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HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY, FRIDAY HARBOR; centennial parties today at three venues

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

Undoubtedly, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of today's Friday Harbor residents will be talking about this party in 2109.

Today, ferry whistles will blast. Sirens will sound. A cannon will fire. And the town will party like its 1909 again.

Friday Harbor celebrates its 100th birthday today with plenty of pomp and circumstance, as well as parties at three venues -- the Grange Hall, the Friday Harbor Fire Station and the San Juan Island Yacht Club.

Friday Harbor residents voted 70-55 to incorporate their village as a fourth-class town on Feb. 2, 1909. The election results were certified by the Board of County Commissioners on Feb. 8, and incorporation became effective Feb. 9. The mayor and Town Council were sworn in Feb. 10, 1909. The first Town Council meeting was Feb. 13, 1909.

Today, to mark the occasion, Washington state ferries will acknowledge the anniversary by sounding their whistles. Deck officers will ensure a single long blast is delivered by the ship’s whistle both upon entering or departing the harbor. the earliest sailing to do so will be the 8:05 a.m. from Friday Harbor to Anacortes. The last to do so is to be the 7:50 p.m. from Friday Harbor to Anacortes.

To make passengers aware of the centennial and to alert them of the reason for the whistles, after delivery of required safety and security messages, vessel crew will read the following announcement over the ship’s PA system:

“May we have your attention, please? Today marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Town of Friday Harbor. Town officials have asked that Washington State Ferries acknowledge the event by sounding our whistle both when we arrive and depart the town, and we are pleased to do so. Listen for a single long blast to celebrate this historic event. Thank you for your attention.”

At 3:15 p.m., town and county employees will fire a cannon and sound police, fire and emergency sirens.

And the parties will begin.

At the Grange Hall, the first party begins at 2 p.m. when Friday Harbor Elementary School fifth-graders read poems about the history and future of Friday Harbor. At 2:30 p.m., Stillpoint School fourth-graders will present Centennial skits. At 2:50 p.m., the Rocky Bay Boys -- an acoustic bluegrass duo, will perform.

At 3:15 p.m., sirens, bells and whistles will sound the alert that the Color Guard, Battery D, and Auxiliary are “on their way” with the current and former mayors under escort. At 3:20 p.m., a cannon will be fire on the courthouse lawn after the sirens are silenced.

At 3:25 p.m., the Color Guard, Battery D & Auxiliary will escort the current and former mayors from the Town Council chambers to the Grange Hall for the cake-cutting ceremony. A bagpiper may follow, weather depending.

At 3:30 p.m., the Color Guard will salute each mayor upon arrival.

Lavelle Foos will play an American Indian flute while people arrive at the Grange. At 3:35 p.m., Carrie Brooks and other audience members will play Happy Birthday on bells, followed by Jackie Altier singing “America The Beautiful.”

Entertainment will follow. One of Debbie Taylor’s fifth-graders will read a poem about Friday Harbor. Teddy Deane will perform a song of Friday Harbor. At 3:48 p.m., Farhad Ghatan and Devorah will perform some ragtime numbers, as well as "Song of San Juan," which was written by a sister-in-law of Dr. Victor J. Capron, an early mayor and state legislator. Angel Michaels' Patriotic Barbershop Quartet will perform.

At 4 p.m., Devorah and electric violinist Geoffrey Castle will lead all in the national anthem. At 4:05 p.m., town and county officials will read proclamations. At 4:15 p.m., Mayor David Jones will cut the centennial cake. Sugar on the Floor will perform music from 1900-1930s while Roxanne Zalmanek and Amy Taylor serve the cake.

A series of live music performances follows: Ian Cooper, acoustic guitar and vocals; the Play-Rite Boys; Ed Wilson, acoustic guitar and vocals; Sara Nade, acoustic guitar and vocals with original songs; TNT, acoustic guitar trio and vocals with original songs; Uncle Otto, billed as the “Hometown Favorite Acoustic Trio.”

Festivities begin concurrently at the fire hall at 3:30 p.m. with the One More Time Band, followed by the San Juan Jazz Quintet.

At 5:45, judging takes place for the Beard Growing Contest. At 6 p.m., The Crew -- the Friday Harbor High School cheerleaders -- perform a hip-hop dance. At 6:15 p.m., the high school Jazz Band and Devorah will perform classic rock and jazz. Ethnic music will follow, with the event ending at 7:30 p.m.

Door open at the Yacht Club at 5:45 p.m. for the Community Dinner and Dance. Tickets are required; call Vinny's Ristorante, 378-1934. The Grange and Fire Hall events are free.

At 6 p.m., Michael Cohen and Lee McEnery perform 1900-era music. At 6:20 p.m., pianist Farhad Ghatan performs dinner music. At 6:50, Devorah and her Seattle band will perform songs through the decades.

At 7:20, Gretchen Gubelman -- a descendant of E.H. Nash, an early mayor and legislator -- performs folk music. At 7:30, the dinner end and the doors are open to the public for two hours of music and dancing with Devorah and her band and the Friday Harbor High School Jammers.

Then the day ends, written into local memories -- and local history.

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