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WHAT: The Hamster Crawl
WHEN: 3pm-10pm Sat., June 1
WHERE: Downtown Bellingham
COST: Tickets are $25
INFO: http://www.cascadeconnections.org

WHAT: Summer Sips
WHEN: 5pm-8pm Sat., June 1
WHERE: Downtown Mount Vernon
COST: $20-$25
INFO: http://www.mountvernondowntown.org

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Even before the fourth annual “Hamster Crawl” kicks off Sat., June 1 in downtown Bellingham, those who are taking part in the food-related fundraiser for Cascade Connections will have the chance to fill their bellies at a kickoff party and barbecue taking place Fri., May 31 at the Barkley Haggen.

The event will serve as a practice run for the following day’s walking and tasting tour of eateries, bars and breweries starting at the Local Public House and ending at the Underground. In between, participants wearing the event’s signature T-shirts, sweatshirts and lanyards will find food and drink specials at places such as the Bellingham Bar & Grill, Horseshoe Cafe, Aslan Brewing Company, Cosmos Bistro, the Firefly Lounge, Grand Avenue Ale House, Herb’s Cider, Jimmy John’s, the Racket Bar & Pinball Lounge, and Uisce Irish Pub.

In addition to being a delicious way to support Cascade Connections’ mission of empowering people with disabilities by enhancing their way of life—something the nonprofit focused on making connections has been doing since 1980—the Hamster Crawl also serves as a means to sample fare provided by the downtown venues and possibly find a new favorite eatery, dish or drink. A post-crawl party at the Underground will feature a variety of prizes and a raffle drawing, and those wanting to work off some of what what they’ve consumed over the course of the afternoon and evening can hit the dance floor.

By the time the doors open for the Hamster Crawl’s after party, Mount Vernon Downtown Association’s “Summer Sips: Arts & Ales” event will just be coming to an end. But from 5pm-8pm, the city will be ground zero for those wanting to sample sips from some of the area’s best craft breweries, cideries, wineries and providers of spirits.

Be prepared to peruse more than just the drink lists, as the pairings range from the artistic to the athletic. For example, elSage Designs will host Reuben’s Brews, and Skagit Running Company will be sharing space with Skagit Brewing and Burro Loco Cider. Other groupings include Boundary Bay at Empire Ale House, Pasek Cellars at Forte Chocolate, House Margaritas at La Catrina Tacos & Tequila, Incline Cider at Strauss Jewelers, Thurston Wolfe at PAVE Jewelry & Design, Garden Path Fermentation at Perry and Carlson Gallery, and Wild Basin Boozy Water at Pure Salon and Wellness Spa (among others).

With the city’s monthly First Thursday Art Walk just around the corner, the event will also act as way to show off art homegrown artworks in advance of the upcoming Skagit Artists Studio Tour preview taking place Thurs., June 6. (For example, Sarah Dalton will show her art at Valley Shine Distillery (pictured), and other artists will pair their works with various libations.)

Once you’ve secured a spot on the sipping soiree meant to herald the coming of summer, it wouldn’t hurt to make a wish list of where to redeem one of the five drink tickets you’ll receive along with an event guide, passport and swag bag. The itinerary needn’t be set in stone, but when it comes to tasting tours, it never hurts to be prepared.

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8:30am|Bellingham Technical College

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