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Island Events – Summer 2012

Islanders pull out all the stops in summer, with events packed throughout the season, many of them free. Here are some of our favorites, and while you’re visiting, please remember that June 5 is World Environment Day and June 8 is World Oceans Day, and honor this great earth we call home.


SJ Garden Tour reveals unique private gardens lovingly tended. Sponsored by the San Juan Horticultural Society and the WSU Master Gardeners, each home will have docents to lead walks through the gardens and answer questions. Saturday, June 9th; admission $15; tickets and maps are available at Browne’s Home Center, Robin’s Nest, and Griffin Bay Bookstore.

The Friday Harbor Art Market opens again from June 14 through September 30, on Thursday afternoons from 5pm-8pm at the Brickworks plaza, right next to Coho Restaurant. Check out local artisans for some cool souvenirs, then stop in for dinner at Coho for some great food. For more information on the Art Market, contact Debbie Pigman,, or 360 472-0216.

Jazz at the Labs is a perennial favorite evening of food, fun, and great music. This year’s event is on Saturday, June 16, doors open at 5:30, dinner starts at 6:00pm. The proceeds benefit the Friday Harbor Laboratories K-12 Science Outreach Program in the San Juan Island Elementary, Middle and High Schools and the Spring Street School. This program partners children with scientists, and offers hands-on encounters with science.

Music is by San Juan Jazz Quintet, followed at 7:00 by Seattle’s outstanding jazz band, Chris Amemiya and Jazz Coalescence, featuring some of the Pacific Northwest’s most prominent jazz musicians.  The most commonly heard phrase from last year’s performance was, “These guys can play!”

Tickets are $40 per person, reservations recommended; for information, call Friday Harbor Laboratories at 360 378-2165, Ext 0.

SILVER SEAS: A Photographer’s View of Marine Stewardship, Ernest H. Brooks II, Thursday, June 21, 7pm at the San Juan Community Theatre.

Pioneer underwater photographer, educator, diver, and ambassador to the marine environment, Ernest H. Brooks II, will bring his vision of the world beneath the sea to life in this entertaining multi-media presentation.


From the treacherous waters beneath the polar ice caps and into the depths of every ocean on earth, Brooks will share his stunning photos and will be available for a questions and discussion. “I truly believe the best way we can impress upon the world that the sea is worth saving is by presenting the beauty within it. Only then can people grasp how important the ocean is to everything on this planet,” Brooks stated.

A photography exhibit, “SILVER SEAS: Ernest H. Brooks II, A Retrospective” will be presented at The San Juan Islands Museum of Art from June 22 (opening reception with the artist from 5 pm to 8 pm).

This event is co-sponsored by San Juan County Marie Resources Committee and San Juan Islands Museum of Art and Sculpture Park. Doors open 6:15pm; Dessert Reception with Ernie, 8:30pm; Adults $15, Students $8, RUSH $5

For more information on Ernie and the events: 360-370-0035 email:

Farm to Feast Festival: Coho Chef Bill Messick and other local chefs will be giving cooking demonstrations paired with local farmer’s products on Sunday, June 24th, 1pm-4pm at The Brickworks, right next to Coho Restaurant. The Seattle band Willow and the Embers will be on hand for tunes, and a Beer & Wine Garden will round out the event. Should be a fun time to see and taste first-hand what the area restaurants and farms have to offer. For more information contact Alphonsine Haslet-Phillips.

Fourth of July Parade and Pig War Picnic are quintessential small town Americana. The parade starts at 10:30 am at the corner of Spring and Price Streets, and proceeds down Spring St to First, where it ends. It’s followed by an old-fashioned community picnic at the San Juan Historical Museum grounds around 11:15 when the parade is over, complete with pie-eating contest, cake walk, kids games and barbecue. Here you can enjoy a Kiwanis-sponsored burger while four local bands entertain you, all for only $5. Music follows at the Port of Friday Harbor, and the festive day is topped off with fireworks over the harbor, beginning somewhere between 10:00 & 10:30, when it finally gets dark. All events are free.

Music in the Park at the Friday Harbor Marina starts July 1 and runs through September 2nd. This is the eleventh year the Port is hosting free music concerts, 5pm on Fridays and 2pm on Sundays For more information contact Chinmayo, Music Coordinator (360) 378-2688 or email at:, or see


Family Art Days summer series is an island tradition of free drop-in workshops where children and their families can create a work of art to take home. These workshops are given by well-known local artists, and are held every Saturday in July and August, 11:00am to 4:00pm, at the IMA Sculpture Park at Westcott Bay, near Roche Harbor. For more information and a complete schedule, contact Island Museum of Art & Sculpture Park.


Music on the Lawn is a popular free music event, running every Wednesday at the San Juan Historical Museum lawn, 405 Price Street, 6:30pm. No pets or alcohol allowed, but you can bring blankets, chairs and by all means, bring your picnic supper and join the locals for lovely weather and great tunes. Concerts begin July 11 and run through August 8, showcasing diverse bands from Beatles tunes to rock, Americana, honky-tonk, pop, soul, swing, and more. For a complete listing of concerts, see or check our bulletin board in the Upper Tucker House Reception Center.


Island Stage Left: opens its 13th year of “Shakespeare Under the Stars” with the popular A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is everyone’s perennial favorite, full of laughter, flower children, magic and love, and what more perfect era to set it in than a summer in the late 1960’s? Summer love for everyone!

The play runs July 11-15, 8-22 and 25-29 on the Roche Harbor Outdoor Stage, and August 2-4, 9-11, and 16-18 at 1062 Wold Road. Island Stage Left provides professional theatre for free. Bring a blanket and warm jacket because it does get cold at night; you’ll also need mosquito repellent at the Roche Harbor venue.


Summer Arts Festival: Fine arts & crafts, live music, demos, and an old fashioned pancake breakfast hosted by the Fire Fighters highlight this fun weekend in town.  It’s held on the courthouse lawn and tiny Court Street on July 21 & 22, Saturday 10-5, Sunday 10-4, , 360.378-5240.  For a full listing of the artists and craftspeople, see


Pelindaba Lavender Festival: If you love lavender, or the color purple, or even just relaxing scents and scenery, don’t miss the 11th annual festival at Pelindaba Lavender Farm on Wold Road on July 21 & 22, 10am–5pm. Tours, cutting fields, distillation exhibits, crafts tent, lavender tastings, music, refreshments and cooking demonstrations are all part of the casual-paced event. Inn owner Anna Maria de Freitas will present her popular cooking demonstrations at 12:30 and 2:00 each day. She always brings lots of samples, and loves to answer questions so it’s a great way to learn how to utilize this intriguing culinary ingredient. Admission is free.

Splash of Summer Color Art Festival is a quirky island event, located on the one-block-long Court Street. Original arts and crafts from local and regional talent, food, and live music highlight the day, July 21 -22, and a Kid’s Creative Center and the “Chalk it Up” Sidewalk Art Contest  make this a fun destination for all ages. Start the morning with an old fashioned pancake breakfast hosted by the Fire Fighters from 7am-12noon, then walk across the street to the shade of the historic San Juan County Courthouse for a day of fun. For more information contact San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce. Festival runs  10am-5pm. , For more information call 360.378-5240 or visit


Encampment is the annual highlight of the National Park Service summer program. Held at English Camp, July 28 & 29 this year, re-enactors from throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada encamp for two days, sharing their knowledge of the region’s 19th century frontier past with visitors. On Saturday evening the park celebrates the peaceful resolution of the Pig War crisis with dancing and the traditional punch and cake during the Candlelight Ball. It includes camp life, blacksmithing, cookery, woodworking and drilling. Admission is free. For more information and park hours, check the National Park Service website.

The Annual San Juan County Fair is a sweet, small-town country affair with the feeling of an arts festival. For over 100 years, the island communities have been coming together to celebrate island life with 4-H competitions, agricultural shows, events, recreational activities, and of course, the “i-wouldn’t-eat-it-any-other-time” fair food. Try an Elephant Eat – best to share it if you’re not accustomed to fair food! For a listing of events, see August 15-18, 10am-9pm most days; multi-day passes available at discounted rate.

Concours d’Elegance wraps up the island festivities at the San Juan Vineyards on Sunday, August 26th , 9am-3pm. Co-sponsored by The Sports Car Club of the San Juan Islands and the Rotary Club of San Juan Island, this 6th annual event raises funds for local charities/non-profits. Drool over vintage Mercedes, Corvettes, BMW’s, Mustangs and other classic beauties, including 50 years of Porsche 911’s. For more information contact Jim Corenman, 360 378-556 or Tom Kirschner 360 378-5240,

For a full listing of island events, visit the San Juan Island Visitors Bureau website.

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