New climbing wall is a key part to remodel of Bellingham cafe

Kyle Fugier, business manager for Skookum Kids, demonstrates one of many games on an augmented climbing wall by Valo Motion at Perch and Play on Tuesday, Aug. 1, in Bellingham.
Kyle Fugier, business manager for Skookum Kids, demonstrates one of many games on an augmented climbing wall by Valo Motion at Perch and Play on Tuesday, Aug. 1, in Bellingham. eabell@bhamherald.com

A Bellingham cafe known as a hangout for children has finished a major makeover that includes a climbing wall.

Perch and Play will have a grand re-opening on Monday, Aug. 7 following a month-long renovation. One of the key new features is an augmented climbing wall, which uses graphics and body-tracking equipment to create interactive games and training exercises. Perch and Play also has a cafe, giving parents a place to relax while children enjoy an indoor play area.

The re-opening celebration will be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. At 5 p.m. the climbing wall will be open for adults only to try out.

“I’m really excited to see how excited kids are when they see something built just for them,” said Kyle Fugier, business manager at Perch and Play, in a news release. “This is not a huge project that was built for some business to make a lot of money, we built this for the kids to enjoy.”

The cafe was purchased in January by the nonprofit organization Skookum Kids, which was founded by Ray Deck III. The organization focuses on caring for Whatcom County foster children and those transitioning into foster care. While open to the public, Perch and Play is meant to also be a de facto watering hole for foster parents. Along with Perch and Play, the organization’s other programs are Skookum House and Skookum Parents.

“Our other programs are by necessity extremely private,” Deck said. “It can be tough when you can’t tell people where your office is to find the broad base of support that’s required to grow something. Perch and Play gives us a public front door.”

After the re-opening, Perch and Play will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the summer. Details about the cafe and play area can be found at perchandplay.com. For information about Skookum Kids, go to Skookumkids.org.


Aloha Poke in Fairhaven is changing its name after receiving a cease-and-desist order from a company that has a trademark. That company is based in Chicago and has several restaurants with that name.

David Jacobsen, owner of the Fairhaven restaurant, decided not to fight the order and took to Facebook to get suggestions for a name change. One Facebook follower suggest Fairhaven Poke, and Jacobsen decided to go with that.

“We love being in Fairhaven and thought this would be the most logical choice,” Jacobsen said.

The Fairhaven restaurant is hitting its first-year anniversary this month. It features fresh Hawaiian Ahi tuna, shipped in via air cargo on Alaska Airlines. It is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day and is also at the Saturday Bellingham Farmer’s Market.


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