Breaking ground at the Fairgrounds – New projects underway

Submitted by San Juan County.

The San Juan County Fairgrounds is beginning a series of projects beginning in late March. Projects will enhance the annual County Fair and year-round use of the Fairgrounds.

Fairgrounds Updates

In late March, the grounds will receive a few layout changes, including the removal of stem walls on the south end of the property. These walls once supported the chicken and rabbit tents, which will be upgraded to be safer and easier to assemble by staff and volunteers leading up to the Fair. This removal also allows for more flexible use of the space and the return of the Drive-In Movie series.

During this time, the Boy Scout house, located in the northwest corner of the Fairgrounds, will also be removed. Due to extensive safety concerns, it was determined that the continued use of the building would not be an option. The department worked with the island Boy Scout troop to examine the feasibility of a safe relocation, and ultimately concluded it was not possible. Work will be completed by Richard Lawson Construction, Inc and will include clearing, site leveling, and remediating the site with a hydroseed finish.

Marie Boe Building Renovation

In April, Boss Construction, Inc. will begin work on the addition and renovation of the Marie Boe Building. The Parks and Fair Department applied for and received a grant from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) to build restroom and shower facilities onto the Marie Boe Building. San Juan County has also invested additional funds to provide a separate space for the County’s Emergency Operations Center during times of coordinated crisis. With these two projects underway, additional quality of life improvements will be added to the building including demonstration plazas, a new roof, acoustic paneling, and more. Substantial completion is scheduled for early August – in time for the annual County Fair.

For more information about this project, visit:

Pioneer Cabin Restoration Project

In June, the San Juan Island Historical Museum will begin work on the historic Fairgrounds cabin. In 1924, as the Fairgrounds were being developed, a “Pioneer’s Building” was built to commemorate the role of Euro-American families who had established farms and businesses in the islands. Time and the elements have taken a toll on the nearly 100-year-old structure, and as a result, the Cabin needs major preservation work. Included in the scope of work is a replacement of the roof and rotted logs. The structure will be raised to stabilize and level the foundation as well as to reroute water away from the building.

The restoration work will be led by HistoriCorps, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides volunteers of all skill levels with hands-on experience preserving historic structures on public lands across America. Volunteers work with HistoriCorps field staff to learn preservation skills and put those skills to work saving historic places that have fallen into disrepair. The project will span five weeks and reach final completion by the end of July.

About San Juan County’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Fair

San Juan County’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Fair oversees public parks on all four ferry-served islands, manages camping, and hosts the San Juan County Fair. The department offices are located at 849 Argyle Avenue, Friday Harbor, WA 98250. For more information about San Juan County’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Fair, visit