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What to Do in Washington State in June

June brings us summer days, so race toward them in a soap box car or atop a queen mattress with the month's best and oddest festivals.

By Taylor McKenzie Gerlach

The Roots and Vines music festival lights up downtown Yakima.

Image: Thane Phelan

Deliciously late sunsets translate into more time to romp about festivals this summer in Washington. Many events have come roaring back after pandemic cancellations, and perhaps there will even be sunshine.

Chinook Fest

 
June 10–12

Just outside of Naches, the music festival spotlighting Americana, roots rock, and outlaw country outfits while encouraging attendees to unplug and commune with nature returns after a two-year hiatus. Come for the music (headlined by The Band of Heathens) and stay for the riverside yoga, corn hole tournaments, local food, and nearby hiking. And don’t forget the 1920s-themed campsite decoration competition; do flappers go camping?

Stanwood Camano Island Soap Box Derby

 
June 18

Racers, climb aboard and fasten a bike helmet. In the annual Father’s Day tradition on Camano Island, kids race in gravity-fueled cars they built with mentors throughout the spring. Hundreds of racers compete on an 800-foot track in their hand-built STEM projects for glory and a chance to advance to the national derby.

Scottish Fest and Highland Games

 
June 18

Prosser in Central Washington celebrates Scottish heritage in an all-encompassing day commencing with the traditional boom of an anvil launch. Kilted men present their knees to blindfolded women in a bonny knees competition, pipe bands bring a wee bit of Scottish sound, and athletes launch heavy and odd-shaped objects in the Highland games. Jigs, reels, and sword dances are judged in the Highland dance competition.

Midtsommer Festival

 
June 18

Also known as Little Norway, Poulsbo is the charming locale to ring in the summer solstice, Viking style. The celebration starts with a Nordic market, Norwegian street food samples, and maistang—or pole raising—and concludes with a Viking-led bonfire at dusk.

Olympic Air Show

 
June 18–19

Fly through time to witness impressive mid-air feats by aircraft from the World War II era alongside modern models at the Olympia Regional Airport. Races and aerobatics are complemented on the ground by exhibits, a beer garden, a WWII encampment reenactment, and kids activities.

Roots and Vines fills a downtown Yakima block.

Image: Ken Lapworth

Roots and Vines

 
June 25

Nothing screams summer more than swaying to bluegrass and Americana music with a local craft beverage in hand. In Yakima, live tunes from headliner Hogslop String Band and a slew of nationally acclaimed groups fill the air of historic downtown, and Yakima Valley’s local taps tops off glasses until the fireflies come out.

Whatcom County Bed Race

 
June 26

If you’re looking for a quirky, only-happens-here event, you’ve found it in Bellingham. Teams of five decorate a mattress and outfit the upcycled thrones with wheels to race around a horseshoe-shaped course while one team member sits atop the improvised race car. Why, besides the fun of it all? Entry fees support local organizations working to end homelessness and ensure real beds for all.

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