BELLINGHAM - Whatcom County's biggest celebration, two weeks jam-packed with events leading up to Ski to Sea, kicks off this Friday, May 16, with the Junior Ski to Sea parade.
The parade will start at 6 p.m. at Cornwall Avenue at Kearney Street in Bellingham. The route follows Cornwall and ends at Railroad Avenue and Champion Street.
It's too late to register a float, but other participants can start lining up at 4:15 p.m. and judging begins at 4:30.
Judges selected by the parade committee will give out awards for best pet, best large float, best small float, best group, best decorated bike, best novelty, best drill group, four judges' awards, the top three bands, and a grand prize.
A friendly reminder from the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce, which coordinates Junior Ski to Sea: don't hand out candy or materials along the line of marchers in the parade - that is only allowed on the sidewalk behind the crowd. Alcohol is also prohibited.
Junior Ski to Sea Race
Thousands of participants and spectators are expected to fill the park at Lake Padden for the 23rd annual Junior Ski to Sea race Saturday, May 17.
Teams made up of six people partake in a 5-leg race made up of running, biking, soccer, a three-legged race and an obstacle course.
Elementary school races, for those in third through fifth grade, open for check-in at 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and start at 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Check-in for the middle school and community races, open to sixth through eight grade and all community members, starts at 11 a.m. and that race starts at noon.
Parking is very limited, and with all those people eager to check out the race, spectators might want to hop on the free shuttle that will run from the West Entrance near the swimming area to the race at the east entrance from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Plan on extra time to get there if you take the shuttle.
Volunteer Appreciation Barbecue
The volunteers who help pull off Ski to Sea are invited to a free barbecue from noon to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at Bloedel Donovan Park in Bellingham.
The first 100 volunteers to get there will get an official 2014 Ski to Sea beer glass.
The Upfront Theater will provide entertainment and attendees can enter a raffle for prizes from Fairhaven Runner, Fairhaven Bike and Ski, Pickford Film Center and more.
For more information visit the Ski to Sea website: SkiToSea.com.
"The Mountain Runners"
Pickford Film Center will show "The Mountain Runners," the story of the mountain marathon that evolved into Ski to Sea, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 22 at 1318 Bay St.
The first race to the summit at Mount Baker took place in 1911. The event was so dangerous, it was cancelled after three years, according to the Ski to Sea website. The event was revived in 1973 and the relay-style race was born.
The Friends of Bellingham Public Library Used Book Sale
The annual Ski to Sea book sale will take place May 21 through 24 at the Bellingham Public Library at 210 Central Ave.
On Wednesday and Thursday, book lovers can pick up most books for about $1 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Friday, thrifty book worms can browse from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for half-price day.
Finally, on Saturday, frugal fiction fans can scan the final books left (probably some non-fiction too!) and pick out a bag for $4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Reach Samantha Wohlfeil at Samantha.Wohlfeil@bellinghamherald.com.