Arts & Leisure


by Jan Hersey

Copper, gold, chocolate, caramel, blond . . . the colors of fine Baltic amber dance in the reflection of marine waters. Oops, it’s not amber, it’s . . . Bier on the Pier!

Anacortes once again puts its own spin on an age-old tradition—Oktoberfest—infusing this seasonal celebration with salt air, island charm, and pirate-like adventure.

On October 3rd and 4th, cruise on down to Anacortes’ historic Transit Shed Event Center, once the beginning and ending point for the economic lifeblood of the city. Sip and swizzle your way through 30 notable Northwest breweries, showcasing their favorite brews. Then pull up a chair to savor your fave on the pier alongside Guemes Channel and its parade of tugs, trawlers, cruisers, and sail craft. Sample great food and sway to terrific bands. And, be sure to take time to cast a vote for your favorite brew and be entered to win “A Trip Back to Anacortes” package.

To dress for Bier on the Pier success, you can starch up that purty dirndl, but we think it’s time to think outside the keg—this year’s costume contest has a more eclectic feel, nodding to both Oktoberfest and upcoming Halloween. (Think of the costume possibilities . . . Dirndl Dracula, anyone?)

Anacortes Brewery head brewer and event chair, Kevin Pierce, let us in on a few behind-the-scenes festival insights. He got his Oktoberfest lager into the gleaming stainless steel tank July 9, giving it the requisite two and a half months to mature and let the hops—an herb that adds aroma and bitterness—mellow. “It’s like the finest, traditional Bavarian-style lager,” he says, “with a malty, full-bodied flavor, hopped for balance.”

Kevin proudly notes that Anacortes Brewery is celebrating its 20th year, the ninth oldest brewery in the state. He’s been mixing up lager magic there for 14 years. A true supporter of brewing local, Anacortes Brewery sources malt and hops from eastern Washington, and credits Anacortes water—Skagit River’s glacial melt—with much of the company’s success. “You can’t make good beer with poor water,” he notes, “and we’ve got great water that needs no treatment.”

Friday, October 3, 5– 9p; $20
Saturday, October 4, 12–6p; $20
Friday & Saturday 2-day pass, $35

Over 21 only
Historic Port of Anacortes Transit Shed, 100 Commercial Ave.

Tickets online or at Chamber of Commerce office, 819 Commercial Ave.
30 breweries, food, live music.

COVID-19 Cases in Skagit County

4,695 Confirmed Skagit Cases
390-399 Total Cases in ZIP 98221

299 Hospitalizations
67 Deaths
37,483 Fully Vaccinated
52,143 Initial Doses Given


363,840 Confirmed Cases Statewide
21,743 Hospitalizations

5,428 Deaths Statewide
1,982,674 Fully Vaccinated
2,927,970 Initial Doses Given

Updated 6 pm, April 22, 2021.

County Map: Confirmed COVID-19 cases by ZIP code in Skagit County. Updated weekly.

Sources: Skagit County Public Health, Washington State Department of Health, New York Times

Community Events