“The best part was the people.”

Every year, during the first weekend of August, Anacortes, Washington, hosts its art festival. I always have such a blast there – not just because of the beauteous art that fills every booth along seven blocks of the city – but because there are so many fun people there. The highlights for me this year:

There was a group of about a dozen dudes in leather jackets and tatoos laughing and joshing around with each other – and I just had to find out more about them. “You guys look like characters,” I said. They grinned back at me and told me that they were a gang of motorcyclists from Bellingham. “Like the Wild Hogs?” I asked them, referring to the protagonists in the comedy with Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, William Macy, and John Travolta. No, they said, more like the Del Fuegos (who were the bad guy antagonists in the film). I started laughing then – these guys cracked me up – and asked them if I could take their picture for my blog. They were agreeable to this and posed for me, then they each came by me and shook my hand and introduced themselves with a friendly smile. The last guy introduced himself as something like, “Never Know” – which was perfect. Later, when I was wandering down the street looking at stuff, I heard someone call out cheerfully, “Hi, Karen!” and¬†glanced over to find “Never Know” grinning at me. ūüôā


Motorcyclist Friends from Bellingham

As always, there were a lot of wonderful entertainers at the festival, too. I think my favorite this year, was¬†the young man who stood by himself at the edge of the intersection and sang¬†The Man in the Mirror while I waited for my breve at the Gypsy Espresso. ¬†There were a couple of other ladies sitting there with me – one of them had just fallen off a bench (which indicated to me¬†I’d just found a kindred spirit), and had taken my hand to let me help her up – and as we watched this youngster sing his song, I said, “He’s so brave! It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there! And he’s so young!”

The woman who had just fallen off the bench said, “I was just thinking the same thing!”

I started rooting around in my pack for a tip to put in the singer’s guitar case, and my kindred spirit bench-faller said, “I was just going to give him a tip, too!”

Just as I deposited my tip, the young man got to the refrain and belted out “I‚Äôm starting with the man in the mirror/¬†I‚Äôm asking him to change his ways/¬†And no message could have been any clearer/¬†If you wanna make the world a better place…” And everyone whooped and clapped – it was a moment, for sure.


Young Singer at the Anacortes Arts Festival

In the last year or so I¬†started finding these cheery colorful “art poles” in the local gift shops. These pieces of art never failed to put a smile on my face and a lift in my heart. And today I actually met the woman who makes these poles! Her name is Stephanie Joan Burgess and, like the motorcycle dudes, she is from Bellingham. I bought a welcome flag for my front porch and a picture frame that she’d created and told her how happy I was to meet her, and she cheerfully agreed to let me take her photo standing next to some of her creations…


Stephanie Joan Burgess, the¬†“Painted Peace” Lady

And before I left the festival, I returned to a booth I’d passed at the very beginning of my art festival¬†adventure¬†to visit with Francisco Bautista and¬†buy one of his woven masterpieces. Francisco came with his young family to Oregon from Mexico 13 years ago. One of the art pieces he has hanging in his booth was based on a zentangle design his young daughter had created in school. ¬†He beamed with pride as he¬†showed me her original zentangle art. Here is Francisco, holding the pillow case I bought from him, and standing in front of the wall hanging based on his daughter’s zentangle…


Francisco Bautista

More photos from the festival…