Sunnyland Stomp

Chickens, art and everything in between

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A few years ago, when our hens celebrated their first birthday, we held a party in the backyard for them complete with platters of deviled eggs, fried chicken, a lawn game called “Flickin’ Chicken,” and, last but not least, a race between the four feathered fowl.

In retrospect, we didn’t do that great of a job when it came time for the ladies to show off their athleticism. First off, we put ribbons of various colors around their necks to differentiate them, and the ribbons either came loose or, in the case of one hen that was trying to get it off her neck, almost choked them to death. We also had no structure to the race, and depended on the fact that their hunger for scratch—which was being freely distributed at the finish line—would lead the poultry to glory. We were wrong, and the race has never been repeated.

I hadn’t thought about reviving the competition until I read about the latest addition to the Sunnyland Stomp, the annual mid-July event in Bellingham’s Sunnyland neighborhood that features art, music and everything in between—including, evidently, a chicken race.

According to the “Great Chicken Race” FAQs on the press release accompanying the Stomp shout-out, the gathering is intended for “chicken owners who feel their particular chicken is exceptionally talented and capable of running the chicken race gauntlet faster than the others.” Simple obstacles—a wide ramp, a hoop, a large tunnel and a short fence—will be part of the race, and owners can encourage their hens or roosters via verbal calls, the tossing of feed, physical signals or what have you.

I’m all for a Mayor’s Arts Award-winning event such as the Sunnyland Stomp to host an event of this complexity, but I do wonder if they know exactly what they’re in for. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll cart my new wicked-quick Australorps to the early afternoon race at Sunnyland Park, but I do know it’ll be worth a visit to check it out.

If you’re not as obsessed with chickens as I am, don’t be led astray by the preceding bullet points of this story. Just like every other Sunnyland Stomp, the July 13 event’s main focus will be on the creativity of those who live in the neighborhood’s nexus.

Twenty makeshift “galleries”—mainly in residents’ backyards and front yards—will be up and running, and those who peruse them can expect to find everything from contemporary folk art (FishBoy) to kinetic sculptures (Kitts Metal Works), screen-printed clothing (Red Boots Design), paintings and pottery (Color Pot Gallery), birth art (Bellingham Birth Center), functional metal art (Mishmash Manor), woodwork and textiles (Blue House Gallery and Garden), and others.

Those who hunger for more than visual art won’t leave unsatisfied, either. Artisan beer samples from Grant Street Brewing will be paired with food samples from Chef David Wood at Artisan Revival, and the culinary geniuses behind Ciao Thyme—who happen to live in Sunnyland—will offer pizzas fresh from their backyard oven on Iron Street. Forever Summer 2, on Humboldt Street, will feature shaved ice, live music by Holly Swanson and friends, and art by Tammy Findlay, Genevieve Gonska, and Amy Jones.

For a full listing of places to visit during the afternoon and into the evening, go to the group’s website and get a clearer picture of where you’d like to stop during the course of the Sunnyland Stomp (maps will also be available at each gallery during the event).

It might also be time to start training your chickens to run a little faster and jump through a hoop. Oh, and if I were you, I’d leave the ribbons off their necks. It’ll only slow them down.

More Visual...
The art of transition

“Thus did Odin establish that all dead men should be burned, and their belongings laid with them upon the pile, and the ashes be cast into the sea…“ recounts the saga of the Norse Vikings.

So perhaps it was no surprise when Steve Jensen’s best friend, dying of AIDS, asked him to…

more »
A Family Affair
Welcome to Tillie Lace Gallery

The first time painter Cooper Lanza and her daughter Morgan entered 1415 13th Street, it was for an opening reception at the former Lucia Douglas Gallery.

Lanza says she was struck by the high ceilings, clean industrial lines and the way the light filtered through the windows at the…

more »
A Child's Touch
Arts in action at Lowell Elementary

With remodels and an expansion, so much at Bellingham’s Lowell Elementary School is shiny and new. That’s nice and all, but the school still needed a child’s touch.

With contributions from all 285 students, the walls and schoolyard at Lowell now have some much-needed color. Three…

more »
Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Bellingham City Club Meeting

11:30am|Northwood Hall

Wednesday Market

12:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Lynden Book Club

12:30pm|Lynden Library

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Brewers Cruise

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

The Gun Show

8:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Swinomish 2016 Artifacts Wine Bar
Skagit tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

Bow Little Market

1:00pm|Belfast Feed Store

After-Hours Market

4:00pm|Depot Market Square

A gold medal standard


Eat Local Month

4:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

First Thursday Art Walk

5:00pm|Downtown Mount Vernon

Riverwalk Summer Concert Series

5:00pm|Skagit Riverwalk Park

Memory to Memoir

5:30pm|Village Books

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

Fiesta 4 Cuba

8:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Zoots Side Bar Bellingham Farmer’s Market
Skagit tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Boating Center Open

12:00pm|Community Boating Center

A gold medal standard


Eat Local Month

4:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

Fiesta 4 Cuba

8:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

8:00pm|Cirque Lab

It takes an island


Wild Things

9:30am|Whatcom Falls Park

Party in the park


Final Plover Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Ferndale Farmers Market

1:00pm|Cherry Street

Hovander Homestead Bluegrass Festival

5:00pm|Hovander Homestead Park

Oak Harbor Music Festival

5:00pm|Oak Harbor

Beach and Barbecues

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

First Friday Dinner Theater

6:00pm|Community Food Co-op

Salmon Dinner Sail

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Farm Tunes

6:00pm|BelleWood Acres

Anacortes Art Walk

6:00pm|Downtown Anacortes

Bellingham Art Walk

6:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Friday Night Flicks

7:00pm|Van Zandt Community Hall

Recent Tragic Events

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Wine, Music and a Movie

10:30pm|Artifacts Cafe and Wine Bar

see our complete calendar »

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Andrew Subin Zoots Side Bar Village Books Artifacts Wine Bar Bellingham Farmer’s Market Swinomish 2016 Northwood Steak and Crab