Surprises in store at Pig War Picnic

  • Sat Jun 7th, 2008 12:52am
  • Life

The Pig War Picnic, the Fourth of July island tradition, is offering something old as well as something new for this year’s event.

The picnic, on the San Juan Historical Museum grounds after the parade, is being presented by the Friday Harbor Kiwanis Club. The event was presented by the museum until last year, when the San Juan Island Fire Department presented the event. The Kiwanis Club now has a five-year agreement with the museum to present the event on the museum grounds.

Admission is free; any donations will help fund Kiwanis’ student scholarships and other programs.

Ordering lunch will be easier and lines should be speedier too. For $5, you get your choice of barbecued pork sandwich or sausage hot dog, with cole slaw, chips and a pickle. Ice cream, pop and water are extra.

A lot of community organizations are teaming up to provide fun-filled family activities: Bucket brigade (town firefighters), dunk tank (district firefighters), egg toss and three-legged race (Island Rec), face painting (Soroptimist), and pie-eating contest (Kiwanis). The cake walk will be back too.

“It’s a very affordable family affair,” organizer Stephanie O’Day said. “Bring your lawn chair and a blanket.”

And be ready to dance. Headlining are the One More Time Band and two “surprise bands,” O’Day said.

The event will have a historic flavor. National Park historian Mike Vouri will take the stage with Mike Cohen and Darlene Wahl of Sugar on the Floor to present some Pig War-era music, followed by “The Pig War Story” — it’s a free preview of the larger “Life and Times of Gen. George Pickett,” which is scheduled the next day at 7:30 p.m. in the San Juan Community Theatre.

Also at the Pig War Picnic, there will be historical reenactments and volunteers dressed in period clothing. Another picnic highlight: Parade awards will be presented at 1 p.m. You can also tour the museum’s buildings, some of which date to the 1890s.

The picnic celebrates the peaceful resolution of the territory dispute of 1859-1872, when the U.S. and Great Britain both laid claim to the San Juan Islands. San Juan was occupied by troops from both countries until ownership was decided — in America’s favor — by an arbitration panel led by Kaiser Wilhelm.

The joint military occupation was spurred in part by an American settler’s shooting of a boar belonging to the British-chartered Hudson’s Bay Co., leading to the nickname “Pig War.”

Picnic sponsors are King’s Thriftway, Browne Home Center, Islanders Bank, Countrywide Home Loan, Rock Island Communications, and The Journal of the San Juan Islands.