While watching The Atlantics perform on the elevated Fairhaven Village Green stage during the recent Fairhaven Festival, I was reminded of the community camaraderie the outdoor space is known for. As the experienced ensemble played everything from rock to jazz to rhythm and blues, people both old and young danced along, kids darted to and fro, friends sprawled on makeshift picnic blankets and visitors lined the benches around the green.
Behind the band, the movie screen affixed to the back of the building housing Jalapenos restaurant wasn't yet in service — but it will be soon. When the Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema returns this summer following a pandemic-related absence of two years, a couple of changes will be in place, but the spirit of the event will remain the same.
The biggest change is that Epic Events will no longer be producing the 10-week slate of live music and movies under the stars every Saturday night — something it's been doing since 2004. Epic Events President Doug Borneman said the Fairhaven Association will be taking the reins, and he's happy to be working with them to keep the tradition alive.
“There are so many positive things about the Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema,” he said. “Offering an affordable, all-ages summer event for the community was very important and brought us a lot of enjoyment. Being able to hire local musicians and entertainers and allow them opportunities to showcase their talents was really cool as well. All the positive feedback we received over the years and putting smiles on so many faces always felt great.”
Although the price of admission to the al fresco events has bumped up a bit — from $5 to $7 — it's still a swell deal. Each night includes an hour of pre-show entertainment by local musicians and entertainers, followed by a viewing of that night's feature film once darkness has fallen.
Badd Dogg Blues Society pairs with the time-traveling adventures of Marty McFly in “Back to the Future” when the series opens Saturday, June 25. The following week, Paul Klein and Mark Kelly of The Atlantics open for “Jumanji: The Next Level.” Out of the Ashes pairs with “Encanto” July 9; The Lindsay Street Band precedes “Mamma Mia” July 16; The Song Wranglers can be seen before “The Sandlot” July 23; Free Harmony gets attendees moving for “Dirty Dancing” July 30; Kid'Sax Ensemble joins “Moana” Aug. 6; Mark Ashworth and Mark Kelly open for “Grease” Aug. 13; and belly dancer Rachel Carter mesmerizes the crowd for “The Goonies” on Aug. 20.
On Saturday, Aug. 29, the series wraps up with entertainment by The Bird House and a viewing of the perennially-popular fairy tale “The Princess Bride” — another tradition staying firmly in place.
Historic Fairhaven isn't the only place to enjoy outdoor movies this summer. Mount Vernon Drive-In Movie Nights will return this coming weekend, beginning with a screening of “Spider Man: No Way Home” at 9:40 p.m. Saturday, June 10 at the Skagit Valley College east parking lot. Other films curated by the Lincoln Theatre for the monthly events include the aforementioned movies “Encanto” on July 15, and “Back to the Future” on Aug. 5. Load up the car and come on down.
As part of the City of Ferndale's Summer of Fun, outdoor movies will also be making a comeback as part of Flicks in the Park. The free events take place at Pioneer Park and will feature films that may sound familiar — including “Encanto” on Friday, June 17, “Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure” on June 24 and the superhero thriller “Spider Man: No Way Home” on July 8.
Although the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce won't be bringing back its “Dive-In” series at the Birch Bay Waterslides this summer, it will be offering a limited number of outdoor movies on the lawn at the Birch Bay Library property during some of its signature events.
“Encanto” will screen Saturday, June 25 as part of the city's Kite Festival, “Back to the Future” shows July 31 during Rollback Weekend, and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” will fill the night during Discover Birch Bay Days in late August.
For details about these events, go to enjoyfairhaven.com, cityofferndale.org, lincolntheatre.org or birchbaychamber.com.