What to Do for Memorial Day 2016 in Washington

Memorial Day is a time for America to remember and honor its fallen heroes. In the northwest, we celebrate the long weekend with music festivals and races, and by generally getting outside as much as possible. Because the end of May is also the end of spring, and summer's right around the corner. Here are a few ways to venture out and celebrate our hard-won freedoms this Memorial Day Weekend.

Northwest Folklife Festival
Folklife is a cultural celebration that takes place annually at Seattle Center. Put on by the nonprofit organization Northwest Folklife, this festival has been a Memorial Day Weekend tradition since 1972. Creating opportunities for over 6000 performers and over 100 community groups, it's a win-win for artists and attendees alike. Bring the whole family to check out music, dance, and storytelling performances. Attendance is free for all.

Yes, there is a festival named after the Pacific Northwest's most notorious mythical beast. And Sasquatch fest lives up to the hype. Celebrating 15 years in 2016, Sasquatch brings some of the biggest names in music out to The Gorge for a weekend of rocking tunes. This year's lineup boasts The Cure, Florence and the Machine, Alabama Shakes, Leon Bridges, Allen Stone, and many more. If Bigfoot's listening, he'll be proud.

Ski to Sea
Ski to Sea is Bellingham's biggest annual event. Since 1973, this adventure race has begun at Mount Baker Ski Area and ended at Bellingham bay after a 93-mile traverse. Dozens of 8-person teams compete, skiing, running, cycling, canoeing, and kayaking their way to the finish line. It all ends in Fairhaven, where the Fairhaven Festival greets competitors and spectators alike. Check out food booths, live music, and the finish line beer garden.

Not in the mood for rubbing elbows with sweaty festival-goers, but still want to soak up some sun? Lucky for you, most seasonal campgrounds throughout Washington state open in May. The downfall, of course, is that Memorial Day Weekend has become one of the busiest camping weekends of the year. If you don't have a reservation yet, you can forget about camping at most state parks. Instead, consult the Washington Trails Association's handy Memorial Day Weekend camping guide.

Brandon Fralic is a Bellingham-based freelance writer. With a focus on the outdoors, travel, and craft beer, he has contributed to a handful of publications including Washington Trails, WhatcomTalk, and OutdoorsNW.