Birch Bay’s Discovery Days get underway in big way

Published on Thu, Jul 19, 2001 by Laura Thoren

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Birch Bay’s Discovery Days get underway in big way

By Laura Thoren

Well, it’s here again. The time of year when families dress up clams, wave at people in loud clothes with really big red noses and race yellow rubber duckies for prizes. That’s right, from July 20 through July 29 Birch Bay will celebrate its annual community festival, Discovery Days.

Fortunately the surf won’t be up for this year’s CLAMpetiton, the annual clamfest held by the Birch Bay C Shop. It should prove to bring chowderheads of all ages clad in their diggers down by the bay to catch this year’s clammiest. This “sea-vent” will be held all day Friday for those who will be happy as clams to spend a sunny day by the briny blue raking the sand. For those who haven’t been all washed up by the end of the day, clamtestants should submit their entries by 5 p.m. to the C Shop along with a $1 entry fee. At 6 p.m. the clamasters and clamagistrates will determine who should be awarded prizes for obtaining the happiest clam, the most clammed-up clam, the best dressed clam and, of course, the most gigantic clam.

Saturday, the annual Discovery Days Parade will begin at 11 a.m. The parade will run for approximately 45 minutes and will be followed by the children’s parade.

The route will run from Harborview and Birch Bay roads to Alderson Road. Birch Bay Drive will be blocked five minutes before the parade and will reopen as soon it is finished. Although is not possible for all the streets along the parade route to be blocked, this year’s parade coordinator, Earl Ball, said he would do his best to keep people out of the parade.

“We try and discourage it,” Ball said. “We ask people to wait until it’s done, but some people pull out of RV parks and end up in the parade.”
“We will be blocking three streets with four traffic controllers,” Ball said. “Harborview, Birch Bay and Alderson will be blocked.”

A variety of floats entries have been submitted already, as well as a few groups who just won’t miss a chance to clown around. One local resident has even entered his 1947 Pennsylvania MAC fire engine into the parade.
Those already entered in the parade should register between 9:30 a.m. and 10:55 a.m. on parade day at the Grange Hall on Birch Bay/ Lynden and Harborview roads. Following registration, parade entrants will be directed up Morgan Drive to a staging area until the parade begins.

Intrepid explorers seeking to discover the local culture can find it at Birch Bay Discovery Day’s Arts and Crafts Fair at Birch Bay State Park. With focus on hand-crafted items, the fair will host fine artists, woodworkers, lace makers, glass blowers, and candle makers among the 50 craft fair entrants.

Those participants making the trek to Blaine in true Discovery Day spirit will hail from Cashmere, Shelton, Leavenworth and Snohomish as well as various Whatcom county communities.

Hugo Helmer’s Accordion Band from Mount Vernon will highlight the Craft Fair. The band, which began in the 1935 as an extension of Hugo Helmer’s Mount Vernon music shop in the 1930s, traveled throughout Washington and parts of British Columbia playing traditional Scandinavian music, polkas and marches.

After many years apart, Helmer’s original members and students agreed to reunite and play on a regular basis in 1992.

Along with their traditional program, their Discovery Day concert will include Ballroom dances, big band, and Scandinavian Schottisches. Their performance will begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 22.

The fair will be open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

“It’s amazing – there’s always something new out there,” craft fair coordinator Bea Ball said.

Various activities will be taking place throughout the week
Birds of a feather do flock together–especially for the fourth annual Ducky Derby, held on Terrell Creek July 28. The race will begin at 2 p.m. on Terrell Bridge on Alderson Road, where 1,000 adopted ducks will “race” to the finish line.

Since chance determines who wins this fowl floating frenzy, Jurns said, everyone along the bank helps out by redirecting deterred ducks.
“Already, three-fourths (the ducks) have been sold,” NW Bank Manager Nick Jerns said, also this year’s Ducky Derby “Deputy.”

This year’s prizes include vacation packages, golf and savings bonds, a substantial increase in prizes compared to last year, Jerns said.

If sand, sun, clams, clowns, floats, fowl, art and accordions haven’t worn you out by the end of the week, you still might have the enthusiasm – and the endurance – to attend the Birch Bay Golf Club Lawnmower Tractor Pull and Golf Tournament on July 28 and 29.

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