Whidbey Island was bustling with activity during a weekend punctuated by paintings, pagans and pigs.
A new addition to the annual festivities was the first ever Whidbey Island Pagan Pride Festival held by Whidbey Witches, Heathens, Druids & Pagans. Vendors at Coupeville Town Park offered items such as wood carvings, honey, flower crowns and several lucky people left with “magic beans.”
Nearby, some brave souls weren’t discouraged by the rain and got an early start to their shopping or browsing Saturday morning at the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival. Many, many more took to downtown for the annual event later in the afternoon and Sunday when skies cleared.
The art and crafts came in many forms, including paintings, sculptures, plant arrangements and fudge.
“For me, it’s surprising such a small town can support such a big art festival,” said first-time vendor Christopher Allen.
He brought his collection of reclaimed industrial items, re-shaped to create natural scenes. He uses bike chains to make waves, wire intertwined to form trees and beer cans to depict owls. He said he finds his materials in places such as thrift stores, Craigs List, on the side of the road or washed up on the beach.
The celebration of creativity also turned out to be a pleasant surprise for travelers who happened upon it.
Suzanna and Grier Jeffries and their family members Steve, Cheryl and Marlin Buckel were going camping and decided to stop in Coupeville for lunch Sunday. The group was able to grab food from the several trucks at the festival and check out some of what the artists had to offer.
Four-year-old Marlin made and sported a bracelet from Batman and Spider-Man beads.
Farther north, more Whidbey visitors happily stumbled onto festivities. Gary, Chris and Zachary Moreland had been camping at Deception Pass State Park before they saw an intriguing sign for Pigfest.
The three generations of Morelands were not disappointed with what they found in historic downtown Oak Harbor Sunday afternoon.
For the 13th year in a row, thousands of pounds of pork were smoked and served free to tens of thousands of people.
The festival also featured live music, a clown, a hypnotist, beer garden, car show and pie- and wing- eating contests.
Festival founder Scott Fraser even dubbed 2019’s iteration of Pigfest the “best year yet.” He said the new, 1,000-gallon “ripigulous” smoker produced “the best pork we’ve ever had at Pigfest.”
Donations collected during the event go toward local nonprofits. Last year organizers awarded $20,000 to three island charities.
Oak Harbor resident Laura Guzman and her four children had never ventured to the festival before. She said the food was delicious and she enjoyed the environment.
About 3,400 pounds of pig butt was served with only a little left over, Fraser said. The lunch line stretched almost the entire length length of Southeast Pioneer Way that was closed off.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Gary Moreland said, shortly after finishing his free meal.
“Had a car show with my favorite cars,” he added later, “and barbecue, which is my favorite food.”