Bowl the cosmos, plunder with pirates

Rachel Cook sorts the pirate “loot” she took out of the pool Sunday afternoon. - Tim Adams/Whidbey News-Times
Rachel Cook sorts the pirate “loot” she took out of the pool Sunday afternoon.
— image credit: Tim Adams/Whidbey News-Times

If you think there is nothing for young people to do in Oak Harbor other than hit the clubs or party at a friend’s house, it’s way past time to readjust your thought process.

Every Friday and Saturday night at 10 p.m., the black lights come on causing the balls to fluoresce; top-40 music blares from speakers as lighted disco balls whirl and colored lights flash.

No, it’s not time for John Travolta to make a return appearance on the dance floor in his white suit, it’s time for the Cosmic Bowl to kick into high gear for another weekend of fun.

Twice a week the historic Oak Bowl on Midway Boulevard reverts to a scene right out of the 1970s, except for the selection of music, as people of all ages come together for a night of bowling, food and good times.

Night manager Danny Massengille said he isn’t sure just how long Oak Bowl has been hosting the event, but the turnout is always a good one.

“I think it’s been going on for several years now, it’s a great place for the kids,” he said.

IDs are checked at the door and appropriate wrist bands put on, the 13th Frame Lounge is closed and the establishment becomes a family-friendly place everyone can enjoy.

Bowlers of all ages were on hand including Shannon Butikofer, who said she is originally from Florida, but has lived in Oak Harbor for about a year.

“My husband is in the Navy,” she said. “I’ve been to the Cosmic Bowl once before and it is really a lot of fun.”

Chandler Riggins, a New York City native and a member of the Navy stationed at the base, was bowling with a foursome that included Devante Powell, Chastity Miller and Damara Powell, all of Oak Harbor.

“This is the first time we’ve been to a Cosmic Bowl,” Miller said. “We’ve bowled here before, but this is the first Cosmic we’ve been to.”

Damara Powell was one of the lucky ball rollers Friday night. She knocked down a red pin among the group of white ones at the end of the lane and Massengille said this will entitle her to a free game the next time she comes to Oak Bowl.

Bowling among the stars wasn’t the only play-time activity for the young and the young at heart in Oak Harbor this past weekend.

Saturday evening, the North Whidbey Park and Recreation District hosted the Pirates Plunder family fun swim at John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool.

Buccaneers of all ages and sizes seized the opportunity to enjoy the cool waters of the pool on a hot night while diving for “buried” treasure and pelting friends with medium-sized black and white beach balls.

“The balls are supposed to represent the ‘Black Pearl’ from the movie,” Oak Harbor High School senior Erica Gregory said.

Gregory, along with several other pool employees, were kept busy on lifeguard duty at the well-attended event.

“I’m having a fun time, but I really don’t like the hat we have to wear,” she said.

All the lifeguards stationed around the pool were decked out in black caps with long scarves. The crowns of the caps were adorned with a skull and crossbones patch and some of the lifeguards were even sporting temporary tattoos.

Holly Gubrneth, a student at Skagit Valley College, said she is one of the lifeguard supervisors at the pool.

“I’ve worked at most of the fun swims,” she said. “I’m normally one of the supervisors, but just doing lifeguard duty today.”

Fourteen-year-old Oak Harbor Middle School student Rachel Cook recovered a lot of pirate loot including “gold” and “silver” coins along with sea shells and other assorted items.

“They were just floating around in the pool, some on top and some under the water,” she said.

Summer vacation is almost here and if you think there is nothing going on in Oak Harbor, all you have to do is look around.

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