Whidbey Island hospitality is known near and far thanks to the volunteers who have staffed the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce information booth at Deception Pass for more than a decade.
What started out as an umbrella-shaded card table in the parking lot at the south span of the Deception Pass bridge, grew into a large, colorful booth dubbed Whidbey on Wheels, also known as the WOW Wagon. According to the chamber, 2.5 million tourists annually visit the ever-popular bridge that looms 184 feet above Deception Pass.
Eight years ago when Judy Slager began as a volunteer welcoming tourists, the booth boasted Oak Harbor’s colors, white and blue. Since then, Deception Pass Tours hopped aboard and the wagon’s exterior received an overhaul, depicting colorful island scenes and tempting visitors to “Come aboard to explore Oak Harbor,” and the city’s wonders became ever-more visible to visitors.
Slager, who currently works for the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce as its volunteer coordinator, enjoys meeting new people while working in the WOW trailer.
“That’s the best part about working for the chamber, learning about people and where they come from,” she said.
Most visitors make a brief stop for maps and local info-bytes, offering Slager a window into their lives and travels; others stick around to talk for awhile and some even come back to the booth to share their new-found love for the island’s numerous adventures.
Slager, who’s lived on Whidbey Island for almost 20 years, shares her own experiences, from hiking the Ebey’s Bluff trail to kayaking in Puget Sound, to help visitors discover the activities they might enjoy most while on Whidbey, she said.
To volunteer at the WOW Trailer, call the chamber at 675-3755, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.