Ski to Sea — Whatcom County’s epic Memorial Day Weekend race — takes place May 28, 2017. Known as “the original adventure race”, this annual tradition began in 1973 and is still going strong over 40 years later. Teams begin at Mount Baker ski area, traversing 93 miles over a seven-leg relay. Officially, it all ends at Marine Park in Fairhaven, where kayakers hop out of their vessels and run to the ring the bell at the finish line. But, no Bellingham race would be complete without celebratory pints of local craft beer, and Ski to Sea does not disappoint. Here’s where to celebrate Ski to Sea with local suds around town.
Friday, May 26
Boundary Bay Block Party: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Boundary Bay bookends the weekend with two special Ski to Sea events. First, the Block Party. This beloved tradition has kicked off Ski to Sea weekend for who-knows-how-long — and it’s fun for the whole family. Check out live music by Jasmine Greene and The Atlantics in the beer garden. Snag a free raffle ticket (and purchase a few more) for a chance at some big prizes, including the Grand Prize package: a sunset cruise for two with Gato Verde, a suite at the Chrysalis Inn, dinner at Mambo Italiano and two pints at Stones Throw Brewery.
Boundary Bay brews the official race beer, Ski to Sea ESB. Be sure to try some at the Block Party, and take a few home in cans, bottles, or a growler. This easy-drinking seasonal release is a traditional English-style pale ale, dry-hopped with UK Fuggles.
Saturday, May 27
Stone’s Throw Block Party: 12 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Chances are you’ll find yourself in Fairhaven over the weekend. And when you do, Stones Throw’s got your back with weekend-long events.
The big southside shindig to be(er) aware of is Stones Throw’s Block Party. This one’s also all ages, with live music, food trucks, games, and of course plenty of beer. Rock out to Old Town Tonic, The Penny Stinkers, and Yogoman Burning Band all day, before Badd Dog Blues Society brings down the house from 7-9 p,m.
Sunday, May 28
Come race day, the celebratory options are numerous. Whether you’re competing in Ski to Sea or just here for the beer, there are plenty of possibilities for everyone.
Historic Fairhaven Festival: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Celebrate in the streets at Fairhaven’s biggest festival of the year. Featuring two stages with live music, over 100 food and street vendors, and a beer and wine garden starting at 12pm, this one takes the cake for highest party potential. Jive to cover songs by D’vas and Dudes, Space Band, and Sunset Superman on main stage. Head over to the Village Green stage for tunes from Out of the Ashes, Bellingham Silk Road Dancers, and more. Be sure to walk, ride, or take advantage of public transit to Fairhaven, as parking can be a mess. Whatcom Transit Authority has you covered with extra service — including $1 rides from WWU park-n-ride and downtown to Fairhaven.
When you’ve had your fill of the festival, walk half a mile down Harris Avenue to the finish line at Marine Park to watch the kayakers come in. The beer garden gets jam-packed, so show up early to secure a spot. You know the drill by now: food vendors will be on hand, and Boundary Bay will be serving Ski to Sea ESB alongside their IPA, Blonde, and Scotch.
Paws for a Beer: 12 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Another great option in Fairhaven (especially if you’re a dog lover) is Paws for a Beer. They are hosting a dog-members only event, which means exactly what it sounds like. Only registered dogs allowed! This event is open to the (human) public and will also feature live music and food trucks. Make your furry friend a member before the event to secure his or her spot.
Ski to Sea Revitalization: 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
End the weekend where you started it: back at Boundary Bay. For those who just can’t get enough of that Ski to Sea ESB, this is the place to be. Live music in the beer garden will be provided by Woolly Breeches & Hot Damn Scandal. Cheers!
Check out Todd’s blog post for more info on Summer Race Season in Bellingham.