Music

Ski to Sea

For you and me

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

I cannot predict the future. Even so, it’s probably a safe bet that I will never compete as part of a Ski to Sea team, unless I am forced to do it to save someone’s life. And it would have to be someone I’m close to, mind you. Not just anyone will do.

Even so, I can—and frequently do—participate in Ski to Sea. I simply choose a slightly different adventure than the one embarked upon by the athletes. My own annual tradition also tends to be a multi-stage affair, the difference being the stages in question feature musicians, and performing is the athletic activity at play. Even better, when you do Ski to Sea my way, you always end up a winner. 

No matter how big or small the holiday or tradition or occasion, Boundary Bay Brewery is ready, willing and all too able to celebrate it. For years, Ski to Sea weekend—also known as Memorial Day weekend in other parts of the country—has signaled the official opening of Boundary’s beer garden, which is itself a prime indicator that summer will happen…eventually. This year, the brewpub is home to one of a couple of beer-garden block parties that are happening, this one taking place Fri., May 25 in conjunction with Whatcom Events, the organization responsible for the massive undertaking that is the race itself. The block party in Boundary’s beer garden is free and family-friendly, with prizes to be won, beer to be quaffed—including Boundary’s Race Day IPA—and the Atlantics and Motus to be entertained by. After the race concludes on Sun., May 26, Boundary will be back at it with an event they’ve dubbed “Ski to Sea Revitalization.” I’m not sure exactly what that means, but the gist seems to be that the brewpub seems to feel the best way to recover from the 70-plus-mile race and all its attendant exertion and excitement is to gather once again in the beer garden for more pints of beer and more music, this time courtesy of Hot Damn Scandal. Since I am not an athlete, I can’t say whether this is an appropriate recuperation strategy, but I learned long ago not to argue with what Boundary says is best. Where: 1107 Railroad Ave. Info: http://www.bbaybrewery.com

Some would say the only way to have a true Ski to Sea experience is to head to the Southside. My opinions on the matter aren’t so strong, but I will say that Memorial Day weekend is the one time of the year when the sheer density of available entertainment is far greater in Fairhaven than it is downtown.

For 18 years and counting, the Fairhaven Festival has been the go-to after party for Ski to Sea. Its organizers are probably hoping I will one day stop being so enamored of the daylong street fair’s former name, It All Ends in Fairhaven, but my love affair with that apocalyptic-sounding moniker remains ever true. Along with the opportunity to watch kayakers sprint to the race’s finish line, attendees of the Fairhaven Festival will be treated to an array of vendors and food stands, along with a beer garden and musical entertainment on two stages, courtesy of Gin Gypsy, SpaceBand, and Death By Radio on the main stage, and Bellingham Silk Road Dancers, Kuungana African Drum and Dance Company, and Lynden Line Dancers on the Village Green stage. Where: Fairhaven Info: http://www.fairhaven.com

Fairhaven has a block party of its own, and it’s just one of a series of such soirees thrown on the regular by Stones Throw Brewing Co. Not content to simply brew beer and provide excellent hospitality in an inviting locale, Stones Throw has taken things a step further in its attempt to be solid contributors to the Southside community by periodically hosting free, family-friendly block parties that include pints, food trucks and live music. For Ski to Sea, they’ll offer up a bigger-than-normal version on Sat., May 26 with music by Baby Cakes, the Naughty Blokes, and One Lane Bridge. The next day, Sun., May 27, Stones Throw will eschew live music—the Fairhaven Festival will take care of that—in favor of extending their beer garden to accommodate both crowds and food trucks in a trifecta of brews, food and good company aplenty. Where: 1009 Larrabee Ave. Info: http://www.stonesthrowbrewco.com

If you, like me, live according to a mantra of “outside bad, inside good,” first, stop stealing my mantra. Second, Fairhaven has a party for us indoor types too, thanks to Jan Peters and Lovitt Restaurant. Peters books the music at Lovitt, and not long ago, he gave an unknown-to-him Canadian band a slot on the schedule with more curiosity than expectations. They were called Blackthorn, and they blew Peters away with their Celtic folk music, so much so that he’s asked them to play back-to-back Ski to Sea weekend shows on Fri. and Sat., May 25-26. They’ll be preceded on both nights by fiddler Lynne Newman and Peters himself. Come for dinner and a show and escape the scene on the street. Where: 1114 Harris Ave. Info: http://www.lovittrestaurant.com

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