Museum invites islanders to come on 'Back to the Farm'; fund-raising dinner-dance today

Rhianna Franklin ... performs on Sept. 19 at Back to the Farm. - Courtesy Franklin family
Rhianna Franklin ... performs on Sept. 19 at Back to the Farm.
— image credit: Courtesy Franklin family

The San Juan Island Community Foundation and another private donor have provided funding for a limited number of tickets for Back to the Farm, the San Juan Historical Museum's barn dance, dinner and fund-raiser.

The event is today, 3:30-8:30 p.m., on the museum grounds at 405 Price St., next to St. Francis Church.

"This is a family event and times are tough for many families," Museum President Mary Jean Cahail said. "We are grateful for the contribution of the community foundation and our private donor, which will make it easier for more parents and their children to attend. It's going to be a fun event."

Tickets are $25 for adults, $5 per child 13 and younger. Tickets cover the cost of dinner and all activities.

Cahail said the family event is called “Back to the Farm” because the museum wants the community to become familiar with Friday Harbor’s rural roots.

The museum’s heritage buildings will be open for tours. Dinner begins at 4:30 p.m.: pork barbecued by Jason Black, beans, cole slaw, rolls, watermelon, berry cobbler for dessert, and lemonade.

Antique cars will be on display. Prizes will be awarded for best costumes. You can dress up and get an old-time photo taken. There will be surprise arrests and incarceration in the old county jail. A spittoon is shined up for the seed-spitting contest.

A highlight of the evening: A barn dance and a jig-with-a-pig contest. The entertainment lineup includes ragtime pianist David Bayley, folk banjoist Mike Cohen and Sugar on the Floor, singer Rhianna Franklin, and country musician Dick Rich.

There will be a live auction; items include a biplane ride, historic photos, a pie a month for a year from Ruthe Ramirez, a private two-hour performance by pianist David Bayley, and a stay in a cabin on the Oregon coast, donated by Steve and Judy Kennedy.

For tickets, call Cahail or Loftus at 378-3949.

The event is a fund-raiser for the museum, which provides exhibits and programs related to the island’s history from pre-settlement to present day. The museum property is the last remnant of the once-expansive James King farm; the farmhouse and other buildings date from 1894.

The museum also preserves a piece of rural open space in an urban neighborhood, and hosts several community events through the year. The museum helped produce the book “Friday Harbor,” published by Arcadia Publishing Co. in time for the town’s centennial.

But the museum needs help. “A majority of our buildings need paint and a lot of repair,” said Loftus, the museum’s director. “The carriage house has some rotten boards that need to be replaced, and the building needs to be painted too.”

In the last year, the 1894 county jail was re-roofed and the 1894 King farmhouse received a new foundation. The museum sold a historic preservation easement to the San Juan County Land Bank to raise money for the perpetual care of the museum buildings, and is trying to not spend all of the money on deferred maintenance; the farmhouse foundation cost one-fourth of the money the museum received for the easement.

Loftus said project sponsorships are being accepted. For example, if you sponsor the painting of the county jail, you receive a tax deduction for the value of the work and signage will be posted noting that the building was painted due to your generosity.

To inquire about available project sponsorships, call 378-3949 or e-mail

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 19
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates