Three parties, one big day for Friday Harbor's centennial

This 20-page commemorative section contains feature stories regarding the town
This 20-page commemorative section contains feature stories regarding the town's first 100 years, as well as a calendar of centennial events.
— image credit: Design by Rebecca Cook / Photos courtesy San Juan Historical Society

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. Some businesses are planning to work the numbers 1909 into their prices, like $19.09 for certain entrees or other products.

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, the Gulf War and the Iraq War.

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.

Three parties are scheduled that day and Devorah, the day’s event coordinator, has organized a memorable lineup.

The first party begins at 2 p.m. at the San Juan Grange Hall. Elementary school students will perform skits and read poems beginning at 2 p.m., followed by entertainment by the Rocky Bay Boys and flutist Lavelle Foos. At 3:30 p.m., a cannon will boom and sirens will sound as Battery D escorts Friday Harbor’s current and former mayors to the Grange.

Former mayors expected to join Jones at the celebration: Gary Boothman (1998-2005), William J. LaPorte (1994-97), and H. James Cahail (1984-1993). Candy Dossett, daughter of Mayor Alan Carter (1960-64) and granddaughter of Mayor Cecil Carter (1926-28) is expected to participate as well.

Jones will cut the cake at 3:45 p.m. Music will continue until 7:30 p.m. with Sugar on the Floor, Ian Cooper, Play-Rite Boys, Ed Wilson, Saranade, and Uncle Otto.

At the Grange, you can peruse exhibits and sign a scroll that will be placed into a time capsule. The book, “Friday Harbor,” by Mike and Julia Vouri and the San Juan Historical Society, will be available for sale.

A second party begins at 3:30 p.m. at the Friday Harbor Fire Station, with music by the One More Time Band and the San Juan Jazz Quintet. At 5:30 p.m., the winners of Island Rec’s Beard-Growing Contest will be announced; 59 islanders are vying for awards for Blackest, Whitest, Reddest, Longest, Wildest and Judge’s Choice. At 6 p.m., entertainment resumes with the Friday Harbor High School Cheerleaders, and the Friday Harbor High School Jazz Band with Devorah.

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

To reserve tickets, call Vinny’s Ristorante, 378-1934.

The entertainment lineup includes Michael Cohen, Lee McEnery, Farhad Ghatan, and Gretchen Gubelman with Beau Borrero. Devorah with perform, 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 High School musicians to jam with the band.

A commemorative section on the centennial, featuring feature stories and calendar of events, is included in Wednesday's Journal of the San Juan Islands.

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