Old Settlers’ Picnic

Published on July 22, 2014 under News
Old Settlers’ Picnic

Old Settlers’ Picnic
By: Jessica McAlpine Spencer

The parade.
The food.
The live music.
The cabins.
The beer garden.
The dance.

All things I think of as the last weekend in July approaches each summer; all parts of the fun, food, and festivities that make up the annual Old Settlers’ Picnic, our small-town celebration that’s the county’s longest running event –119 years strong.

But you know what I like best of all about Old Settlers’ Picnic?

It’s a chance to reconnect with family and friends. (Yes, dear cousins, I’m ranking you above a Rainbow Girls burger. Just barely.)

And, by reconnect, I don’t mean our typical way of keeping up these days. I don’t mean liking my aunt’s Facebook status. I don’t mean commenting on an Instagram photo from a high school classmate. I don’t mean texting a hello to my sister.

At Old Settlers’ Picnic, I’ll sit shoulder-to-shoulder with my parents on blanket folded over a sidewalk curb as the band marches by, just as I have for more than 30 years. I’ll snack on a bag of kettle corn with my daughters as we wave our flags to cheer on the Olson family tractor. I’ll catch up with people at the barn dance that I’ve known since I was in diapers.

Marching Band - 1983

FHS Marching Band — Old Settlers’ Parade 1983.


Winners from the Junior Parade — on the left is me, on the right is Kari Jensen – Old Settlers’ 1989.


Cousins on a carnival ride. Jeff McAlpine, Beth McAlpine, JD McAlpine, and me — Old Settlers’ 1985.

Reconnecting, in real life, with real people – just as Whatcom County residents have done each year at the picnic for more than a century.

Youth Parade

Parade participants — Cousins Tracy O’Neil, Beth McAlpine, and me — Old Settlers’ parade 1987



My mom (Joey McAlpine), sister (Beth McAlpine), and me (Jessica McAlpine Spencer) on the Ferndale Co-op Preschool float — Old Settlers’ 1983.


Cousins watching the parade — Darby O’Neil and me — Old Settlers’ 1983

See you next weekend, everyone.