Ski to Sea 2016 started in the rain and slush at the Mt. Baker Ski Area, but near the finish line in Fairhaven the sky cleared just in time for the annual street fair celebrating Whatcom County’s iconic relay race.
Thousands of people wandered streets that were closed to traffic as food vendors, retailers and others set up booths and tents occupying several blocks of the Fairhaven business district. Artists including Asian dancers performed at the Village Green, where spectators relaxed on the grass and nibbled confections such as ice cream Dippin Dots. Bands played on a stage near McKenzie Avenue and 11th Street in the heart of town. Food vendors sold pulled-pork sandwiches, Indian curries and kettle corn. Children could play in bounce houses, take pony rides or get balloon animals.
“He’s having so much fun,” said Jhoanna Antonio of Bellingham, who bought a “bubble gun” — a big water pistol that squirts soap bubbles — for her young son Adrian from one of the vendors.
“I don’t remember it being this much fun,” said Antonio, who often has to work on the holiday weekend and miss the Fairhaven Festival.
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Lori Morrow was browsing the vendors and food booths with a friend in the early afternoon sun as temperatures rose to the low 60s.
“I ran into some friends that I hadn’t seen in a while,” she said. “This is so much of an improvement over yesterday,” she said, when rain, wind and lower temperatures dampened Saturday’s festivities.
Randy Osborn of Bellingham was staffing a booth with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1585 in an effort to draw attention to the real meaning of the Memorial Day weekend.
“We honor all of our fallen veterans, those who did not come back to the U.S.,” said Osborn, who was a petty officer third class in the Navy and served on the ground near Danang, Vietnam, from 1969-70, escorting supply shipments to infantry troops.
Rachel Locklin of Bellingham Balloon Fairies was making twisty creations for children while dressed in a bright fairy costume.
“In years past, it’s been raining, but this year the sun came out just in time,” Locklin said. “It’s bringing everyone out.”