Berries, clear skies and outdoor movies mean summertime fun

Berry picking

Whatcom County is renowned for its red raspberries, strawberries and blueberries.

These summer crops draw local residents and tourists alike to farmers markets, roadside stands and U-pick operations such as the popular Boxx Berry Farm, 6211 Northwest Road in Ferndale, which also has a market store and activities for children during the harvest season. Call 360-380-2699 or go online to boxxberryfarm.com for crop availability and hours. The Bellingham Herald publishes a listing of Whatcom County U-pick stands — usually on the first Sunday in June — for various kinds of produce, including berries.

But everyone limits their berry picking to domestic fruits. Those who venture into the North Cascades high county savor the abundant wild blueberries, which ripe in late summer and fall along popular hiking trails.

“Summer also means berries,” said Holly Roger of the environmental education program Wild Whatcom, who favors foraging over U-pick.

“First come the salmonberries, then thimbleberries (my favorites), red huckleberries, salal. Squires Lake is ripe with thimbleberries and red huckleberries just a bit later in July, might be earlier this year. And Lake Padden,” Roger wrote in an email.

Telescopes in the park

Several times during the summer months, members of the Whatcom Association of Celestial Observers bring their telescopes to Boulevard Park for free public viewing sessions that offer a chance to see sun spots (through safe filters), craters on the moon and Saturn’s rings.

“The vast majority of the public has never looked through a telescope. People generally are impressed,” said WACO’s Richard Just. “It’s not a book or a magazine — it’s live.”

At the viewing events, those who are considering buying a telescope can learn more about the different types of scopes and their advantages and disadvantages, Just said.

This summer, telescopes will be available during first quarter moons from 6:30-10 p.m. Sunday, June 12; Monday, July 11; Wednesday, Aug. 10; and Friday, Sept. 9. In addition, “star parties” are planned at Artist Point at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 9; Saturday, July 30; and Saturday, Aug. 27. Though these Artist Point events are not officially for the public, curious viewers are welcome, Just said.

As always, telescope viewing events and star parties are canceled if it’s cloudy. For more information, go online to whatcomastronomy.org.

Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema

One of Bellingham’s most iconic summer events is the Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema, which will be entering its seventeenth season of movies shown on big screen at the Village Green on Saturday evenings from June 25 to Aug. 27 — the traditional finale film is “The Princess Bride.”

It’s always a carnival atmosphere, with live entertainment before the feature film, and vendors with hot food and snacks at the Fairhaven Village Green on the corner of 10th Sreet. and Mill Avenue.

Admission is $5 per person; free for children 5 and younger. Most folks bring a blanket to spread on the grass. Lawn chairs are allowed only on the brick area surrounding the lawn and space there is limited.

Movies generally start at dusk; the times of pre-movie events may vary. For more information, and for a complete schedule, go online to epiceap.com/fairhaven-outdoor-cinema/.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-715-2805, @bhamMitty