Recent local blog posts

Fraser Bill could add Northern Thurston County to Sound Transit

Thurston Talk - Sat, 02/14/2015 - 11:58am



Submitted by Thurston County 

 Washington State LSS

Photo Credit: Washington State LSS

A bill that would give local governments and voters the ability to decide if northern Thurston County will become a sub region within the Sound Transit system was heard today in the Senate Transportation Committee.

“The goal of this bill is to give people in northern Thurston County more transit options,” said the bill’s sponsor Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Thurston County. “Traffic studies show that each weekday 15,000 trips are made into the county and 30,000 trips are made out. Add in that half of all the trips through the JBLM corridor get on or off the exits, which leads to the congestion we’re all too familiar with. Local governments and voters should have the ability to consider additional transportation options that can help reduce traffic congestion and improve bus routes north from our region.”

Senate Bill 5780 would allow not only Thurston County residents but also local governments and the voters in counties that border the existing Regional Transit Authority counties, west of the Cascade mountains, to decide if they would like to be annexed in to the Regional Transit Authority, Sound Transit.

“We are a long way off from having light rail or a commuter train come and go from our region,” said Fraser. “This proposal is about giving local governments and the people the chance to determine if they want more efficient bus routes from our county in the short run. I know there is a considerable amount of frustration about the traffic congestion to and from our region. This would make one more option available to consider.”


Western Fastest Outlaws Spring Series to Host Inaugural Season in 2015

Thurston Talk - Sat, 02/14/2015 - 11:53am



Submitted by Ben Deatherage for Grays Harbor Raceway

Photo Courtesy of Malcolm White Photography

Photo Courtesy of Malcolm White Photography

2015 will see the dawn of an exciting new era in 360 Sprint Car racing in the Pacific Northwest as a new touring Sprint Car series will be born. That new series will be named the Western Fastest Outlaws Sprint Series and will continue to bring to Sprint Car fans the best drivers the Western United States has to offer at some of the top tier facilities in the entire country. Be prepared to feel the earth shake as these 700+ horsepower fire-breathing monsters do battle at a track near you. This is something you do not want to miss.  Be sure and don’t miss out on any of the latest news or information by visiting the new site at .

Below this release is the complete 2015 WFO Sprint Series tentative schedule as well as links to the rules, payout, and race format.  A printable copy of the schedule can be found here . Currently as of right now there are fifteen exciting action-packed events scheduled at six different and exciting race tracks in the great states of Oregon, California, and Washington. Each action-packed thrilling main event is $2,000.00 to win and $300.00 to start unless stated otherwise.

Brian Crockett will be appointed for duties of Series Director after several seasons successfully running various 360 Sprint touring organizations in the Pacific Northwest. He brings a wealth of racing knowledge to his position as he is one of the most decorated drivers ever to come out of California.

This exciting and new season will get started in late April at the Cottage Grove Speedway for two nights of action. In May there will be another two nights of action packed racing at two Oregon tracks over Memorial Day weekend which will held at Cottage Grove Speedway and Southern Oregon Speedway.

Don’t miss out on the always thrilling Speedweek Northwest featuring six awesome races in seven nights that attracts some of the nation’s best drivers. Speedweek Northwest for the second consecutive year will start at Yreka, California’s bullring known as Siskiyou Motor Speedway and will trek north eventually concluding at the Cottage Grove Speedway on Independence Day weekend. The Saturday July 4th Speedweek finale at Cottage Grove Speedway $5,000.00 will go to the main event winner and is sure to bring some big names to the table looking to take home the prize money as it is one of the biggest paying 360 Sprint Car races in the West.

A wonderful doubleheader in August will take place between Siskiyou Motor Speedway in California and Southern Oregon Speedway in White City. And the whole season will come down to two exciting nights in late September at the Central Washington State Fair Raceway in Yakima, Washington to crown the first ever WFO Sprint Series champion.

Be sure and stay tuned for more press releases and stories in regards to this new and exciting Sprint Car series. 2015 is definitely going to be a fantastic inaugural season for the WFO Sprint Series. For drivers have any questions regarding the series are more than welcomed to contact Series Director Brian Crockett at (541)-510-0757

Additional Information:

2015 Tentative Western Fastest Outlaw Sprint Series Schedule

April 24th Cottage Grove Speedway Cottage Grove, OR

April 25th Cottage Grove Speedway Cottage Grove, OR

May 23rd Cottage Grove Speedway Cottage Grove, OR

May 24th Southern Oregon Speedway White City, OR

June 28th Siskiyou Motor Speedway Yreka, CA (Speedweek Northwest)

June 29th Southern Oregon Speedway White City, OR (Speedweek Northwest)

June 30th Coos Bay Speedway Coos Bay, OR (Speedweek Northwest)

July 1st Travel Day

July 2nd Willamette Speedway Lebanon, OR (Speedweek Northwest)

July 3rd Cottage Grove Speedway Cottage Grove, OR (Speedweek Northwest)

July 4th Cottage Grove Speedway Cottage Grove, OR (Speedweek Northwest)

August 14th Siskiyou Motor Speedway Yreka, CA

August 15th Southern Oregon Speedway White City, OR

September 25th State Fair Raceway Yakima, WA

September 26th State Fair Raceway Yakima, WA

Printable Schedule-

Series Rules-

Series Race Format-

Series Payout-


2015 Property Tax Statements In the Mail

Thurston Talk - Sat, 02/14/2015 - 11:39am



Submitted by Thurston County Treasure

Property tax statement and postcard notices will start to arrive in taxpayer mailboxes within the next week according to Shawn Myers, Thurston County Treasurer.  Taxpayers have until April 30 to pay their first half property taxes. Mailed payments must be postmarked by the due date to avoid interest and penalty charges.

Payments can be made on the County Treasurer’s web site using an electronic check without a fee, by major credit card with a 2.5% transaction fee or a VISA debit card with a $3.95 flat fee.  Payments can also be made in person at the Treasurer’s Office in Building One or the parking lot drop box at the courthouse-2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Olympia, 98502.  Office hours are 8a.m. to 4:30p.m., Monday through Friday.

County Assessor, Steven Drew and County Treasurer, Shawn Myers continue to work together in order to provide valuable and accessible information regarding property assessments and taxes. Property taxes are calculated based upon the value established for each property and the taxing district levy rates where each property is located. For more information about 2014 assessed values and 2015 levies please visit the website and follow the links.

Celebrating Local Artists at The Gift Gallery

Thurston Talk - Sat, 02/14/2015 - 10:07am



Submitted by Kaylene Fischer for The Gift Gallery

Local craftsman

Local craftsman Tom Johnson creates hand made knives.

With the large corporate stores and online sales booming in today’s technological world, the person behind the creation tends to be forgotten or overlooked. That is why The Gift Gallery takes great pride in showcasing local artists in their store.

With having over 30 local artists at The Gift Gallery, we not only provide an opportunity for people to sell their handcrafted work, we offer those quality, special, and often one-of-a-kind gifts to our customers. The community comes together in not only helping small businesses remain, but allows artists to continue their creative work

Here at The Gift Gallery, we appreciate both our vendors and our customers. That is why each month we celebrate four of our vendors. We want everyone to get to know more about the talented people who supply our store with their wonderful creations. This month we welcome a new vendor. We would like to welcome Lorraine Ripley with her custom jewelry and African décor.

For our customers, we also offer free drawings during holidays throughout the year as a way to say thank you for your continued loyalty and business. We also provide free jewelry appraisals each month. During our free jewelry appraisals we have a food tasting featuring items from our specialty food section. We like to give people the opportunity to try what delicious foods we carry here at the store.

This month, we would like to introduce you to our February vendors of the month.

Stew Waldrop of Creative Iron Works is a master of metal art.

Stew Waldrop of Creative Iron Works is a master of metal art.

Stew Waldrop you may have already heard of. Creative Iron Works is a small family business in Tenino, Wshington. Stew has a passion for creating beautiful works of art.

He’s worked in metal fabrication and welding for 20 years, but only recently discovered his desire and talent for creating metal art. Although Stew has many standard articles for sale, he really enjoys using his imagination to create custom pieces such as welcome signs, decorative gates, fire pits, 3D, and other unique items as special ordered by individuals.  As a business, their primary goal is a continual commitment to excellence, integrity and complete customer satisfaction.

25 years ago Tom Johnson saw that there was a knife making class at The Evergreen State College. He decided it would be a fun thing to try, so he took the class and made several knives with different disciplines. Over the years Tom made knives for himself, friends and family. Tom and his wife discussed the idea of doing what he enjoys as a hobby and side business. So they talked about a business name, type, style and materials of knives to produce. He also makes custom made leather sheaths for each knife. That is what brings Tom to us today.

Country Girl Glam by Lanette Dyer says, “I’m a simple country girl who loves pearls and still enjoys playing dress up to go out to the big city! I share and sell it all. I want you to feel the glam inside and out. We have the purse, jewelry and scarf that you need to accessorize that outfit or a great gift for your best gal pal. We also have fun unique Seahawk inspired gifts.  Come in and shop and glam up your inner country girl.” Lanette’s country chic style is loved by all ages.

The Sewster Sisters sew handmade goods of all kinds.

The Sewster Sisters sew handmade goods of all kinds.

April Thompson and Nancy Johnson are two grandmas who like to sew so they decided to become the Sewster Sisters. April had raised her children in Olympia. Nancy had just moved to the area from Pennsylvania. For the first time, they lived close enough to pursue their sewing hobby together. They enjoy using quality fabrics, unique patterns and & expert workmanship to make a variety of items; quilts, bags, purses, cosmetic bags, placemats, table runners and more! The Sewster Sisters, like most of our vendors, take custom orders. Look for them at your local craft fairs as well!

Are YOU a local artist that has hand-crafted items that you would like to share? We have a few Open Spaces here in our Store. Come in and see where you can sell all of your creations! We have great prices for great spaces, see store for details.

You can find us on our website (please excuse us as our website is under construction) and be sure to like us on Facebook.

Tumwater School Board Releases Names of the Three Superintendent Finalists

Thurston Talk - Sat, 02/14/2015 - 9:12am



Submitted by the Tumwater School District

At its meeting last night, the School Board voted unanimously to move forward three applicants for Superintendent.  They have selected Mr. John Bash, Deputy Superintendent for North Thurston Public Schools, Dr. Roberta Kramer, Superintendent for Riverside School District and Mr. Scott Seaman, Director of High School Programs for the Association of Washington School Principals as finalists.  School Board member Janine Ward shared that they were pleased to have a strong pool of qualified candidates to choose from.

Interviews for the finalists will be held March 2, 3 and 4 followed by separate public forums for each candidate in the evenings.  These forums will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the District Office Board Room, 621 Linwood Ave. SW, Tumwater.  The public is invited to come to the forums to meet the candidates and provide feedback.  The schedule is as follows:

Monday, March 2 – Roberta Kramer

Tuesday, March 3 – John Bash

Wednesday, March 4 – Scott Seaman

Dr. Roberta Kramer, Superintendent for Riverside School District Mr. John Bash, Deputy Superintendent for North Thurston Public Schools Mr. Scott Seaman, Director of High School Programs for the Association of Washington School Principals


Mike Edwards Hits His Stride in 2015 Match Game Bowling Tournament

Thurston Talk - Fri, 02/13/2015 - 10:22pm



Submitted by Drew Robertson

olympia bowling tournament

Mike Edwards came out the winner in the 2015 Match Game tournament held at Westside Lanes, Tumwater Lanes and Aztec Lanes.

On January 24 and 25 2015, Olympia’s best bowlers came together for the 35th Annual Match Game tournament. It is a scratch bowling tournament, open to men and women in Thurston County.

The tournament opened on Saturday with 57 bowlers converging on Westside Lanes for the first three-game set of qualifying, each hoping to be one of the 16 finalists retuning to Aztec Lanes on Sunday. All participants spent Saturday bowling a total of nine games; three games at Westside Lanes, three games at Tumwater Lanes and three games at Aztec Lanes.

After a full day of bowling (12:00 to 7:30 p.m.), the top sixteen bowlers qualified to bowl in Sunday‘s double elimination finals held at the recently stylishly remodeled Aztec Lanes, hosted by proprietors Dan & April Brathovd.

The number one qualifier was Caleb Hathaway averaging 230 (225-225-257-191-199-204-239-286-248), this being the 20-year-old’s fifth finals of 7 attempts and first time leading the qualifying round. Mike Edwards qualified tenth averaging 213 (267-222-184-214-235-235-165-210-188).

Caleb is the most talented bowler out of the Thurston County junior program since Tim Britton, Collin Silvernail and Kassy Williamson. This is his first year in adult leagues. He has won multiple junior tournaments in the area, including last year’s Olympia Junior Match game tournament. Part of his success is lessons he has taken from two-time PBA champion Matt Surina of Daffodil Bowl in Puyallup. Axis Point Pro Shop at Westside Lanes drills Caleb’s equipment.

Edwards started the morning against 7th qualifier Dave Johnson, a former PBA member from Lynnwood.  This match would result in a close 246-237 win for Edwards.  Without any break, the second match was a blow out against second high qualifier Corey Hensley, (226 avg) the 2007 champ, 289-191.

As each bowler loses a match, they drop into the losers’ bracket and will be out of the tournament with their second loss. Edwards then came up against the only female qualifier to make a 16 bowler cut in the history of the tournament, Kassy Williamson. She is very well known in the Olympia area as she set the all-time record for highest female league average in Thurston County last year with a 217. She also played two years of varsity fast pitch for Southwest Baptist University in Missouri until an injury ended her fast pitch career.

Kassy, likewise won her first two matches, 216-215 against Mike Karch, and 233-203 win over two time champ Frank Deremer. Kassy relied on her Storm Optimus, recently drilled at Axis Point Pro Shop at Westside Lanes.

At this point only four bowlers remained in the winners’ bracket; Edwards against Williamson (14th qualifier, 210 avg), and Drew Robertson (5th qualifier 220 avg, two titles, former PBA member) against Justin Clement (8th qualifier, 217 avg, 1 title, former PBA member).

Robertson survived a big match the game before against fellow lefty and three-time winner, as well as defending champ Rich Cook (4th qualifier, 221 avg), 223-219. Robertson started the day using a dull Storm Sync ball, but would finish the last three games with a Storm Byte (drilled by Axis Point Pro Shop). This dumped Cook into the losers’ bracket, meaning he would have to bowl six more games to win the title. That did not happen and the tournament remains with no back to back winner. Cook finished in 7th place.

Clement came out of the hole quickly with a 259, using a polished Storm Hy-Road ball (Tumwater Lanes Pro Shop). Clement lost his focus the next two games shooting only 175-194. But, due to the luck of the draw, dispatched Steve Soto and Drew Robertson to the losers bracket.

Edwards was able to keep his groove, using a polished Lane #1 Time Bomb, and sent Williamson into the losers’ bracket 226-205. Edwards commented, “I wasn’t planning on using the Time Bomb, but during the practice session, I threw it a few times and noticed its great ‘reading’ of the lane. Aztecs’ oil condition makes it difficult to carry the corners out, but not today.”

With Robertson, Cook, Deremer, and Hathaway in the losers’ bracket now, only Clement remained between Edwards and being the lone bowler in the winners’ bracket. Edwards strung the front 8 before leaving a weak 10 pin, Clement being shut out by the 8th frame with a final score 268-225. After having four wins in a row, Edwards was guaranteed a spot in the championship match. Aztec Lanes had many spectators watching the best local bowlers go head to head. No one was watching closer than Edwards himself as he sat and watched four matches to see whom he would bowl for the championship title.

First it was Robertson ending teammate Hathaway’s bid, with a 221, then Boesel, now in his fifth game, ended Cook’s attempt to be the first defending champ to win back to back. Now, Robertson against Boesel, in a relatively low scoring match stopped Boesel from returning to the title match, last time in 2003, with a 215.

Edwards commented, “At this point I was hoping Clement would beat Drew. I didn’t want to worry about the lefty having a better shot then me, and I had already beaten Clement once.”

It was Clement who secured the spot in the title match, beating Drew in the highest scoring match of the day a 277-248.

Edwards reviewed his choices that day saying, “Bowlers bring and change the bowling ball they are throwing depending on the lane conditions and their ball reaction. I brought four this weekend. In the finals, I used the Lane 1 Time Bomb for all six games I bowled. I debated switching balls the last game and decided against it.”

Edwards contnued, “This is the one that got me here, and this is the one I take to the end.”

As Edwards and Clement started the final match the crowd was quiet, the only sound was the pin machines, re-racking for the next ball.

The first match resulted in Edwards having his first loss of the day 227-222. The difference was Edwards’s missed 10 pin in the 7th. Since Edwards was in the winners’ bracket, Clement would have to beat him twice. The two moved to lanes 5 and 6 for the final game of the day. Clement never seemed to get loose and many shots hooked high. When Edwards doubled in the 8th and 9th, it was over – final score was 235 to 203.

With the win in hand, Edwards became visibly emotional and took a minute with a long embrace with his wife, Sarah, and their son, Jaden, before he could talk about what this win meant to him. Not only had Edwards bowled this tournament for years, and, coming close to a win, but also it had been a rough year for Edwards with his mother dying less than six months ago.  Edwards stated that he felt like he was bowling for both of them, always wanting to call his mom in Florida to tell her he won, and additionally it was 11 years to the day that Sarah’s mother died. He stated, “I was bowling for both of them.”

His first win was worth $613. He averaged 247 for the six games in the finals. He also thanked Dan Brathovd of Aztec Lanes for sponsoring him in the tournament and making it possible for him to bowl.

How Can Thurston County Solid Waste Help You?

Thurston Talk - Fri, 02/13/2015 - 9:51pm



Submitted by Thurston County Solid Waste

Your Resource for Great Information:

olympia recycling programs

Thurston County Solid Waste offers educational opportunities for school age kids and community groups. Photo courtesy Thurston County Solid Waste

Say the words “Solid Waste,” and most people think of garbage. But the Solid Waste team at Thurston County thinks about a lot more than just trash. Their mission is to “promote waste prevention and sustainable resource use in the County through education, technical assistance, and community building.” They see a future in which everyone in Thurston County makes informed and responsible choices about what we produce and consume, so that people create less waste.

Though the Thurston County Solid Waste (TCSW) department doesn’t collect your garbage or recycling (that’s done by your local hauler), we can help you learn what to do with it. Want to know where to take a particular item for recycling? Try the Where Do I Take My…database.

Not sure what to put in your organics or recycle bin? Need to know where to take your old electronics, car batteries or old medications? Just want the address and hours for the Waste and Recovery Center? Visit the Solid Waste website for fast and easy answers to all your questions.


TCSW offers education opportunities for school age kids and community groups. Staff are available to present to small groups in the community (neighborhood associations, churches, libraries and clubs) on several topics including recycling and wasted food. We also provide a wide variety of age-appropriate learning opportunities for kids in K-8th grade on topics ranging from recycling, to marketing for teens and consumption to food systems. You can learn more about current presentations here. But you’ll have to book ahead – these programs are booked up for most of the 2015 school year!

Technical Assistance:

food recycling olympia

Macklin Clark (left) and Noah Otto help Tumwater High School maximize their Food to Flowers waste reduction program.

Food to Flowers (F2F) is a Solid Waste program that partners with schools to reduce wasted food, eliminate disposables and set up recycling programs. There are 32 schools and more than 14,000 students participating in an F2F program in Thurston County. On average, F2F schools are saving 15-20% on their total garbage and recycling collection costs. Learn more here.

In addition, twenty-four F2F schools are now setting aside prepared, but unserved food to donate to the Thurston County Food Bank. This food is then packaged into ready-to-eat meals for families in our community. This F2F program – called Restaurant Rescue – can provide schools with the assistance and supplies needed to join this program.

TCSW can help your business reduce waste too. Waste reduction (recycling and waste prevention) offers financial advantages, benefits the environment and can help to establish your organization as a good community citizen. Our staff can help you assess your waste stream, establish a baseline, and design your waste reduction program. In addition, as part of the Waste Less Food program, TCSW is looking for a few business innovators interested in reducing shrink, feeding the hungry and helping to pilot innovative and profitable ways to waste less food.

Whether you’re looking for specific solutions to specific waste-related problems, or trying to get informed about important issues that affect you and our community, TCSW is your one-stop-shop.  For more information, contact us at 360-867-2491 or

Sarah Ruhl’s Dear Elizabeth at the Rep

South Sound Arts - Fri, 02/13/2015 - 5:09pm

Suzanne Bouchard and Steven Barker Turner in Dear Elizabeth. Photo by Andry Laurence.Dear Elizabeth by Sarah Ruhl at the Seattle Repertory Theater is a small and intimate re-creation of 30 years in the lives of the great American poets Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell composed entirely from their letters to each other and from their poems. There is not a word in the play not written by either Bishop or Lowell, which is why the playwright refers to herself in program notes as the “arranger” rather than as the writer. What she did was to artfully put together words from the poets and put them into the able hands of director Allison Narver and actors Suzanne Bouchard and Stephen Barker Turner.“There is an exquisite grace to Dear Elizabeth,” stated Acting Artistic Director Braden Abraham. “Sarah Ruhl began her writing career as a poet, so she was perfectly suited to arrange these letters into a beautiful drama. And Allison’s keen visual sensibility will be a wonderful complement to that language.”Suzanne Bouchard and Stephen Barker Turner in Seattle Repertory Theatre’s Dear Elizabeth (2015). Photo: Alan Alabastro.Bishop and Lowell began writing each other in 1947 and continued until Lowell’s death in 1977. During this time they traveled the world and were in and out of institutions. Bishop suffered from asthma, was an alcoholic and depressed, and the great love of her life committed suicide; Lowell had bipolar disorder. They were not lovers in the traditional sense, but they had a great and abiding love. They were critic, cheerleader and confidant to each other.Simple wordless acting between the recitation of poems and letters string together the narratives of their lives. The manner in which they convey story elements not made clear by the words is almost impossible to describe, but in many instances involve actions so simple as when, while writing to one another, they each take off their shoes and roll up their pants, and then in the next scene they come together and act out wading in cold water to illustrate an incident that took place when Lowell visited Bishop in Maine not long after they first met. Bishop later wrote about it: “Swimming, or rather standing, numb to the waist in the freezing cold water, but continuing to talk. If I were to think of any Saint in his connection then it is St. Sebastian—he stood in a rocky basin of the freezing water, sloshing it over his handsome youthful body and I could almost see the arrows sticking out of him.”Many elements come together to make for a satisfying evening of theater, elements such as Lowell and Bishop’s poetry, letters that were often hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking, tidbits into the thoughts and actions of other great writers whom they knew (such as Dylan Thomas who called A Streetcar Named Desire the “fuck truck”) and Bouchard and Turner’s acting. And there were a few elements that I found distracting, mostly symbolic acts such as when Lowell climbs up on the back wall and rips the moon out of the sky, and later when Bishop also climbs up and reaches for something (I know not what). If there were references within the script to explain these actions I missed them.I did not think the bare-bones set worked well. There were a couple of desks and chairs on rollers, a few props, and a backdrop of what looked like studs in an incomplete wall. Practically, the back wall provided for a screen for projected titles (dates, times, etc.) and for a place where Bishop could put her many whiskey bottles. But it did not make for an attractive stage. The Leo K, which is the smaller of the Rep’s two theaters, is running three shows on a two-show budget this year, and that may account to the minimalist set.Dear Elizabeth is anything but traditional theater. There is little action and no dramatic story arc, but it is intelligent, witty and heartfelt. Under Narver’s direction, Bouchard and Turner make us feel we have been granted a look into the most private and unguarded thoughts and feelings of two of our nation’s great poets.Feb. 6–March 8, 2015. Tickets at 206-443-2222 or online at http://www.seattlerep.orgThe Seattle Repertory Theater, 155 Mercer St., Seattle, through Feb. 8

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Historic, Stained Glass Windows Find New Home at Three Magnets Brewing Co.

Thurston Talk - Fri, 02/13/2015 - 12:28pm



By Margo Greenman

thurston first bankArt takes time to create. But, when made well, art can also withstand the test of time. A thoughtful concept, meticulous detail, and quality materials all contribute to the relevance and longevity of a piece of art, which is why so many of the most important works are also the oldest. Because of this, it comes as no surprise that when Bill Hillman, owner of Olympia-based Mansion Glass, came into possession of several antique, stained glass windows, he was in no rush to find them the perfect home. He knew time would bring the perfect home to the windows.

Our story starts in 2003 during the shutdown of longtime Olympia institution, Olympia Brewing Company. Hillman, a well-known local artist received a phone call one day and was asked if he would like some crates containing pieces of colored glass that were found on the brewery campus at the Schmidt House, the historic home of Olympia Brewing Company founders Leopold and Johanna Schmidt. Hillman said he was intrigued and jumped at the opportunity.

olympia stained glass

Bill Hillman, owner of Olympia-based Mansion Glass, restored colored glass dating back to the early 1900s.

When the old, dusty crates arrived at Hillman’s studio he was excited to unveil a set of five stained glass windows made by Olympia Brewing Company sometime during the early 1900s. The five windows, which were originally installed as a back bar at Seattle’s Merchants’ Café and Saloon, depict a 25- by 4-foot panoramic scene of Mount Rainier, Tumwater Falls, and a sunset over Budd Inlet. “I imagined pioneers of the time drinking beer [and] telling tales, illuminated by the soft, colorful glow of these beautiful windows,” said Hillman.

Hillman knew these windows were special, and, after spending some time rebuilding their lead binding, which would preserve the windows for years to come, Hillman set the colorful, Northwest inspired glass aside and waited.

Eleven years later, Hillman revisited the windows after learning of the opening of a new Olympia brewery, Three Magnets Brewing Co. “When I learned about Three Magnets Brewing Co. being constructed in the former Department of Personnel building alongside Thurston First Bank, I reached out to owners Nate and Sara Reilly,” said Hillman. “The glass windows have been in my studio for 11 years, waiting for the right home and will now proudly be displayed in the Three Magnets Brewing dining room for all to enjoy.”

And Three Magnets owners, Nate and Sara, couldn’t be more excited. Named for the symbolic “three magnets” referenced in Sir Ebenezer Howard’s book Garden Cities of Tomorrow, the brewery strives to uphold the idea of a “town-country” city, or a “utopian city that lives harmoniously with nature.”

olympia stained glass

The five stained glass windows, made originally by the Olympia Brewing Company, are now installed at Three Magnets Brewing. The brewpub is located in downtown Olympia, inside the Thurston First Bank building.

“Our community strives for this harmony with urban density,” Nate explained, and the historic stained glass windows are a great reminder of the effort Olympia makes to preserve its many natural surroundings.

“Sara and I are grateful for the opportunity to display the brewery glass refurbished by Mansion Glass. The richness of the colors and history of the windows add to the beauty of Three Magnets Brewing.”

Thurston First Bank, a large supporter of the arts and Olympia’s vibrant downtown, is excited for the installation of the historic windows at neighboring Three Magnets Brewing Co., which is located at the Thurston First Bank Building.

Thurston First Bank’s move downtown was a deliberate effort to become a more integrated and active part of downtown and the arts community. The installation of the historic, stained glass windows is a great example of the culture, art, and sense of community that Thurston First Bank so strongly supports.

Hillman is looking forward to the windows’ new home at Three Magnets Brewery, and is excited for the next generation of Northwest pioneers who will be able to enjoy pints and friendship in the warmth of the windows’ colorful glow.

Visit the windows at Three Magnets Brewery Co., located at the Thurston First Bank Building in downtown Olympia at 600 Franklin Street Southeast #105.


Centro Announces Moving and Liquidation Sale

Thurston Talk - Fri, 02/13/2015 - 11:31am



Submitted by Centro

A second incredibly mild winter in a row, with no ski season to speak of, continues to takes its toll on the regional economy, and Centro can’t help but be affected. With a major investment made in ski and snowboard repair equipment- well, the return has been minimal at best. Coupled with the lack of associated retail for winter in The Olympia Gear Exchange and diminished retail sales in the Bazaar, much of the fuel (working capital) to drive the Spring and Summer season’s has been lost.

In order to sustain and then grow the business and its components, we first have to scale back and focus, living within our means. To that end, we are making some changes, effective Friday, February 13, 2015:

  • The Olympia Gear Exchange and our Retail Bazaar are moving to smaller digs more in the heart of downtown Olympia. Announcement of the new location is imminent. “It’s gonna be a great little retail space on an amazing block- and we’re excited to get back to our roots, start small, and grow organically,” says Board of Directors spokesperson, Jim Cooper.
  • The Olympia Footwear Company, located within Centro at 408 Olympia Ave NE, is liquidating its entire inventory of footwear and socks, effective immediately. The brand name is being shelved for the moment – we hope to bring it back in the future, when financing for inventory is secured, but for the moment, The Olympia Footwear Company at Centro is closing, and all inventory being liquidated.
  • The Bike Stand, including all inventory, retail and rental, as well as all its shop tools and supplies, is being liquidating for the time being, and the brand is shelved by Centro.  “Until we have sufficient working capital to do it right, and have the best bike shop in the region – anything less is a disservice to customers and our valued staff,” says Cooper.

Garage sale – In addition to all the cycling, winter, and footwear inventory, we will be hosting a building wide Garage Sale of everything from hangers to display slat-wall and grid-work to mannequins and a large amount of store fixtures. There’s lumber, excess computers, brand posters and signage- and an amazing array of ‘odds and ends’ we’ve found in various corners of the building.

Centro’s re-structuring and ‘right-sizing’ will allow the Olympia Gear Exchange to flourish and serve customers for many years to come. We intend to roll out additional brands when enough fuel for those ventures is in place. To help and support Centro, come shop the moving, liquidation and garage sale – it’s the fuel that launches us into Spring.

Says Cooper, newest member of the Board of Directors, “Centro is committed to downtown Olympia and a thriving retail environment. While we are closing some operations – we are not closing the operation, or our commitment to downtown.” The corporation’s Board will be using this time to focus all resources and attention on growing the Olympia Gear Exchange, and planning for growth.

Evergreen’s Art of Living Set for February 28, in Tacoma

Thurston Talk - Fri, 02/13/2015 - 11:14am



Submitted by The Evergreen State College 

Experience the Space Needle, a watercolor by Lee Hoemann, is one of many art pieces for auction at Evergreen’s Art of Living February 28.

Experience the Space Needle, a watercolor by Lee Hoemann, is one of many art pieces for auction at Evergreen’s Art of Living February 28.

On Saturday, February 28, The Evergreen State College Foundation will host the sixth annual Art of Living dinner and auction in Tacoma. The fundraiser for Olympia-based Evergreen, which also offers a program in Tacoma, will take place at Tacoma’s ultra-modern Hotel Murano and will feature emcee Randy Engstrom, director of Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture and an Evergreen graduate.

Artists from Issaquah and Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia, have donated fine art to the event’s live and silent auctions. One-of-a-kind experiences, mixed media pieces, sculpture, photography, paintings and jewelry will be up for bid at the Saturday evening event in the heart of Tacoma’s arts district.

Artists include Marcia Mueller of Issaquah, Paul McKee and Anna McKee of Seattle, Ann Darling of Tacoma, Tom Anderson, Mary McCann and Lois Beck of Olympia, and Liz Sales of New York City. Anderson, a renowned mixed-media artist and Evergreen graduate, restored a 2010 Fender Squire Stratocaster guitar with a maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, silver leaf, enamel and polyurethane varnish, and donated it to the auction.

Seattle Arts & Cultural Office Director, Randy Engstrom, himself an Evergreen graduate (1999), will emcee the event this year. While earning his degree at Evergreen, Engstrom began organizing Hip-Hop concerts for Books to Prisoners. “I soon realized I was using culture and the arts to build community and activate people. Evergreen taught me a great deal about navigating systems to create possibility.” He later used that skill set to found the Youngstown Cultural Art Center in West Seattle and rose in the Emerald City’s art world to his current position. “Evergreen helped me make a career for myself while still in school,” he said. “I am looking forward to giving back by my participation in this event.”

The Art of Living is Evergreen’s yearly opportunity to gather alumni, friends and supporters for an elegant and lively evening to support students and faculty in Olympia and Tacoma,  buy fine art and enjoy good food. Proceeds from the Art of Living pay for scholarships and the immediate needs of the students and college. Alumni, friends and supporters are invited to register at

Photo: Experience the Space Needle, a watercolor by Lee Hoemann, is one of many art pieces for auction at Evergreen’s Art of Living February 28. Other hi-resolution photos are available on request and on the abovementioned web page gallery.

Olympia Valentine’s Day Weekend Event Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 02/13/2015 - 8:31am



yenneyA day all focused around love – what’s not to celebrate?  Even if you fall into the Valentine’s Day Scrooge camp, you can certainly appreciate a day devoted to friendship, kindness, and thoughtfulness.  I try to remind my girls, as they crank out Valentine cards for their classmates, that they should think about the positive traits of people year round (especially their sister!).

Celebrate your love of Thurston County this weekend as you participate in events around town.

Submit an event for our calendar here.

ThurstonTalk aims to be your source for positive information and events happening in Olympia. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.


Pie Fest 2015

OlyBlog Home Page - Fri, 02/13/2015 - 6:02am
Event:  Sat, 02/28/2015 - 1:00pm - 4:00pm

Eat pie! Win raffle prizes from local merchants! Compete in the pie baking contest! (entries accepted 10 am to 11:30 am. read the rules here.) All to support the Thurston County Food Bank and Senior Nutrition Program. The fun happens at the Olympia Center 222 Columbia St NW, Olympia, Washington 98501 logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Shivas “Let It Happen to You”

K Records - Fri, 02/13/2015 - 12:37am
I must let it happen. To you.   K Song of the Day: Shivas “Let It Happen to You”" from their album You Know What to Do [KLP252]. The Shivas album You Know What to Do [KLP252] is available now from the K mail Order Dept.  
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Olympia High School Seniors John Teters and Jay Harner Rescue Three Stranded Hikers

Thurston Talk - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 1:57pm



By Gail Wood

creative officeOn February 8, as John Teters and Jay Harner hiked along a soggy Olympic National Forest trail heading to Upper Lena Lake, the unexpected happened.

About two miles into their 14-mile hike, their day outing turned into a rescue.

Up ahead, on the other side of a swollen Lena Creek, Teters and Harner, seniors at Olympia High School, spotted two women, waving excitedly at them. The women began shouting at them, but because of the roar of the creek they couldn’t understand what they were saying.

“We were having to shout things over and over,” Teters said. “We were about 20 feet apart and we couldn’t hear them.”

hiker rescue lena

John Teters (left) and Jay Harner are seniors at Olympia High School. The students rescued three stranded hikers while on a hike at Lena Lake on February 1.

After a few exchanges, Teters and Harner understood. Bonnie Liberty, her husband, Terry, and friend Michelle, were trapped, unable to cross the Lena Creek, which was swollen by two days of pouring winter rain. Three days earlier on Friday, February 6, the three hikers began what was supposed to be a day outing, a four-mile hike to Lower Lena Lake.

By the time Teters and Harner showed up on Sunday, February 8, a soaked Bonnie, Terry and Michelle had spent the last two nights sitting under a rock overhang, catching naps and trying to stay warm by snuggling together. Since it was only supposed to be a day outing, they had no tent and not enough food. They were starving, soaked and cold.

“We were so glad to see them,” said Bonnie, who lives in Olympia. “They were so helpful.”

After hearing they had been without food, Teters tossed a bagel to them across the creek. Harner gave them his power bars.

“We knew they were hungry,” Harner said.

The two high school friends bumped into the stranded hikers at 12:47 on Sunday afternoon. Bonnie and Michelle were searching for an alternate route across Lena Creek when their rescuers appeared. Terry, who is in his late 60s, was back at the spot they had slept the previous two nights, resting.

hiker rescue lena lake

John Teters and Jay Harner found a passable section of Lena Creek that made it possible for Terry Liberty to cross to safety.

With their food – cheese, sandwiches and power bars – gone by Saturday afternoon, the three hikers were hungry.

“I was pretty fearful through the whole thing,” Terry said. “The first time I saw that creek on our way back I knew we were in deep kimchee. We were already soaking wet.”

Quickly, Teters and Harner began searching for a route across Lena Creek. They found a spot where the creek separated into three forks and the water was no more than about knee deep. Teters and Harner were able to balance across fallen logs and jump from rock to rock to cross the creek. But the three weary hikers – Bonnie and Terry are in their late 60s and Michelle is in her mid 30s – just walked through the water.

“It was hard for us to get them up to the crossing,” Harner said. “They’re older. And I think it was because of a lack of nutrition. All they had to eat that day was the bagel we gave them.”

Despite their circumstance, the three trapped hikers kept calm.

“Bonnie can tell you too I think we all stayed incredibly steady through that whole period,” Terry said. “All three of us. I think we were all focused on what do we need to do next. What’s the best thing to do right now.”

On Friday, hiking in a steady downpour, Terry, Bonnie and Michelle crossed a bridge over Lena Creek at about noon and headed to Lower Lena Lake. When they returned several hours later, the creek had risen, making it impossible for them to reach the bridge and cross. The creek was too swift for them to wade across.

“It was very risky,” Bonnie said. “We couldn’t cross.”

About the swollen creek, Teters said, “You couldn’t wade across. It was flowing pretty fast. It was about waist deep at least. It’s not something I would have tried.”

After waiting and seeing no other hikers on Friday, the three trio spent the night hunched together under a rock overhang to get out of the rain. On Saturday, they decided to hike through the woods off the trail along the creek in hopes of finding a crossing to reach the road. But after several exhausting hours of searching, they returned to the same spot and spent night two there. Fortunately for them, the temperatures were only in the low 40s.

hiker rescue lena lake

Michelle, Bonnie, Terry and their dog show appreciation for the help they received to cross Lena Creek.

“We eventually decided that going cross country was just way too rough so we had to turn around and go back,” Terry said. “The final decision was that we really needed to be where people could find us. Going cross country means no one can find you.”

After reaching them, it was clear to Teters and Harner that the three hikers were in bad shape. They were soaked, muddy and hungry.

“Their hands were white, crinkled,” Teters said. “They showed signs of hyperthermia.”

Harner and Teters showed their new lost friends the way back to the parking lot where their cars were parked. Then Harner and Teters headed to a restaurant in Olympia.

“We had given all our food away,” Teters said.

It didn’t bother them that they didn’t get to hike to Upper Lena. They did something more important.

“It definitely felt good,” Teters said about their part in a rescue. “It was more rewarding than going to the upper lake.”

Jacob said, “I’d have never guessed in a million years that when I woke up that morning we’d help missing hikers.”

There were no tears of joy when the three hikers spotted their rescuers. There was just a sense of relief. They knew another night in the woods could have been the end for them.

“I had some misgivings that night three was going to be possible,” Terry said.

Bonnie was thankful their rescuers showed up. She was impressed that their helping hand wasn’t seen as an inconvenience.

“They were just so happy to be able to have an opportunity to help somebody,” Bonnie said. “They were polite and concerned with every step that we took as they guided us over the creek.”


BARE: A Boudoir Exhibition” at B2

South Sound Arts - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 1:05pm

Published in the Weekly Volcano, Feb. 12, 2015
"Winged Asana" mixed media sculpture by Marsha Glazière
"White Face Dancer" drawing by Guy AndersonMaybe I shouldn’t review this latest show at B2 Fine Art because I am in the show, but not reviewing it would not be fair to the gallery or the other participating artists. So I won’t mention my own work other than to say it is an honor to be included in a show with artists of such stature.
“BARE: A Boudoir Exhibition” is a show of nudes in drawing, sculpture, painting and photography. The gallery warns that children under 18 should be accompanied by an adult. When taking notes for this review I was struck with how often I noted similarities to works by famous artists. Maryanne Hanson’s sketches reminded me of drawings by Giacometti — thin figures (but not so emaciated as Giacometti’s) drawn with energetic lines. I was particularly struck with a set of three figures hung in the windows. Paul Dahlquist’s photos of male nude dancers and his photo montages reminded me of Robert Mapplethorpe’s gay erotica. Although not quite as blatantly sexual as some of Mapplethorpe’s photos, they come pretty close. Nina Mikhailenko’s small, classical female nudes have a lot in common with paintings by George Luks, but with more expressive and sparse paint application. Francisco Zunigo’s three charcoal drawings are like Picasso’s heavy figures from his classical period. These are among the most impressive works in the show with their smooth modeling and lyrical contour lines.Others were too uniquely themselves to call other artists to mind.
Guy Anderson, the most famous artist in the show and also the most impressive, is represented by five life-size drawings of standing male nudes on brown paper and one smaller sketch in ink on paper. Each of his works is an isolated figure drawn with a strength and directness that leaps off the page. The contrasting unmodulated color areas and the harsh contour lines reverberate against one another in such a way as to enliven these stoic looking male figures. At the opening and again a week later I kept returning to these fine works.
Marsha Glazière is showing a single piece, and it’s a knockout. Called “Winged Asana,” it is a mixed-media metal sculpture of a woman posed in a dynamic dance move. Perhaps you’ve seen some of her paintings. In this sculpture she has done with various mesh screens and metal plates what she does with paint, which is to create a densely textured clash of complementary forms and surface marks that are nevertheless nicely unified, that speak simultaneously of the subject and the materials. It is outstanding.
Rounding out this selection of art are seven pastels by the incomparable team of Ric Hall and Ron Schmidt. These works combine elements of surrealism and German expressionism with male and female figures in groups and in various environments with dark fauvist colors and strange juxtapositions. Often Hall and Schmidt’s figures meld together to form single figures with multiple parts. They can be unnerving, but I enjoy them. Whenever I see their work I feel like I’m in a cabaret in Berlin circa 1930, or in the midst of a nightmare. They are scary, funny, and beautifully crafted.
Also showing are fine works by Chuck Smart and Georgianna Malloff.
B2 Fine Art Gallery, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, till 9 p.m. Third Thursdays, through March 14, 711 St. Helens Avenue, Tacoma, 253.238.5065]
Categories: Arts & Entertainment

MK Guth: Wednesday, February 18th, 11:30-1:00 pm in Lecture Hall 1

Evergreen Artists Lecture Series - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 11:02am

BedSmall shifts in what is familiar amplify human presence and speak to the intricacies of social relations in MK Guth’s work. Her videos depart from everyday scenarios into the site of fiction as an entry point to more complicated issues of identity and self and her sculptural installations often act as visual containers for audience interaction.

M.K. Guth is a visual artist working in video, photography, sculpture, performance, and interactive based exchange projects. In 2012, Marylhurst University released the first Monograph on Guth’s work. The NY Times, Flash Art, ArtForum on line 500 words, Art News, Art in America, and Sculpture magazine are just a few of the periodicals where Guth’s work has been discussed. She is a recipient of a Bonnie Bronson Award, a Betty Bowen Special Recognition Award through the Seattle Art Museum and an Award of Merit from the Bellevue Art Museum.

She has exhibited with numerous galleries and institutions including, The Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC, Boise Art Museum, The Melbourne International Arts Festival, Australia, Nottdance Festival, Nottingham, England, Swiss Institute, NYC, Gallery-Pfeister, Copenhagen, Franklin Parrasch Gallery NYC, Betty Moody Houston TX, White Columns, NYC, The Art Production Fund (NYC / Las Vegas), Yerba Buena, in San Francisco and the Henry Art Museum.  Guth is a member and the originator of RED SHOE DELIVERY SERVICE, a collaborative interactive video/performance project.  (with Molly Dilworth and Cris Moss)  MK Guth is represented by the Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland Oregon and is an Associate Professor at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.


Categories: Arts & Entertainment

Joining Sound Transit

OlyBlog Home Page - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 8:49am

There's been some recent discussion about getting the Sounder train from Seattle to Olympia by joining Sound Transit's service area.  (To be precise, there have been posts at Olympia WA, and the Seattle Transit Blog, and Olympia Time.)

Well, who knows what the future will bring... but we commute to Seattle and back by bus to grandparent once a week, and last night we rode the 592 back to Olympia from Seattle. This is the closest thing we now have to direct commuter service (except for van pools) - a two year pilot, morning and evening service, Olympia to Seattle in the morning and Seattle to Olympia in the evening, with no transfers and three very brief stops on the way. It's not that different an experience from real bus rapid transit, and I doubt that it's much slower than the train would be after it toddled into town from the main line. Anyway, we left Seattle on the 5:37, and we were the only people going to Olympia. (In fact, at the Hawks Prairie Park and Ride, when the other three remaining passengers got off, the driver looked back at us dubiously and asked, "Are you going all the way to the end?") I haven't looked at the ridership statistics for this trial project, but that made me suspect ridership is definitely not high...

If people really want train service, starting to use the commuter transit options that we have and generating some statistics to show there's an unmet demand might be a good first step... logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Roses, Potted Plants from Bayview and Ralph’s Thriftway Say “I Love You” on Valentine’s Day

Thurston Talk - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 6:56am



olympia valentines flowersLike so many holidays, Valentine’s Day can be spotted a mile away. Christmas? Look for anything red and green. Halloween? Orange and black. July Fourth? Red, white, and blue. Valentine’s Day? Gorgeous shades of pink and red.

But this year, why not go green? Olympia’s Ralph’s and Bayview Thriftway offer gorgeous floral tributes that are greener for the planet and save some green in your wallet.

Holiday flowers for your loved one are a long-standing Valentine’s Day tradition but often a bit of a splurge. This season let the staff at Thriftway’s Finishing Touch Florist and Gifts help provide an amazing gift for any recipient at both reasonable prices and a greener environmental impact.

Potted plants are one easy, beautiful way to say”‘I love you.” Spring bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths come in a variety of colors and can be replanted in your garden or window-box once they’ve finished flowering indoors.

Finishing Touch Florist operates within Ralph’s Thriftway and provides both store locations with a dazzling array of both potted and cut floral options. With the majority of Valentine’s Day flowers under $15, buyers can choose from a selection of garden perennials like lavender, budding spring bulbs, scented miniature roses, and gorgeous houseplants like peace lilies, kalanchoe, and an array of succulents or herbs.

If your loved one is of a more subtle—or pollen-sensitive—variety, Finishing Touch has gorgeous air plant terrariums, pink-hued polka-dot plants, and brightly potted edible herbs. Holiday offerings of all types can be found in gorgeously wrapped, brightly bowed plastic pots or reusable heart-themed planters in ceramic, resin, or stone.

olympia valentines flowersBut let’s admit it, there’s nothing quite like a lavish bouquet of cut long-stemmed roses to set the mood. Finishing Touch has them in abundance, with colors across the spectrum. They also offer a variety of lilies, tulips, daisies, and mixed bouquets for every taste, size, style, and budget.

Both Thriftway locations will be stocking their floral displays constantly throughout the big holiday weekend. While there, pair your flowers with in-house made, freshly-dipped chocolate strawberries. Thriftway staff will be on-site creating these limited luxuries February 13 and 14 only so don’t miss out.

Need the perfect Valentine’s Day trifecta? Chocolate, flowers, and wine can not only be found at either Thriftway location, but the store’s knowledgeable staff will make sure you choose exactly the right pairing for your budget and meal.

You can call Finishing Touch at 360-943-9921 but trust me when I say it’s so much better to stop by. Wander the sights and scents of springtime’s finest offerings; you never know just what will catch your eye. Better yet, chat with the on-site floral team about the perfect addition to your weekend’s festivities.

Ralph’s Thriftway and Finishing Touch Florist and Gifts are at 1908 East 4th and Bayview Thriftway can be found at 516 West 4th.

Thrifty Thurston Mixes Culture and Fun at the Olympia Old Time Music Festival

Thurston Talk - Thu, 02/12/2015 - 6:43am



By Holly Smith Peterson

capital heating and coolingIt was Olympia resident Emily Teachout’s 40th birthday party that inspired the original Old Time Music Festival in the South Sound.

“We gathered a bunch of friends to play Old Time music, which is a great time to get everyone together and was so much fun in the middle of winter,” Teachout remembers. “We promised to get everyone together every year to do it again. The impetus was that it was simply a way to connect people to have fun around music in the wintertime.”

Those comments sparked the original Olympia Old Time Music Festival, back in 2008. That event drew roughly 200 attendees, all by word of mouth.

olympia old time music festival

The Olympia Old Time Music Festival isn’t just for pros. Amateur musicians are invited to bring instruments and join in on jams.

Now that you know how old Teachout is, what she emphasizes as more important is that the festival has been successful from the get-go, and has grown by leaps and bounds since that first year.

“The Old Time Music community is pretty tight-knit.  That first year we just organized and told friends, who told their friends,” says Teachout, who, along with her husband, was one of the event’s founders. “We were also inspired by the Portland Old Time Music Gathering that took place a little earlier in the year. We spread the word down there, and in Seattle, and that brought a lot of people from both cities. That was then; this is now, and this year we expect more than 500.”

Teachout herself wasn’t a professional musician by trade, but when her husband bought her a fiddle out of the blue 14 years ago she connected with a woman who taught her the basics of the instrument. That progressed into a jaunt to Port Townsend for the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, which “blew me away,” Teachout says.

“It was so danceable and fun, and I said, ‘That’s what I want to do,’” she remembers. “Then my husband started playing banjo, and my daughter started playing the fiddle … and now we have a family band Fiddlie-I-Ay, while I’m also in the trio Yodelady.”

Both of these have been feature acts in the Olympia Old Time Music Festival over the past seven seasons, which will be held this year from February 12 – 14 in downtown Olympia.

This year, the festival has vastly expanded their lineup of performers and participants. You can listen to authentic Old Time music from across the country and bring your instrument and play along at your inspiration.

“The old time music that we play is pretty participatory,” says Teachout. “It’s really more created towards people playing music just for the fun of it than for the performance.”

olympia old time music festival

Nashville native T-Claw will be calling dances and teaching workshops about Old Time music.

What’s changed in seven years? Says Teachout, whose husband and daughters also play in the venue, the basic format is the same. The main Old Time instruments include the banjo, claw hammer and fiddle, as well as the ukelele and cello, with many unique touches ranging from finger picking to resounds and slides. The upshot is that it’s mostly string, and all acoustic.

Equally interesting is the diversity of performers that sign on for the festival each year.

“We try to get musicians from across the country, and every year it’s very a diversified community of those who are historic and tradition bearers, ” Teachout explains. “At every event debriefing meeting we ask, ‘What were the magic moments?’ And we try to repeat them.”

Since the bulk of Old Time music is passed down by song rather than the written word, from community to community, the organizers and founders focus on finding musicians who appreciate and honor those very traditions. The Appalachian region is key to performance highlights, such as in 2013 when “mountain music” experts Elizabeth Laprelle & Anna Roberts-Gevalt from Cedar Springs, VA brought out their “Crank Music” shadow storytelling behind a hand-cranked story screen.

olympia old time music festival

At the Olympia Old Time Music Festival the costumes and instruments are as unique as the music.

“It’s a really compelling way to engage people in music, because it’s a scroll that tells the stories of music in a ballad,” says Teachout. “Elizabeth has an amazing, haunting voice and is a compelling storyteller and an old soul even though she’s only in her 20s, and Anna is an amazing instrumentalist. People were totally blown away.”

Another hit from past years was Erin Marshall, from Dallas, VA, the first woman to win the Appalachian String Band Festival.

“She’s an amazing accompaniment fiddler, originally from British Columbia, who then completed her studies in Virginia,” Teachout says. “She had to fight to get her weight in the performing lineup.”

It’s acts like these that are attracting visitors by the hundreds to the Olympia Old Time Music Festival in 2015. The event is even more compelling because of its cost-conscious and kid-friendly policies. (Check out the schedule that includes many kid-oriented, free workshops.)

Says Teachout, “We try to keep it really affordable because we want this music to be accessible to everyone. And if you’re a musician, you can come in as a beginning player and catch on with the rest of us pretty quickly.”

olympia old time music festival

The Olympia Old Time Music Festival is held in downtown Olympia from February 12 – 14, 2015.

A weekend pass is just $30 or buy day tickets for $15. (Tickets can be purchased here.) Scholarships are available. And there’s also free admission for kids.

“As founders, we made the decision to make this a tradition,” says Teachout. “We’re most well-known for being very family-friendly. And there’s a great group of kids who come that are great musicians, and that’s been encouraging to see.”

How are the last days of preparation prior to the festival? The team forms small groups for overall event review, website wrap-up and promotional finalization. They also use the time to tweak duties for their kids, who have fun making buttons, providing performance run-throughs, training greeters, and participating in other key duties.

“It’s a labor of love, and every year around this time I find myself anxious that things are going to come apart, or won’t come together,” Teachout confesses. “But this time I’m not stressing about it, because it always does.”

Teachout also places an emphasis on the sponsors, as the event depends on donations and trades from area companies such as Compass Rose and the Olympia Food Co-Op. For an event that was originally run on crowd funding donations to one that’s now in the black – the main expenses being the performers, workshop leaders and venue booking itself – Teachout is pleased at how community support has grown the event. But to expand more throughout the South Sound, it needs even more financial backing.

“The Kickstarter campaign carried us through for the last couple of years, but really we’re still on a shoestring budget,” she says. “We’re only just learning to ask potential sponsors to see the value in what we do, and to give back to the community in a way that’s unique and beneficial.”

olympia old time music festival

Kids and adults both gather ‘round for fun-filled improvisation music sessions during a workshop at the Olympia Old Time Music Festival.

In the end, though, Teachout and her family, and all of the event founders, organizers, volunteers and sponsors encourage you to visit for one event or the whole weekend.

“If you don’t know Old Time music, or if you ever had any inkling of wanting to play a stringed instrument, just bring yours down and you can take it out of the case and you’ll probably learn thing or two,” she says. “Put your iPad, laptop and phone screens away and just look people in the eye and dance to the music and enjoy a good time.”

The Olympia Old Time Music Festival begins on Thursday, February 12 with most activities happening on Saturday, February 14.  The event is held at the Olympia Ballroom and lasts all weekend.  Find a complete schedule of performers and workshops here.

All photos courtesy Olympia Old Time Music Festival.

Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County. The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.

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