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Art’s Alive in La Conner; BelleWood Acres hosts CiderFest

Jean Behnke is among the participants in Art’s Alive, Nov. 5-8, in La Conner.
Jean Behnke is among the participants in Art’s Alive, Nov. 5-8, in La Conner. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Sudden Valley flute-maker and flutist Peter Ali is a strong advocate of traveling to the annual Art’s Alive weekend event in La Conner. He used to live in Skagit Valley and made many friends who were artists or musicians there.

“This will be a great event for Bellingham residents to come down to check out because, really, it’s not that far to go; closer than going to Seattle, for sure,” he says.

The event begins Friday, Nov. 6, with an evening reception hosted by the La Conner Arts Commission at Maple Hall, 104 Commercial St., and continues through Sunday, Nov. 8.

Bellingham painter Tyree Callahan, who has a studio at Waterfront Studios on Central Avenue, is a first-time participant in Art’s Alive, at the invitation of La Conner’s Arts Alive Commission.

He thinks it will be an “art-filled time on the town.”

Jean Behnke, who lives in La Conner and on Lopez Island, has helped to install the Art’s Alive event for years and served on the La Conner Arts Commission, which sponsors the event.

Behnke, who makes objects, sculptural installation and large-format drawings, says Art’s Alive has been a popular weekend event embraced by the regional community.

Other well-known participating artists include Ann Morris, Graham Schodda, Todd Horton, Ann Martin McCool, Ethel Warbus and Robert Gigliotti.

The town itself is adorable, says Callahan, and there are quite a few good places to eat.

La Conner boasts a number of galleries, and The Museum of Northwest Art is a must-see.

“If there are any Bellinghamsters that haven’t been there yet, that needs to be remedied,” Callahan says. “It is a pretty amazing place.”

Cider time at BelleWood Acres

Get your brews on at the CiderFest home-brewing cider competition Saturday, Nov. 7, at BelleWood Acres.

Co-sponsored by Honey Moon Mead and Cider, the event, which was first held in 2011, will feature games; a micro-workshop on the basics of hard cider brewing with Robert Arzoo of North Corner Brewing; music by DJ Pumpkin Smash (aka DJ Clint Westwood) and Latin-African-French jazz by the Bilongo Quintet, and lots of beverages to sample.

CiderFest at BelleWood celebrates the tradition of imbibing finely fermented apples, says BelleWood co-owner Dorie Belisle.

“The resurgence of interest in hard cider celebrates a long history of creating economic stability, preserving farm produce, and offering an artisan craft to entertain and grow with,” she says.

Murphy Evans, co-owner of Honey Moon, says his brewery makes all of their ciders with fresh apples from BelleWood Acres.

“We don’t use concentrate,” he says. “We don’t add sugar. Just fresh, delicious apples from John and Dorie. They have been a great partner and instrumental to our success.”

CiderFest is your chance to try different ciders made in Bellingham from apples grown in Whatcom County.

Children are always welcome at BelleWood, Belisle says, but CiderFest is an adult event that focuses on hard cider. Advance registration is required for the competition; the cost is $15, which includes workshop materials.

The event is free to attend; carboys can be filled at the workshop for $5 a gallon.

Art’s Alive! La Conner

When: 5-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, La Conner.

Cost: Free

Details: 360-466-3125,


When: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7

Where: BelleWood Acres, 6140 Guide Meridian

Details:, 360-318-7720, North Corner Brewing Supply, 1220 Central Ave., 360-714-1186,