Three parties, one big day; town turns 100 on Feb. 9

Friday Harbor High School
Friday Harbor High School's Class of 1928. Do you have a relative in this picture? See other class pictures in Jeri's Mall on Spring Street.
— image credit: Friday Harbor High School Class of 1928

Have any vintage clothing? Take out those duds and dust them off: Friday Harbor is pulling out all the stops for its 100th birthday Feb. 9.

The town’s centennial will be celebrated at three venues that day, with free exhibits, a time capsule, birthday cakes, daylong refreshments, live music and dancing, a speech by Mayor David Jones, and the judging of the beard-growing contest, capped by a community dinner at the San Juan Island Yacht Club.

Jones has declared a “moratorium” on parking enforcement that day. That means, you can park and walk to the parties without fear of a parking ticket.

Residents are being encouraged by the Centennial Advisory Committee to dress in period costume. And some businesses are planning to work the numbers 1909 into their prices, like $19.09 for certain entrees or other products.

And the American Legion Museum on First Street will be open to the public all day. The museum features displays of memorabilia from the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I and II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the conflicts in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.

Friday Harbor was incorporated Feb. 9, 1909, the result of a 70-55 vote of residents a week earlier. The town began celebrating its centennial at the 2008 county fair; the celebration continues through the 2009 county fair. But Feb. 9 is The Big Day.

The first party begins at 2 p.m. and continues until 8 at the San Juan Island Grange Hall (which was built in 1907). The party is free and open to the public.

You can peruse the exhibits, sign a scroll that will be placed into a time capsule, and enjoy live music by Uncle Otto and other entertainers. The book, “Friday Harbor,” by Mike and Julia Vouri and the San Juan Historical Society will be available for sale. The photo history was published by Arcadia Publishing Co. as part of its Images of America series.

Mayor Jones, the 27th mayor of Friday Harbor, will read a proclamation at 3:30 p.m. and cut the cake. He will be joined by former mayors Gary Boothman, Jim Cahail and Bill LaPorte. Also expected to participate is Candy Dossett, whose father and grandfather served as mayor. Her grandmother’s first cousin was Gene Gould, the first mayor of Friday Harbor.

Don’t miss a musical surprise planned by Devorah, the day’s entertainment coordinator, from 4-4:45 p.m.

(There will actually be two cakes, by Bakery San Juan. We won’t give away the secret, but one tastes just like the cakes grandma used to make. The other is chocolate mousse, but a taste test revealed it could be called “death by chocolate.”)

Then, from 3:30-8 p.m., another party kicks off at the Friday Harbor Fire Station. Hamburgers, hot dogs and other picnic fare will be available.

The Friday Harbor High School Jazz Band, One More Time Band, and the San Juan Jazz Quintet will perform on stage. From 5:30-6:30 p.m., you can get a look at the handsomest beards Friday Harbor has seen since Stephen Boyce, Charles McKay and Edward Warbass graced our town. Judges will determine the winners of the Island Rec Beard-Growing Contest.

Finally, the Centennial Dinner-Dance begins at 6 p.m. at the yacht club. The dinner is sponsored by the town with the assistance of the Kiwanis, Lions and Soroptimist clubs, and other local volunteers. Tickets are $10 each, or $15 per couple and $20 per family. The menu will include beef stew, chicken stew, corn bread and salad.

The dinner will feature Devorah with special guest Geoffrey Castle on electric violin. They will be joined by Douglas Barnett, Douglas McGrew and Steve Trembley. Look for some Friday Harbor students to jam with the band.

To reserve tickets by credit card, call Vinny’s Ristorante, 378-1934. Devorah will be selling tickets at Friday Harbor MarketPlace Jan. 19, 23, 31, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

(Interested in performing at a centennial party? Contact Devorah by Jan. 22: 378-6369 or

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