Classic cars and historic barns highlight Coupeville rally

Barn Rally organizer and Coupeville resident Jackie Feusier sits in her 1953 MG. The Barn Rally takes place Saturday starting in Coupeville.  - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Barn Rally organizer and Coupeville resident Jackie Feusier sits in her 1953 MG. The Barn Rally takes place Saturday starting in Coupeville.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

Organizers are combining islanders love of vintage autos and historic buildings for a new event that will benefit the Island County Museum.

The first-ever Island County Museum Barn Rally takes place Saturday, June 26, starting at Front Street in historic downtown Coupeville. The event includes a vintage car show followed by a rally that will allow visitors to discover historic barns that are standing throughout Whidbey Island.

“We are hoping this becomes a big-time family event,” said Jackie Feusier, who helped organize the rally and also drives a 1953 MG.

Vintage cars will start lining up on Front Street at 9 a.m. After perusing the antique autos, visitors can choose one of five maps with information about barns in different parts of the island. For example, the northern route will send history buffs to historic barns located on count roads, from West Beach Road on Central Whidbey to Ducken Road near Deception Pass State Park. Maps highlighting important historic farm buildings on Central and South Whidbey Island are also available.

Two rallies — processions of cars — are scheduled throughout the day, one at 9 a.m. and the other at 2 p.m. Afterward, everyone can return to Coupeville to enjoy the car show, activities and live music. People completing the tour can take a quiz about the barns on the island to win museum merchandise. In addition, a Scrabble tournament is scheduled and the nearby merchants will expand their stores out onto the sidewalk.

Fusier said organizers got the idea for a barn rally while she was selling hot dogs during the Penn Cove Mussel Festival. She noticed the Whidbey Cruzers and came up with the idea of including car enthusiasts in museum events.

The Barn Rally is the latest fundraiser for the Island County Museum. The museum’s fundraising dipped several years ago when the economy soured. That prompted museum officials to seek help from Island County to buffer the impact on its $115,000 budget, said Rick Castellano, executive director for the museum. He said the museum ultimately received $15,000 from Island County Historic Preservation money, which is a state-mandated program funded by real estate filing fees.

He said a combination of the preservation dollars and hopefully county 2 percent money will help the museum stay afloat.

Admissions at the museum has been slightly increasing in recent years. Officials recently unveiled a new exhibit “Industrious Islanders,” which features the various industry of Whidbey Island life, Castellano said. He added the exhibit will expand in coming weeks as officials phase out the museum’s old exhibit featuring Whidbey Island’s old settlers.

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