Border Crossings

An international affair



WHAT: International Arts and Music Festival
WHEN: 11am-5pm Fri., June 24 and 10am-5pm Sat.-Sun., June 25-26
WHERE: Peace Arch State Park, Blaine
COST: Entry is free

WHAT:  19th annual Peace Arch Sculpture Exhibit
WHEN: 8am-dusk daily through Oct. 1
WHERE: Peace Arch State Park
COST: Free

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

International travel can get real hairy, real quickly.

Case in point: A friend of mine was once awoken from a backseat slumber to find the car he was a passenger in at the United States/Canada border in Blaine surrounded by a bunch of border agents with guns. The license the driver of the vehicle had handed the authorities misidentified my buddy as a wanted criminal with the same name, and it was many hours before he could convince them he wasn’t the perp they were looking for.

While most border crossings go more smoothly, issues can arise over a variety of problems—insufficient identification, paying duty and taxes, restricted and prohibited goods, bringing firearms from one country to another, and the possibility that the weed hidden in the peanut butter jar might be discovered during a routine car search.

At the International Arts and Music Festival taking place June 24-26 at the Canadian Peace Arch Provincial Park and the U.S. Peace Arch State Park, visitors to and from both countries won’t have to worry about whether their passports and NEXUS cards are up to date or if their name matches that of a serial killer.

At the annual event, attendees can park in their respective countries and—provided they don’t leave the confines of the two parks—skip the border checkpoints to enjoy an internationally inspired afternoon.

At the three-day gathering, art of many kinds will be on display and up for public perusal. In addition to featured artists such as acrylic painter Peggy Cook, Carla’s Funky Art, Treats Design, and I’olana Design, approximately 50 participating artists from both the United States and Canada will show and sell unique sculptures, paintings, visual arts, textiles and more.

Plus, if you haven’t yet viewed this year’s Peace Arch Sculpture Exhibit—an annual show that features permanent and semi-permanent works throughout the 40-acre park by a variety of artists—this is a prime time to suss it out.

Also on the “featured artists” lineup are creative types who aren’t just focused on the visual side of things, such as the 10-piece powerhouse band Baby Cakes, who promise to “take their audiences on a luxurious joyride through the golden age of American soul, funk and R&B.”

“We are more excited this year than ever,” organizer Brian Major says. “We have amazing artists and a killer music lineup planned for our fourth annual Arts and Music Festival.

“You can relax at a shady picnic table and listen to jazz or African music, or participate in a salsa dance. Afterward, purchase a spectacular silver necklace, a set of hand-thrown mugs, a quilted wall hanging, or you might take home a stunning painting or photograph as a memorable representation of the region.”

Finally, the culinary artisans from downtown Bellingham’s Cosmos Bistro will be in charge of feeding the masses with a focus on locally grown, sustainable products—something that will also be taken into consideration when it comes to the adult beverages available at the outdoor wine and beer garden.

Whether you’re coming for the art, the music, the food, the scenery or the fact that you can visit two countries in one day without having to give up your vital statistics, remember that the event is meant to highlight the unique relationship between Canada and the United States. If you’re down with that, you might want to plan a trip farther afield. Of course, you’ll need identification for that.

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