Summer festivals bring fun to Whatcom County

Athletes and bands compete in the Bellingham Scottish Highland Games in 2013 in Ferndale. The 2016 games are June 3-5 at Hovander Homestead Park, 5299 Nielson Ave.
Athletes and bands compete in the Bellingham Scottish Highland Games in 2013 in Ferndale. The 2016 games are June 3-5 at Hovander Homestead Park, 5299 Nielson Ave. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Raspberries and rodeos, carnival rides, parades and classical music – Whatcom County draws hundreds of local folks and tourists from near and far to enjoy summer festivals in the Fourth Corner.

Here are some of the special events that are unique to our part of the world, but since there’s nearly a festival of some kind every weekend between Memorial Day and Labor Day, it’s a good idea to check Take Five, The Bellingham Herald’s arts and entertainment section, each Thursday to get the latest on what’s happening, both in Whatcom County and regionally – around the state, in Seattle and the Greater Mainland of British Columbia.

Some of the events are free, and some charge admission.

A few Web sites that are useful for planning your summer fun:

bellingham.org, Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism

experiencewa.com, Washington State Tourism

hellobc.com, British Columbia Tourism.

Bellingham Scottish Highland Games

June 3-5

Hovander Homestead Park, 5299 Nielson Ave., Ferndale

The family-friendly festival includes competition in piping, drumming, dancing, and athletics, plus fiddle and harp performances.

Details: 360-647-8500, bellinghamhighland.org

Farmers Day Parade

June 4

Downtown Lynden

The parade, open to all (and free; no registration required), begins at 10:30 a.m. at 10th and Front Street, and runs to third street, with tractors, trucks, cars, horses and bands celebrating the agricultural community of Whatcom County.

Details: 360-354-5995, lynden.org

Lummi Stommish Water Festival

June 10-12

Lummi Reservation, Gooseberry Point

The Lummi Stommish Water Festival began in 1946, when World War II veterans were coming home and Lummi World War I veterans decided to gather in celebration of their safe return. It’s now an internationally known gathering that includes the “War Canoe” races, a Sla-hal bone game tournament and a veterans pow wow, with athletic events, traditional singing and dancing, a traditional Lummi-style salmon barbecue, a carnival and a moonlight concert series featuring native entertainers throughout the weekend. Admission is free.

Details: 360-393-2649, 360-927-0538, lumminationstommish.com

The Deming Logging Show

June 11-12

Deming Logging Showgrounds, 3295 Cedarville Road, near Nugents Corner

The Deming Logging Show got its start over 40 years ago, when an injured logger needed financial assistance. Proceeds from the annual event still go to “busted-up” loggers and their families in crisis. Loggers from Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish counties compete in cable splicing, speed climbing, ax throwing and log rolling, with occasional regional competitors. Guests can also tour the logging museum and have a salmon, beef and chicken barbecue, served by members of the Ladies Auxiliary. Each year, an old-time logger is honored as the “Bull of the Woods.”

Details: 360-592-2642, 360-815-5461, demingloggingshow.com

International Arts Festival

June 24-25

Peace Arch Park, Blaine

The juried festival held on the U.S. side of Peace Arch Park showcases works by artists from both sides of the boarder, with music, dance, gourmet food and more.

Details: 360-332-4544, blainchamber.com, peacearchart.org,

Coast Salish Days

June 25-26

Birch Bay waterfront, Blaine

The inaugural event, sponsored by Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Coast Salish Nations, features a film festival, a parade, a street fair, sand sculpture contests, live music, and the centerpiece event, the landing of the canoes.

Details: 360-223-3047, 360-371-5004, birchbaychamber.com

Sumas Bull-O-Rama

July 9 and Sept. 10

Rodeo grounds at Howard Bowen Memorial Park, 1550 Cherry St., Sumas

Young and old compete in bull riding, a chariot race and more, with special events for youngsters like a calf scramble for ages 7 through 12 and mutton busting for kids 5-7. Presale tickets are $10, $12 adults, $5 for age 7-12 at the gate.

Also taking place at the rodeo grounds: the Junior Rodeo on July 30 and 31.

Details: 360-988-2028, sumaschamber.com

Bellingham Festival of Music

July 1-17

Western Washington University and Bellingham Cruise Terminal

The music festival presents a roster of world-class classical musicians performing in orchestral and chamber-music concerts. The festival draws hundreds of classical-music aficionados from around the world. Conductor Michael Palmer is the festival’s artistic director.

Tickets: 360-650-6146, tickets.wwu.edu.

Festival details: 360-201-6621, bellinghamfestival.org

Everson-Nooksack Family Festival

July 8-10

Everson and Nooksack city parks

The old-fashioned, small-town festival features a parade through town, softball and horseshoe tournaments, a fun run, a carnival and kids’ games.

Details: 360-966-3407, eversonnooksackchamber.org

Bellingham Pride Festival

July 9-10

Bloedel Donovan Park, Depot Market Square

The annual festival centers on a family picnic on July 9 at Bloedel Donovan Park, and a parade through downtown Bellingham on July 10, followed by activities at Depot Market Square, including vendors, children’s activities and appearances by local and state dignitaries.

Details: 360-389-2929, bhampride.org

Drayton Harbor Music Festival

July 10-16

Blaine Performing Arts Center, Blaine boardwalk

The Pacific Arts Foundation brings professional musicians from the United States and Canada to present classes and rehearsals for young jazz instrumentalists and vocalists, ages 12 through 19. The festival culminates in numerous semi-formal and informal concerts by the students and their mentors.

Details: 360-820-8312, draytonharbormusic.org

Raspberry Festival

July 15-16

Downtown Lynden

Celebrate our state’s status as the number one producer of raspberries in the world, with more than 8,000 acres of the delicious berry in Whatcom County alone. Events for the festival include the Curt Maberry 3-on-3 basketball tournament; a fun run and walk benefit for cancer; live jazz; street vendors; food booths; and a classic car show.

Details: 360-354-5995, lynden.org

The Fantastical Mr. Flip’s Carnival of Wonders and Curiosities

July 23

Fairhaven Village Green, 10th Street and Mill Avenue

Bellingham’s Steampunk festival, now in its fifth year, includes a showcase of music, art, and literature, plus vendors, costume contests, presentations and games for all ages.

Details: bellinghamsteampunk.org

Birch Bay Sand Sculpture Contest

July 23-24

Birch Bay waterfront (approximately 7930 Birch Bay Drive, Blaine)

More than just castles in the sand, the 33rd annual event is a fun challenge for individuals and teams to use their imaginations to build short-lived creations that will leave with the tides.

Details: 360-371-5004, birchbaychamber.com

Marrowstone Music Festival

July 24-Aug. 7

Western Washington University

Founded in 1943, this comprehensive summer orchestra training program offers more than 200 musicians, ages 14 to 25 from all over the world to study with an internationally acclaimed faculty at the campus of Western Washington University. During the program students and faculty present public concerts and recitals.

Performance tickets: 360-650-6146, tickets.wwu.edu

Festival details: 206-362-2300, marrowstone.org

Old Settlers’ Picnic

July 28-31

Pioneer Park and downtown Ferndale

The Whatcom County Old Settlers Association presents what’s called a “picnic,” first held in on the Pioneer Park grounds in 1896; but it’s actually a full three days of live entertainment, including a barn dance, a junior and a grand parade, a fun run/walk and a classic car show, and tours of the historic cabins at Pioneer Park by members of the Ferndale Heritage Society. The purpose of the event is to honor and keep alive the memory of the early settlers of the Nooksack River Valley.

Details: 360-739-3319 or 360-384-4021, whatcomoldsettlers.com

Mt. Baker Rhythm & Blues Festival

July 28-31

Deming Logging Show Grounds

3295 Cedarville Road, near Nugents Corner

Now in its 21st year, promoter and blues-diehard Lloyd Peterson has presented a packed schedule of top musicians from across the country, first at a tree farm in Deming, and now at the larger space, outdoors at the Deming Logging Show grounds, which allows for overnight campers and RV-hookups.

Tickets are available at Avalon Music in Bellingham, as well as through the Web site.

Details: 360-383-0850, bakerblues.com

Birch Bay Music Festival

July 29-31

Homestead Golf Course, 7878 Birch Bay Drive, Blaine

The family-friendly musical event, which began in 2010, supports local no-kill animal rescues for dogs, cats and orca whales, including the Alternative Humane Society, Rescued Hearts Northwest, Friends for Life Canine Scholarship Program, Happy Tails Happy Homes, Furbaby Rescue, Creature Comfort’s Comfort Cat Rescue and the Orca Network. Pets (on leashes) are welcome to attend.

Details: 360-421-6838, birchbaymusicfestival.com

Puget Sound Antique Tractor Show & Threshing Bee

Aug. 3-6

Berthusen Park, 8837 Berthusen Road, west of Lynden

The Puget Sound Antique Tractor & Machinery Association hosts Threshing, sawmill demonstrations, gas engines, tractor pulling, antique vehicles, bookstore, corn grinding, steam engines and blacksmithing, as well as kids’ events like a pedal-tractor pull, candy scramble, watermelon eating, and a youth driver safety class.

Details: 360-354-4181, 360-988-4172, psatma.com

Drayton Harbor Days

Aug. 6-7

Blaine Marina and Semiahmoo Spit

This annual event is jam-packed with kids’ games, crafts, scavenger hunt, the “Prestigious George Raft Race,” a pirate costume contest, arts, crafts and food vendors, vintage steam boats and live entertainment.

Details: 360-332-4544, 360-647-6176, draytonharbormaritime.org

Subdued String Band Jamboree

Aug. 11-13

Deming Logging Showgrounds, 3295 Cedarville Road, near Nugents Corner

Robert Sarazin Blake, who divides his musical touring between the United States and Ireland, is the organizer of this three-day, family-friendly festival of old-timey, bluegrass and root-Americana informal concerts, campfire jams, square dancing and workshops, now in its 16th year.

Details: 360-348-3393, stringbandjamboree.com

Rollback Weekend

Aug. 12-13

Birch Bay State Park, 5105 Helweg Road, Blaine

Return to the good ol’ days of poodle skirts and cruising cars in the second annual event, which features a car show, live music and other entertainment, arts and crafts vendors and fun for kids.

Details: 360-371-5004, birchbaychamber.com

Northwest Washington Fair

Aug. 15-20

Northwest Washington Fair & Events Center, 1775 Front St., Lynden

Carnival rides, traditional fair food, grandstand entertainers, a demolition derby, a rodeo, animal exhibits, quilts, canning, arts, photography, 4H and FFA exhibits are among the favorites from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Carnival hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Details: 360-354-4111, nwwafair.com

Ferndale Street Festival

Aug. 26-27

Downtown Ferndale

The free Ferndale Street Festival features live music, a car show, food and craft vendors and an entire block dedicated to the family and kids with their own stage acts.

Details: 360-384-3042, ferndalestreetfestival.com

Birch Bay Discovery Days and Crab Fest

Aug. 27-28

Birch Bay Drive

Family-friendly activities include a grand parade down Birch Bay Drive, and arts and crafts fair, a ducky derby, live music and a crab derby and boil.

Details: 360-371-5004, birchbaychamber.com

Hovander Homestead Bluegrass Festival

Sept. 2-5

Hovander Homestead Park, 5299 Nielson Ave., Ferndale

The inaugural Hovander Homestead Bluegrass Festival, hosted by Whatcom Parks and Recreation Foundation, includes a main stage with live bluegrass music and entertainment from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; nationally recognized bluegrass bands, emerging artists from across the country and plenty of top-notch local talent; camping from Friday afternoon to noon Monday; craft and food vendors; a beer garden; instrument contests, workshops and jam sessions; and children’s entertainment and activities. Early-bird tickets are available through Aug. 15. Tickets range from daily tickets to weekend passes; camping is extra.

Details: 360-474-7715, hhbgf.org

The Bite of Bellingham festival scheduled for September has been cancelled. The story was updated June 2.

Margaret Bikman: 360-715-2273, @bhamentertainme