Historic Fairhaven Association
It’s the annual event to celebrate the “unscrubbed” community founder of Fairhaven, Dirty Dan Harris! There will be loads of fun to be had all day!

Free entry | $6 for Chili Cook-off Tastings


Plan to enjoy…

  • live music from Ryan Sandholm
  • great food, the Bellingham Steampunk Society information booth, face painting, non profit, street and service vendors
  • family-fun activities such as a Peoples Bank fish toss (12:30 pm) for adults and kids, a Rocket Donuts donut eating contest (3:30 pm)and the legendary Dirty Dan look-a-like & 1800’s dress contests (4:30 pm)

    • Sign ups for the fish toss and donut contests are in the morning on a first come basis.
    • Period costumes are encouraged whether you take part in the contest or not; dogs are welcome to this event–especially those dressed for the occasion (but no contest will be held for them, sorry!) Anyone in costume is welcome to enter the costume contest.
  • the Dan Harris Challenge Rowing Race at nearby Boulevard Park (10am)–for rowers and paddlers of all types, inspired by Dan Harris’s cross-border rum-rowing adventures
  • the always exciting high-noon uphill piano race between teams from area businesses – don’t be late as sometimes the race happens before noon.
  • the “Dirty Dan Sidewalk Saloon” – serving beer and wine to 21+ from noon – 5pm
  • information and historical insight from the strolling Fairhaven Ladies of the Evening, Dirty Dan Harris and others
  • the Chuckanut Chili Cook-Off (1:30-3:30): tickets (on sale at 1pm) will cover a taste of each recipe on hand (prepared and served up by area restaurants), plus a full bowl of your favorite, with a piece of Great Harvest bread alongside; tickets also allow for an opportunity to vote in the People’s Choice contest so don’t forget to give your ticket to your favorite restaurant! Thank yo to WECU for manning our ticket booths and helping with the contest. And also to Sustainable Connections and the chef’s collaborative for being our judges.
  • live feed our media sponsors KAFE 104.1

Also traditionally happening the same day in the morning is the Fairhaven Pooch Scoot 5k at Fairhaven Fitness/Bellingham Tennis, plus the opportunity to witness throwing, hand-building, carving, decorating and raku-firing demos at Good Earth Pottery.


About the Chuckanut Chili Cook-off:

  • Local restaurant chefs will cook their preferred chili recipes–20 gallons each.
  • Your ticket will allow a 1-ounce taste of each recipe on hand; once you decide your favorite, you will give your ticket to that restaurant in exchange for a 5oz cup; you’ll also get a piece of bread (provided by Great Harvest Bread Company) to enjoy with your selection.
  • The restaurant with the most tickets wins the People’s Choice Award.


A bit of history for you: In 1854, Dan Harris arrived on the shore of Bellingham Bay as a 21-year-old adventurer. He became a legend as a homesteader, land owner, smuggler, hotel owner, and seaman, who founded Fairhaven in 1883. He also picked up the colorful nickname “Dirty Dan” due to his infrequent bathing. Dan’s amazing feats include traveling by rowboat between Fairhaven and Victoria, B.C. A shrewd business man, he once rolled his piano out of the Fairhaven Hotel in 1890 and straight down Harris Avenue into the bay after the hotel’s new owner wouldn’t pay for it.

The Dirty Dan Harris Festival is produced by the Historic Fairhaven Association, a non-profit organization that promotes and preserves the historical character of Fairhaven and also puts on the district festivals. For information on becoming a vendor, click here.