The San Juan Islands sit nestled in Washington’s backyard and offer something for everyone year round. Anytime is a good time to visit San Juan, Lopez and Orcas Island and with fall (and winter) season upon us, there are no shortages of fun things to do!
Friday Harbor/San Juan Island Events
November 23-24 – San Juan Island Artisans Holiday Marketplace
San Juan Island Artisans are sponsoring their annual event featuring the ‘best of the best’ creations by San Juan County artists. Approximately fifty-five artists will sell their unique, hand-made arts and crafts this year—just in time for holiday gift giving—offering a wide variety of items from soaps and lotions to jewelry, clothing, cards, paintings, island-made foods, scenic photography and much more. There will be delicious snacks available by local caterer Paella San Juans to keep shoppers satisfied. This is a fundraiser for the Island Artisans Scholarship Fund.
December 1 – Island Lights Festival
The Friday Harbor Winterfest begins December 1st with the Island Lights Festival, put on by the San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce. This kickoff event for the holiday season is on a Saturday this year so more families are able to attend! Once again the Chamber is partnering with the Whale Museum, Island Rec and the San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild. It will be a fun filled evening, starting with a Holiday Treats & Crafts at the Whale Museum from 3:30-5:00 p.m. At 5 p.m. all will start gathering on Spring Street between 1st and Front Street to await the arrival of Santa. The Harmoneers, the Elementary School Choir, with lead with some caroling while sipping some hot chocolate and coffee provided by the Riptide Café. Of course Santa Claus will arrive and turn on the lights at 5:15 p.m., followed by more caroling before heading up to Brickworks for the Ag Guild’s Soup with Santa. Upon arriving at Brickworks, one will find pictures with Santa, crafts with Island Rec and the San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild will have local harvest soups, mac ‘n cheese and spiced local apple cider for sale. For more details please contact the Chamber of Commerce 360-378-5240, firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 8 – Brickworks Old-Fashioned Christmas Market
Step back in time to a magical European-style Christmas Market. The historic Brickworks building will glow with sparkling lights illuminating an island crafts market with local food vendors, farm produce, live holiday music, a spirits garden, and activities for kids and grownups alike. The Brickworks Old-Fashioned Christmas Market is brought to you by the San Juan Island Farmers Market Association and the San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild.
December 15 & 16 – Salish Sea Ballet Presents Friday Harbor Nutcracker
Salish Sea Ballet is proud to present the 2018 Friday Harbor Nutcracker. The Nutcracker ballet is a world famous holiday classic, and Salish Sea Ballet brings this tradition to San Juan Island! Salish Sea Ballet’s company is comprised of local island dancers of all ages who train at their pre-professional ballet school in Friday Harbor. This interactive, family-friendly event will immerse the audience into the magical winter classic and become a family tradition. The Friday Harbor Nutcracker features original ballet choreography that celebrates San Juan Island and its local culture while remaining true to the Nutcracker’s classical roots. The excerpted ballet performance will be followed by tea party food and drink, a holiday gift boutique, character photo opportunities, and more.
Lopez Island Events
November 23 – Lopez Village Holiday Lighting & Gathering
Every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving Lopez Island celebrates the beginning of the holiday season with a community gathering in the village with a torch light parade, food provided by local businesses, caroling, and lighting the lights of the village. It’s a delightful warm and friendly evening, regardless of the weather.
November 24 – Lopez Preschool Annual Holiday Bazaar
Join us at the 39th year for the Lopez Pre-School Holiday Bazaar. Over 70 vendors, bake sale, children’s corner, music, entertainment and many great raffle prizes. Proceeds benefit the Lopez Preschool.
November 24 – Annual Jingle Bell Dinner
Come out to Lopez Island for the annual Jingle Bell Dinner. All proceeds benefit Lopez Island Hospice and Home Support. Tickets include dinner, wine, a silent auction, and holiday entertainment This enjoyable evening is for adults only.
Orcas Island Events
November 23 – Eastsound Art Walk
Crisp fall air, art, food, music and fun! Stroll the streets of Eastsound and enjoy some of the most beautiful art, crafts and artifacts Orcas Island has to offer at 20 various locations around town. Maps available at the Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce and at participating businesses.
December 1 & 2 – Holiday Artisans Faire
This annual Artisan’s Faire will feature 40 local vendors, including some new craftspeople, artists from the San Juan Islands. Come and find the many unique holiday gifts available, from soaps and lotions to jewelry, clothing, body care products, ceramic and textile products, gourmet baked and much more. Lunch will be provided at the Odd Fellows restaurant downstairs.
December 7 – Eastsound Holiday Celebration & Tree Lighting
Come share some hot cider and cookies as the Community Band plays holiday favorites, and Santa & Mrs Claus will be handing out toys and gifts to the small ones.
Additional holiday events and specials, as they are added, may be found at http://www.visitsanjuans.com/holiday. Find more suggestions for a Cozy Island Holiday on the San Juan Islands Experiences section at www.visitsanjuans.com.
Lesley is the founder and editor of What’s Up NW. Prior to creating WhatsUpNW.com, she was the Seattle city editor for AskMissA.com. For both publications, Lesley has covered fashion shows, openings, and local charity events. She has written numerous articles shining the light on local businesses, encouraging readers to always shop local.