Outdoors

Polar Express

A frigid adieu to 2020

Do It

More:

WHAT: Ring of Fire and Hope
WHEN: 7pm Thurs., Dec. 31
WHERE: Throughout the shores of Birch Bay
COST: Free

WHAT: “BURR-tual” Polar Bear Plunge
WHEN: Fri., Jan. 1
WHERE: Throughout the shores of Birch Bay
COST: Free
INFO: http://www.birchbaychamber.com

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Submerging oneself in a frigid body of water may seem like a jarring way to welcome a new year, but the times I’ve been brave enough to join my local Lady Polar Bear contingent at high noon on January 1 to dip into the briny waters of Bellingham Bay have made me aware that tingling extremities and chattering teeth are a small price to pay for taking part in an immersive experience that makes me feel reborn.

We’ll have to take precautions on Friday to successfully plunge during the pandemic, but there’s no way my fellow polar bears and I can let 2021 kick in without ritualistically rinsing away the worldwide hellscape that was 2020—even if we plunge solo, or with members of our own households.

The thinking is similar in Birch Bay, where the 38th annual Polar Pear Plunge has temporarily transitioned into the inaugural “BURR-tual” Polar Bear Plunge. Instead of featuring a large-scale gathering of people heading into the water simultaneously, organizers are instead encouraging participants to usher in the new year on their own any time on Fri., Jan. 1.

“This year, we ask you to participate in the Birch Bay Polar Plunge virtually,” they say. “We ask that you only plunge with your immediate household and wear a mask when unable to socially distance from others.”

Those seeking a prime beach spot in Birch Bay throughout the morning and afternoon are also being asked to stay connected with their community members by sharing the fun virtually. Prizes will be awarded from the Chamber of Commerce for their favorite videos and photos, which will need to be received by Jan. 8 for consideration.

Submissions will also be accepted for the “Ring of Fire and Hope” taking place the night before. The annual event is already designed to be a distanced affair, with people spreading out on the Birch Bay shoreline after dark to light biodegradable road flares and place them near the water. With everybody participating, the end result is said to resemble a striking string of red Christmas lights.

The Chamber will have a limited number of flares to hand out starting at 9am on Thurs., Dec. 31, but if your family requires more than one, there’s an online list of local businesses who will be selling them. When picking up your flare—and when participating in the Ring of Fire and Hope—the aforementioned safety precautions will also be in place.

While it’s not necessary to incorporate either fire or water when bidding adieu to an old year, I believe the number of curveballs 2020 threw the universe does call for making waves—whether it’s temporarily transforming into a polar bear to welcome the change that is coming, or simply resolving to make the world a better place during a difficult time in history.

More ...
Skagit Eagle Festival
A private affair

For those contemplating a Skagit Eagle Festival day trip during the month of January, keep in mind that you should limit your interactions with the majestic birds of prey the same way you would if you were following human-related pandemic protocols.

For example, stay away from places…

more »
Quiet Riot
Beating the crowds at Baker

The HVAC crew arrived to replace our furnace just as I finished loading my skis into the trunk, but I didn’t stick around to enjoy a tutorial.

The weather forecast for that particular Monday wasn’t anything to screech about, but the slopes at Heather Meadows were beckoning with the…

more »
Festive Fun
Feel good about doing good

Don’t be alarmed if, in coming days, runners dressed in snazzy seasonal fare such as ugly Christmas sweaters, Santa suits, fuzzy reindeer antlers or the latest in elf fashion cross your path. They’re doing so for a couple of important causes, and you’re invited to don your own costume and…

more »
Wednesday
Origins and Evolutions Exhibit

11:00am

Starting this week, “Origins and Evolutions: Five Generations” can be seen from 11am-4pm Tues.-Thurs., and by appointment, at least through May 22 at Gallery Syre, 465 Stuart Rd. The show…

New Relics

11:00am

A “New Relics” exhibit can be perused from 11am-4pm Tuesday through Saturday through Jan. 30 at Allied Arts, 1418 Cornwall Ave. The exhibit features selections by Nikole Dixon, Jessica…

Energy Club

8:00am

From 8am-9pm, Sustainable Connections hosts an Energy Club Zoom meeting. The virtual event is a “quick and casual” meet-up to give energy-efficiency enthusiasts all of the tools, information…

BAAY Online Winter Classes

10:00am

Registration is still open for Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth’s online winter classes for kids and teens, which continue weekly on Zoom through early April. Students from ages 5 to 17 can…

Kitchen Kit

10:00am

Tiny Onion Cooking School and Bellingham Parks and Rec invite you into the kitchen for an all-ages “Kitchen Kit: Butter and Butterbeer” collaboration. From 3pm-6pm Fri., Jan. 29 or 10am-12pm…

Whatcom Art Market

11:00am

Works by as many as 45 Whatcom Art Guild members can be viewed from 11am-5pm Tuesdays through Sundays at Whatcom Art Market, 1103 11th St. Due to public safety concerns, masks are required…

Winter Warmers Cup Show Benefit

11:00am

An annual “Invitational Cup Show and Winter Warmers” exhibit and benefit can be perused from 11am-5pm Mondays through Saturdays, and 12pm-4pm Sundays through January at Good Earth Pottery,…

From Crime to Classroom

12:00pm

From 12pm-1:30pm, Bellingham City Club continues its efforts to shed light on difficult subjects by hosting special guest speaker Omari Amili of the Humanities Washington Speaker Bureau for a…

Teen Events with WCLS

3:00pm

Students in grades 6 to 12 can sign up for a variety of virtual events through Whatcom County Library System, including “Teen Reads” from 3pm-4pm Wednesdays, “Whatcom Teen Writers” from…

Murder at Andaman

6:00pm

At 6pm, celebrated local author Bharti Kirchner shares her new book, Murder at Andaman, at a virtual event hosted by Village Books. In the tome, private detective Maya Mallick is called when…

Thursday
Origins and Evolutions Exhibit

11:00am

Starting this week, “Origins and Evolutions: Five Generations” can be seen from 11am-4pm Tues.-Thurs., and by appointment, at least through May 22 at Gallery Syre, 465 Stuart Rd. The show…

New Relics

11:00am

A “New Relics” exhibit can be perused from 11am-4pm Tuesday through Saturday through Jan. 30 at Allied Arts, 1418 Cornwall Ave. The exhibit features selections by Nikole Dixon, Jessica…

Energy Club

8:00am

From 8am-9pm, Sustainable Connections hosts an Energy Club Zoom meeting. The virtual event is a “quick and casual” meet-up to give energy-efficiency enthusiasts all of the tools, information…

BAAY Online Winter Classes

10:00am

Registration is still open for Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth’s online winter classes for kids and teens, which continue weekly on Zoom through early April. Students from ages 5 to 17 can…

Kitchen Kit

10:00am

Tiny Onion Cooking School and Bellingham Parks and Rec invite you into the kitchen for an all-ages “Kitchen Kit: Butter and Butterbeer” collaboration. From 3pm-6pm Fri., Jan. 29 or 10am-12pm…

Whatcom Art Market

11:00am

Works by as many as 45 Whatcom Art Guild members can be viewed from 11am-5pm Tuesdays through Sundays at Whatcom Art Market, 1103 11th St. Due to public safety concerns, masks are required…

Winter Warmers Cup Show Benefit

11:00am

An annual “Invitational Cup Show and Winter Warmers” exhibit and benefit can be perused from 11am-5pm Mondays through Saturdays, and 12pm-4pm Sundays through January at Good Earth Pottery,…

From Crime to Classroom

12:00pm

From 12pm-1:30pm, Bellingham City Club continues its efforts to shed light on difficult subjects by hosting special guest speaker Omari Amili of the Humanities Washington Speaker Bureau for a…

Teen Events with WCLS

3:00pm

Students in grades 6 to 12 can sign up for a variety of virtual events through Whatcom County Library System, including “Teen Reads” from 3pm-4pm Wednesdays, “Whatcom Teen Writers” from…

Murder at Andaman

6:00pm

At 6pm, celebrated local author Bharti Kirchner shares her new book, Murder at Andaman, at a virtual event hosted by Village Books. In the tome, private detective Maya Mallick is called when…