods of poor, unhealthy air quality this August. One reason is the smoke moving into our region from the extensive wildfires on the West Coast.

Along with all those fires, the Seattle area had periods of northeast winds that brought in smoke and even some ash from the fires in Eastern Washington. The combination of that with a strong high pressure and poor air mixing, resulted in record poor air quality for the Seattle area.

The good news is we should have good air quality this weekend. Check out this website for more details and the green colors mean “good air quality.”

However, with all the wildfires in the area, we might have some very brief periods of limited smoke moving in. Mostly, the air quality should remain in the good to moderate levels.

 

 

 

Shakespeare Comes to Whidbey Island

Did you know that April is Shakespeare’s birthday month? Or that you don’t have to travel to Ashland, Oregon, to help celebrate the occasion?

On April 7, 2018, the town of Langley on Whidbey Island will present their annual Sonnet Slam. Find out what a sonnet is from Dr. Stephanie Barbe Hammer at the Langley Library, beginning at 11 a.m. Then learn how to read a sonnet aloud, practice a few and take your newfound talents to an open mic nearby.

Explore the town during the Sonnet Treasure Hunt and see how many you can find. Collect the most sonnets and win a prize.

This is your chance to wear a Shakespearean or Elizabethan costume and win a prize for your garb, too.

 

Professionals, novices, everyone is welcome to this celebration.

Open Mic Locations and Day’s Schedule:

1 p.m. – Ott Murphy Wines

2 p.m. – Anthes Ferments (restaurant)

3 p.m. Useless Bay Coffee

4 p.m. – Bring your discoveries to Useless Bay Coffee. Prizes awarded for the best Slams, Sonnet Treasures found and Costumes.

Come join us for fun and celebration. Happy Birthday William Shakespeare!

 

What’s New and Cool in September, 2016

Fall is almost upon us.

 

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September 2-25:  Washington State Fair in Puyallup, A week longer than normal, but closed every Tuesday during its run. This is the most popular fair on the west side of the mountains. To see everything, it might take you two full days. Fisher scones, Clydesdales, competitions, Super Heroes, funnel cakes, dinosaurs, and more.

Lighthouse on Rocky Shore

September 9-11:  Mukilteo Lighthouse FestivalMain food court, kids food court, battle of the bands, parade, children’s activities, fireworks and a fishing derby top this community celebration.

White-Pelican

September 9-11:  Puget Sound Bird Fest in Edmonds, Bird lovers of all ages unite to learn more about their hobby. Festival includes guided nature walks, a photography exhibition and field workshop, speakers and presentations.

September 9-18:  Bellingham Beer WeekFifth annual celebration of the craft beer scene in our city to the north. Participants include Chuckanut, Boundary Bay, Kulshan, Aslan, Wander, Structures, Menace and Stones Throw. For other beer coverage across the state, check with my friends at the Washington Beer Blog.

September 23-25:  Valleyfest in the Spokane Valley, Short and long-distance bike rides, hot air balloons, bed races, fishing at the falls, a parade, and robotics and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities.

September 23-25:  Port Townsend Film Festival, 98 films at six different theatre venues, one of which is outside.

September 23-25:  Autumn Leaf Fest in Leavenworth, Parades, music, entertainment, car show, breakfast and more.

September 23-25:  Ye Merrie Greenwood Faire in Kennewick, A period Renaissance Faire, need I say more?

September 30-October 1:  Inaugural SeaFeast in Bellingham, This new event takes place in downtown and showcases the rich maritime and thriving commercial fishing there. Local seafood, competitions, entertainment, a pub crawl and salmon barbecue.

Just Plain Cool

Wings over Washington in Seattle is a new attraction on Pier 59 at Miner’s Landing in Seattle. Purchase your tickets at the same place you buy them for the Great Wheel. This flying theatre transports you over and through some of the best scenery in the state. Once you’re strapped into your seat, the chairs drop and you become a part of the landscape and seascape. It feels so real, that I ducked and lifted my feet to avoid the obstacles.

 

Courtesy Doug Walker Photography

Courtesy Doug Walker Photography

The Thurston County Bountiful Byway, is now open so anyone can travel the 60-mile loop filled with fresh food and beverages. “This new program will further the Bountiful Byway’s mission to bring visitors hungry for local produce, craft beverages and farm fresh fare straight to the source,” says Shauna Stewart, executive director of the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor & Convention Bureau.

 

 

 

What’s New and Cool in August, 2016

Sorry, that I’m a little late with this. Where has the summer gone anyway?

August 3-7:  Thurston County Fair  in Lacey, a little north of Olympia, visitors will eat traditional fair food (Fisher Scones, please), watch 4H competitions, play games, watch Professor Bamboozle and participate in a craft beer, wine and hard cider tasting event, if you’re over 21.       D2H5881

August 5-7:  Seafair Weekend , a signature event in Seattle for decades. The weekend includes parades, neighborhood celebrations, hydroplane racing and a performance by the Blue Angels over Lake Washington.

August 5-7:  Stanwood-Camano Community Fair offers a parade, country fair, contests and exhibits, a carnival, Lego-building contest, make it and take it sewing demonstrations, youth mechanical science quiz bowl, animal shows, lots of live entertainment, and much more.

August 11-14:  Northwest Colonial Festival – Port Angeles invites you to watch daily reenactments of famous battles taking place at the George Washington Inn and Washington Lavender Farm.

August 11-14:  Morton Logger’s Jubilee 

August 12:  An Evening with Jackson Browne  at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery. Reserve your place. Tickets go fast.

DSC_0018 Ste Michelle Winery

August 12-14:  If you missed the other tastes and bites experience A Taste of Edmonds makes a more-than-adequate replacement. The 33rd annual event is among the top three festivals in the state and among the top 100 North American festivals. Arts and crafts, food, a kid’s area with rides and entertainment, three stages with live music, and a beer and wine garden can all be yours a little north of Seattle.

August 15-24:  Washington State International Kite Festival on Long Beach Peninsula. The sky blazes with color this time of year. Look for a full, entertaining program of kite competitions, exhibitions and demonstrations, kite making and flying lessons, mass ascensions, indoor kite ballet, a teddy bear drop and more on the spacious, sand beach.

August 23-27:  Benton Franklin Fair and Rodeo A demolition derby, concerts, rodeo, carnival, Mutton Bustin’, BBQ Cook-off and much more in Tri-Cities.    Photo-Gallery--element67

August 25-September 5: Evergreen State Fair , one of the very biggest fairs in the state – you need two days to see it all. Pro West Rodeo contests, Speedway racing, competitive exhibits in 4-H and FFA, Evergreen Youth Livestock Show, contests, and food galore. Free gate admission on opening day until 1 p.m.

August 27-28:  Olympic Peninsula Air Affaire presents hot air balloons, skydivers, wing walkers and other aeronautical treasures at the Sequim Valley Airport.

 Just Plain Cool

Whale Watching the Best in Years:  The Strait of Juan de Fuca has had extraordinary numbers of humpback whales and sightings of a rare-to-these-waters fin whale. Orcas are very active.

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Chuckanut Drive in Bellingham turns 100 this year. Video courtesy Bellingham Herald.

Watch for news about Thurston County’s new Bountiful Byway.

What’s New and Cool in July, 2016

Enjoy Yourself in Lynden

You might not have heard of this small town located just three miles from the Canadian border. In years past all their stores closed at 6 p.m. and remained closed all day on Sunday. Tourists couldn’t find much to do.

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Now all that has changed. The city’s first boutique hotel, the Inn at Lynden, opened just six months ago. I was hosted there the first part of June. You’ll not find ordinary lodging here. Instead all guests receive Nordstrom-quality treatment. Room amenities include a plush mattress, LCD high-def TVs, personal climate control, windows that open and luxurious bath products. But that’s not all.

 

Off the lobby you’ll find full-size stores for your shopping pleasure. Village Books with its wide array of reading material, décor and gifts; Drizzle Olive Oils and balsamic vinegars plus an out-of-this-world dining option, Avenue Bread with pastries, breakfast and lunch menus and the Bellingham Baby Company with everything you need for infants and toddlers. Next to the Inn, Overflow Taps serves craft beer and wine. My room was located above Overflow Taps and I can tell you that’s a happenin’ place in Lynden. They don’t serve food, but you can bring in your own food.

A charcuterie and fromage board at Drizzle

A charcuterie and fromage board at Drizzle

Back to the wonderful, caring service at the Inn. The owners actually work the desk so any complaints are handled immediately. They also have four complimentary bicycles guests can use to explore the town.

 

Eight years ago this building, Waples Mercantile, was almost totally destroyed by a fire and left abandoned. Now it has been restored and holds a place on the National Historic Register, thanks to the efforts of Matt and Teri Treat and Jeff and Deb McClure.

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Why not visit this summer for the Northwest Raspberry Fest from July 15-16 (2016) or for the Northwest Washington Fair (the grounds where Donald Trump addressed the community) from August 15-20 (2016)?

 

What’s New and Cool in June, 2016

I can’t even fathom how long a comprehensive list of every event taking place in Washington might be. It would probably break the Internet. So what I’m posting is can’t-miss festivals, new activities and darn it, my personal favorites.

June 2:  Alderbook Resort & Spa, where the spa happens to have doggy massages on the menu, presents the “Spirit of the Canal” Distillers Dinner. Make reservations through Edible Seattle or the resort which has discounted overnight specials for this occasion.

June 3-5:  Edmonds Waterfront Festival

 Edmonds ferry

Edmonds ferry

June 4:  Oddmall Emporium of the World, Everett. If anyone goes to this, please let me know what happens there. I’m intrigued.

June 4:  The town of Lynden will try to break the Guinness Book of World Records by making the world’s longest strawberry shortcake. This is where I’ll be.

June 4:  National Trails Day means free State Park admission in Washington on this Saturday. Should you want to combine visiting a state park with hiking, may I suggest looking at the Washington Trails Association site or check in with one of the most prolific hikers around, Craig Romano.

June 10-12:  Craft Wine Fest featuring beer as well in Vancouver, USA.

June 10-12:  Maple Valley Days, Maple Valley. My old stompin’ grounds so I’m partial to this town’s celebration.

June 11:  Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island is hosting a fishing derby for kids 16 and under. No license is required and because this is also National Get Outdoors Day, once again you don’t need a Discover Pass because all state parks offer free entry that day.

June 17-19:  Marysville Strawberry Festival

June 18-19:  Walla Walla Onion Festival. I wrote about this and several other Northwest festivals in the May/June issue of Northwest Travel & Life Magazine.

June 24-26:  Taste of Tacoma. My hometown and where I first tasted alligator on a stick. Travel Tacoma recently unveiled their spiffy new website where you can look for other attractions to visit.

June 25-26: Spokane’s Hoopfest, one of the biggest 3-on-3 basketball competitions in the nation. For lodging, restaurants and other activities in Spokane, look at their tourism site.

Just Plain Cool

You can now take a tour with a park ranger at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma. Don’t mess with Mary Krauszer because she’s also a jammer for the Dockyard Derby Dames.

Mary Krauszer, new Pt. Defiance Ranger

Mary Krauszer, new Pt. Defiance Ranger

The San Juan Islands  recently introduced an app, San Juan Islands Insider, that gives you tips on where to explore, how to gather points and then trade those points in for goods and services on the islands. Available on either Google Play or at the App Store.

See Friday Harbor on the Jolly Trolley instead of hoofing it everywhere. By taking a riding tour, you can better scope out where you want to spend more time.   Jolly Trolley

As if Lakedale in Friday Harbor, doesn’t have enough different types of accommodations, this year they installed new canvas cottages.

Did I forget anything you absolutely love? If so, please let me know and I’ll add it.

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Olson Farm, updated May 2016

When I bought tickets for “Outlaw Days,” I wasn’t sure what it was. But the tickets were only $5 each and I’d heard so much about the Mary Olson Farm in Auburn and the activities there, I thought I couldn’t miss. Although “Outlaw Days” aren’t on the Farm’s calendar this summer, plenty of other activities are.

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Every Saturday and Sunday, from noon ’til 5 p.m., June 25-August 28, you can tour the farmhouse, meet up-close-and personal with the cows, chickens and donkeys and even bring your picnic basket full of goodies to eat on the grounds. That’s all free.

Also, at no cost, let the kiddos, ages 3-12, participate in a themed activity hour any Wednesday in July at 10:30 a.m.

But the piece de resistance must be the overnight stay, July 15 and 16, for those 7-12 years of age. Visit Overnight for details and to register.

The Farm holds numerous events throughout the summer including summer camps for kids, group tours, concerts and special events like “Outlaw Days.” A project of the White River Valley Museum, the Farm originally operated as a subsistence farm. In 2011 it was restored to its current state and opened to the general public. The interior of the house is furnished just like an old farm house.

Dine Out Vancouver Festival

On January 16, 2015, Canada’s Largest Food and Drink Festival began and lasts for 17 days. If you’re looking for someplace to visit, definitely put Vancouver, British Columbia on your radar. Special “Dine and Stay” packages are available starting at $78 Canadian a night. You can’t beat that for quality lodging and entertainment.

 

Soup Experiment

 

Dine Out by the numbers:

277 participating restaurants (more than any other year)

29 hotels offering discount rates and special packages

84 culinary events taking place during the fest

17 days of food, fun and drink

80,000 meals will be served

$18, $28, $38 menu prices

 

What else will draw you across the border?

Film Feast gives you gourmet popcorn while you watch a screening of “Big Night,” a story of a failing Italian restaurant and a gamble the owners take. This is followed by a four-course dinner inspired by the meal in the film. Includes a welcoming cocktail.

 

Here’s a course I could use:  Food-tography, where you learn the correct way to take pictures of your food. You also get to eat the food and sip the beverages after you photograph them.

 

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For you spirit lovers, try the Cognac Masterclass with Lauren Mote. You will be given a welcome cocktail, followed by two additional tastings paired with just the right small plates and recipes to take home.

 

The food trucks that have been a standard in this city also have their own event. Returning for a fourth year, Street Food City, Vancouver’s original street food pod, is your opportunity to sample from a collection of Vancouver’s Street Food carts all in one, convenient location.

 

Most of the events repeat several times, so you won’t miss the ones you really want to experience.

 

So much food and drink, so little time. This is a not-to-be-missed event.

 

 

Celebrating Daffodils, updated 2018

Every spring Tacoma and Pierce County pay tribute to the buttery yellow flower. This year (2018) as always, look for a parade in four cities all on April 7. Crowds turn out and line the sidewalks, first in Tacoma, then Puyallup, Sumner and finally in Orting to view floats, bands, princesses and more.

Sea Scout’s Entry

Thousands of fresh-cut daffodils will adorn the floats. As sometimes happens in the Pacific Northwest, it might rain.

On Sunday, April 15, Tacoma celebrates boats and our waterways with a Marine Parade. More than 40 boats will cruise  from the Tacoma Yacht Club to the Thea Foss Waterway.

Those are authentic mermaids on the front of the boat.

If the sun makes an appearance, you’ll be able to see the Olympic Mountains and Mt. Rainier.

People’s Choice Winner – the pink octopus revolves and they played the Beatle’s song about an octupus garden on the boat.