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Island Celebrations

Island Celebrations

One of the new Trail Tales interpretive signs that will be installed this spring shares a bit of history about the "Island Celebrations" that Anacortes has held since the1890s. We thought we'd share with you a sneak preview of the sign, and offer some more about the wonderful old Marineers' Pageants held in the "30's and '40's:

Excerpt from new interpretive sign:

Since its days as an insular port city, Anacortes has loved a party.

When there were no roads to connect them, early settlers convened by boat for balls and midnight suppers.

In 1876, citizens honored the US Centennial with a 24 hour bash that lasted 'til dawn. Songs and patriotic orations were followed by games, dancing, and praise for the ladies' sumptuous food.

Today's waterfront festival harkens back to the Marineers'  Pageant that launched in 1937.  Touting its marine heritage, Anacortes hosted the multi-day festival with hydroplane and Indian canoe races, waterskiing, a pageant queen and grand parade.

Anacortes businesses and citizens held the summer pageant for 8 of the 12 years between 1937 and 1949 (missing 1942 – '46) and brought thousands of visitors to the city. The Anacortes Museum website reports: "Events during those years included Indian canoe races, a Mass Wedding at Causland Park in 1938, a "Cat-putter-outer Contest", pageant royalty, water events off the Marine Stadium (amphitheater) located on Cap Sante, and, of course, the parades. One parade was for children, and the other was for floats, marching bands, and other units."

GirlsThe festivities even captured the attention of Life Magazine in1948 as this article in the Anacortes American (Bulletin) reports:  "Representatives of LIFE Magazine in town for various pageant shots spent an hour Sunday morning at Causland Park taking pictures of the Queen and her Court in their formal attire in the beautiful Queen's Float."

Later they took pictures of the girls on the lawn of the Packard home on Cap Sante.

Last year some of the Trail Tales Volunteers visited the old amphitheater site for one of our meetings. We all have much in common with the earlier Anacortes residents who celebrated their lovely town and close association with the shoreline, waters and forests that we continue to enjoy today.

Perhaps you can join in some of the upcoming season of walks and events to share the history and the present through the Trail Tales program. Look for the new interpretive signs in June to learn more about the Island Celebrations of the past.

TT Docents at Cap Sante Ampi


All photos courtesy the Anacortes Museum

Top:  1947 Marineer's Pagent at Cap Sante Amphitheater

Middle: 1948 Marineer's Pageant royalty at home of Doris and Lyle Packard on east side of Cap Sante at the end of 5th Street. (demolished in 2012)

Bottom:  Trail Tales docents at Cap Sante Amphitheater in 2014

Padilla Bay Volunteer Program

Padilla Bay Volunteer Program

The new Padilla Bay Volunteer Program is off and running! New Volunteer Coordinator, Catherine Buchalski, has been busy meeting with Padilla Bay Reserve staff and funding partners to develop a framework for this volunteer consortium. Everyone is feeling very positive and excited about the future! To share that energy with you, the Padilla Bay Foundation is partnering with our fellow non-profit Friends of Skagit Beaches to host an open house from 1-3:30PM after the Friends' annual meeting on January 30. We will provide information about the new Padilla Bay Volunteer program, provide details about upcoming training events and volunteer opportunities in 2015, and get your input on what you hope to see happen over the next year. It will also be a unique opportunity to learn about and actively explore the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. We'll have materials available for you to officially sign-up and register as a Padilla Bay Volunteer, and a door prize just for attending.

Mark Friday, January 30th on your calendars now - you won't want to miss this event! If you have any questions about the open house or the program, please contact Catherine via e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone: 360.428.1559.

Trail Tales signs phase 2

Trail Tales signs phase 2

A second group of interpretive signs is currently in development and we are hoping to have them installed by the end of May 2015.  Betty Carteret and Jan Hersey are developing the text and images for the signs and working with the graphic design firm EDX Exhibit Designs in Seattle.  They are the same firm we worked with on the first group of signs and we will be using the same design templates (see photo).  The new interpretive walk will start at the southwest corner of the Marine Technology Center property near the intersection of 17th and Q in Anacortes.  The signs will follow Q Avenue then turn right to line the waterfront of the Cap Sante Marina before crossing to the Guemes Channel at the habitat restoration site completed last year by the Port of Anacortes at the old Wyman's Marina location.  Sign topics will include topics covering Anacortes History, the Anacortes Baywide Cleanup, protecting the bay through use of green technologies and design, and stories of our marine waterfront – past and present.  We hope to host a "grand opening" ribbon cutting and walking tour after the signs are installed.

Fidalgo Shoreline Academy 2015

Fidalgo Shoreline Academy 2015

Friends of Skagit Beaches is pleased to announce the 4th Annual Fidalgo Shoreline Academy, A One Day University for Everyone on Saturday, April 11 from 9 AM-4 PM at the Fidalgo Bay Resort in Anacortes. Chose from a variety of presentations about current issues facing our marine environment, exciting new research from NOAA, and an array of topics about Salish Sea ecosystems and culture. This year's Keynote speaker is Dr. Joe Gaydos, Senior Wildlife Veterinarian and the Chief Scientist for the SeaDoc Society.  SeaDoc is a science-based marine conservation program of the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center located on Orcas Island that has a focus on designing a healthy Salish Sea. For over a decade Joe has been working on wildlife health and ecosystem health issues in the Pacific Northwest. He has published dozens of peer-reviewed scientific papers on topics related to diseases that impact human and wild animal health in species like harbor seals, river otters, porpoise and killer whales. While he's a bit of science nerd, he also has a passion for all things wild: wildlife, wild places and wild people. Joe works to connect people to the amazing resources of the Salish Sea and was recently honored with the 2014 Seattle Aquarium Conservation Research Award, and we're excited to offer a book signing opportunity for his recently co-authored book, The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest, at the event.

Online registration will be available in February on the Friends of Skagit Beaches website.

Winter 2015 Lecture Series

Winter 2015 Lecture Series

The Winter Lecture Series sponsored by Friends of Skagit Beaches will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2015. This lecture series was started as a class project of a group of local Beach Watchers during their 2005 training and has become a popular winter event in Anacortes. During the last several years, audiences routinely exceed 100 attendees - so come early to get a good seat. The lectures are presented on the second Friday at 7PM in the Northwest Educational Services District Building. Lecture dates: January 9th, February 13th, March 13th, and April 10th

Dr. Andy Bunn a WWU Environmental Sciences professor will be the first guest speaker on January 9th and will be discussing research in the Arctic mammoth tundra that once spanned from France to China. He'll be discussing the question of whether restoring this habitat could help fight climate change.

For more information, visit the Friends website calendar. You can also pick up a series flyer with dates and topics at a variety of locations around town including the library, senior center, and a number of local businesses.