Community

Oak Harbor's Fidalgo Avenue Block Party and Pig Roast grows in popularity

Scott Fraser, organizer of the Fidalgo Avenue Block Party and Pig Roast, holds fond memories of the event’s first five years.  - Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times
Scott Fraser, organizer of the Fidalgo Avenue Block Party and Pig Roast, holds fond memories of the event’s first five years.
— image credit: Ron Newberry/Whidbey News-Times

A block up from historic downtown Oak Harbor’s main thoroughfare is Scott Fraser’s restaurant.

Frasers Gourmet Hideway is tucked away, indeed.

More visible in these parts is the man behind the restaurant and the handlebar mustache. Fraser is popular these days.

It’s August, and in downtown Oak Harbor, that means it’s “Pig Roast” time, a tradition Fraser established in 2008, a year after he opened his restaurant on Fidalgo Avenue.

What started out as Fraser’s thank you gesture to the community has grown into a much anticipated, highly involved downtown event.

The sixth annual Fidalgo Avenue Block Party and Pig Roast is expected to draw several thousand people. The event runs from noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11.

Roughly 2,200 pounds of pork will be cooked for the free barbecue lunch.

That’s the same amount cooked last year, or quadruple the amount that was served the first year.

“The very first year I wanted to say thank you to the community,” Fraser said. “I went around and got our local people to throw this block party. Everyone just jumped on board. It was an incredible event from the very first year. We actually had 1,500 people show up and cooked 500 pounds of pork and we ran out in a hurry.”

The event has grown every year with 4,000 people attending last year with more than a ton of pork provided.

Sponsorship has grown as well, covering essential costs so that money raised through donations during the block party all goes to designated charities.

Last year, the event raised $12,000 for Fidalgo Avenue area nonprofits with half going to the North Whidbey Help House, a food bank located on Hathaway Street.

Fraser said generous support from the local business community has made this possible.

He said without Island Thrift’s contributions, the event “probably couldn’t happen.”

Fraser said other sponsors include Alaska USA Mortgage Company, Cascade Custom Homes, Boeing, Guild Mortgage, Les Schwab, Stewart Title Company, New Leaf, P & L General Contractors, Puget Sound Energy, Ace Hardware, Whidbey Island Bank and Windermere Realty.

He said another contributor is Saar’s Market Place Food, which donates 900 ears of corn.

Then, there is an army of volunteers.

“We have about 200 volunteers come in,” Fraser said. “They all donate their time. There’s no one on the payroll. No one in the community is paid or anything like that. Anything that we take in is given out after our costs.”

The Fidalgo Avenue Block Party and Pig Roast will feature live music from the Still Bill Band and Broken Banjo, fiery street performances from Marcus Raymond and Luke Boyce, a rock climbing wall and Bouncy House for kids and beer and wine garden for adults.

Raymond, who recently moved to Oak Harbor, is a longtime professional entertainer who juggles, cracks jokes and adds fire to his act.

Boyce, from Leavenworth, is better known as L-Bow the Clown. He rides a unicycle, juggles and blows fire.

Balloon animals and face painting also will be available.

There also will be professional and amateur barbecue competitions and a gold panning demonstration.

Oak Harbor’s Roger Anglum, an event organizer who’s taking a break from the professional barbecue competition, said the 2,200 pounds of pork prepared last year met demand so they’re cooking the same amount this year.

“If we go through all that pork this year it’s going to be a lot of trouble keeping up with it in future years,” he said. “With the weather getting nice, this event is getting bigger and bigger. We’ll draw close to 5,000 people. We have a lot of fun.”

 

 

Free pig roast

The sixth annual Fidalgo Avenue Block Party and Pig Roast is Sunday, Aug. 11, in Oak Harbor from noon-5 p.m. The event features a free barbecue lunch for the community. Last year, the event drew an estimated 4,000 people.

 

 

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