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Rainier Arts Festival

A fall celebration of art and music in the mountain’s shadow

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Unlike Andrea Brannon, when I look out my living room window, I see a mini-storage and the back end of a multiplex. What does Andrea Brannon see outside her window? Mostly “trees and birds,” she says. And, oh yes, there’s also an enormous mountain nearby.

Artist Andrea Brannon, who lives and creates fused glass works in Ashford, in the shadow of Mount Rainier, is offering to share the view that inspires her art. She’s coordinating the first art festival the Ashford community has hosted since the early 1980s — the Rainier Arts Festival, coming October 5, 6 and 7 to Ashford landmarks the Rainier Overland and Nisqually Lodge.

The Rainer Arts Festival is a celebration of graphic and three dimensional art, to be sure, but it promises to be more, Brannon reports. In addition to bringing together more than 30 Pacific Northwest artists, the festival space includes a music stage (some seven bands are set to play during the three-day event), an outdoor food court, a beer garden, a live art auction, art workshops and horse rides. Overnight lodging is available to encourage visitors to make a fall weekend of it.

Proceeds are set to benefit the Eatonville chapter of Dollars for Scholars, which provides grants to college-bound high school students. “I wanted to include Dollars for Scholars because I hope that with their presence at an art festival, festival goers might make the connection that art is important in schools,” Brannon says.

That sounds fine, but let me get this straight: art, music, food and drink events, scattered across a 20-acre field in the Pacific Northwest, in October? “Have you ever spent time in the October mountain air,” Brannon asks, “on a day so crisp it could be the freshest, sweetest Washington apple you’ve ever bitten into?”

(Maybe I asked the wrong question.)

“I’d like to spread the word,” Brannon says. “While most of the Puget Sound population is under a damp, gloomy marine layer, we highlanders are enjoying a bright and sunny day. Just because you can’t see the mountain from where you are doesn’t mean it’s crummy weather up here.”

(OK, I’m convinced.)

“Come on, this is Washington,” Brannon concludes, “and our ‘water’ colors don’t run. Besides, even if it does rain, we’ve got tents!”

Information regarding bus, lodging, dining and workshop packages is available by calling 253.732.2077.

[Rainier Overland, Oct. 5-7, free, 31811 State Route 706 E., Ashland, 866.267.6814,]

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