Sunnyland Stomp

Art, chickens and fun


Last year, I spent most of the space I had reserved for a story about the Sunnyland Stomp talking about the fact that the organizers behind the annual summertime soiree were hosting the event’s inaugural chicken race. Apparently, I was pretty excited about it.

Then, like a fool, I showed up 30 minutes late for the poultry palaver, and missed the whole darn thing.

However, all was not lost. Although the boat had sailed when it came to watching a dozen chickens maneuver their way through obstacle courses designed to test their tiny brains, I arrived in the Sunnyland neighborhood in plenty of time to meander through a variety of “galleries” set up in backyards—and front yards—and take in the abundant creativity of the residents of the eclectic Bellingham ‘hood.

This year, I’ve resolved to talk more about the art and less about the chicken race—but bets are off when it comes to talking about art that involves chickens.

I’m talking, specifically, about Miss Velveeta Jones—the oversized, multicolored hen currently roosting in front of HomeSkillet, Sunnyland’s popular breakfast hangout. Created by owners Tina and Kirby White, the sculpture was defaced by a spray-paint-wielding vandal in early May. When Miss Jones is unveiled during the Stomp, viewers can admire her new-and-improved visage—and also pause for snacks, drinks or a bathroom break. (You can also find out more about the Hive, a makerspace in the making.)

Although it’s doubtful you’ll find time to visit each of the other two dozen spaces being highlighted during the event, trust me when I tell you there’s something for everyone to be found at this year’s Sunnyland Stomp.

If it’s more art you’re after, might I suggest a visit to Christian Anne Smith’s “From the Magiclands” space, where a puppet garden will share room with paintings, dolls and a variety of mixed-media works. There’s also the contemporary folk art of RR Clark at the Fishboy Gallery, onsite screen printing at Red Boot Design, a “Team of Monsters” series of paintings and handmade clay jewelry at “the Humboldt,” works by Antonio Gonzalez and Carrie Voorhees (and coffee tastings) at Maniac Roasting, a group show at the Color Pot Gallery, art by kids and sketches by Stepha Lawson at the Bellingham Birth Center, and more.

In addition to the stops with a visual emphasis, there’ll be plenty more creative goodness to partake of come the afternoon and evening of Sat., July 12. For example, Trevor Jones—also known as the “sword guy” at the Bellingham Farmers Market—will be demonstrating sword-making and dueling. (Yes, the stop is family-friendly).

Take music breaks at Backup Experience on Grant Street, with performers including Misty Flowers, the Shady Tones, Boris Budd, Louis Ledford, and others. From 6-8pm, be lured by the dulcet tones of the Saltwater Octet, an eight-piece jazz band who’ll be bringing their sounds to a temporary music hall on Franklin Street.

A variety of foodstuffs will also be served up alongside the art. At Grant Street’s Artisan Revival, brewmaster Chris McClanahn will team up with Chef David Wood to offer tasty samples to the masses. Live music, screen prints by Sean Hughes, art and games for kids and valet bike parking will also be part of the draw. Additionally, Ciao Thyme will be serving pizza at their Iron Street abode, and wine and beer can be sourced at New Kids on the Block.

Those who plan to attend the Sunnyland Stomp will want to head to the event website to get a clearer picture of what stops you want to make. Once there, you can also find out more about the aforementioned chicken race. You should check the time, though, because if you show up late, the birds will have already flown the coop.

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