Savor the San Juans: October’s Finest

Now in its sixth season

Now in its sixth season

The weather tends to be a little on the hit-and-miss side, but the month of October simply can’t be beat for its one-of-a-kind celebration of art, culture, and the summer bounty of the San Juan Islands.

Lopez IslandThat month-long celebration, known as “Savor the San Juans”, ties together under the biggest of umbrellas a whole host of early autumn activities, festivals and events scheduled throughout the archipelago’s three largest and most populated islands, Lopez, Orcas and San Juan, and in the town of Friday Harbor too.

Now in its sixth season, Savor the San Juans, billed as “A Medley of Food, Art & Culture,” kicks off in full flavor Oct. 3, with the Great Island Grown Festival. Think of it as a 13-day-long culinary and cultural extravaganza that showcases the finest of the San Juans’ locally grown food and its many farms, as it features a long list of tantalizing get-togethers and mouth-watering events, as well as educational forums, at various venues on each of the three islands.Doe Bay

Notable G.I.G. Fest activities include “Lopez on the Halfshell” (Oct. 4), Friday Harbor’s “Fall Farm Parade” and “Chili Cook Off” contest (Oct. 5) and the “Island Harvest Pop-Up Dinner” on Orcas Island (Oct. 12), to name just a few.

And savoring the island’s delectable homegrown products will be even that much more enticing in the 31 days that are October with an assortment of local restaurants offering multiple-course meals at discounted prices, $30-35, along with other specials. Local lodging establishments and marinas will be offering special rates as well.

And that’s just for starters.

Lopez VineyardsWineries on Lopez, Orcas and San Juan will each present their own Vineyard Harvest Festivals throughout the month of October. A number of outdoor adventure businesses will offer discounted deals as part of the Savor celebration.

And in Friday Harbor, this year’s Artstock (Oct. 5) includes an Art Market on the Brickworks Plaza, which features local artists, music and food vendors, and a quartet of art galleries will join forces to host various artist receptions, music and extended hours as part of the annual event.The Bluff

As part of its 2013 lineup, Savor the San Juans is also helping to present the first-ever Friday Harbor Film Festival, a 3-day cinematic tour de force featuring 25 award-winning documentaries that focus on life in the Pacific Rim, as well as an assortment of film-related forums, workshops and receptions with producers and directors of the featured films.

And what would October be without an authentic Bavarian-inspired jamboree? As part of Savor the San Juans, you can double-down and Oom-pah-pah to your hearts delight at not just one, but two, Oktoberfest celebrations, first in Friday Harbor, Saturday, Oct. 5 and then the following Saturday, Oct. 12, on Lopez.

So, forget about the weather. There’s much to savor in the month of October.

For a complete list of Savor the San Juans activities and events, visit San Juan Islands Visitor’s Bureau website, at