It's Choochokam weekend
June 25, 2008 · Updated 1:53 PM
"Cul an Ti (Gaelic for The Back of the House) is one of the Northwest's most exciting Irish bands. They play at noon on Sunday on the main stageThe festival of Choochokam, one of the most popular events in the Northwest, will return to Langley this weekend, once again transforming downtown into a gallery of the finest arts and crafts, a street of festival foods and an arena of almost continuous entertainment. The South Whidbey event regularly drawsartists and artisans who are not only well known in the Pacific Northwest and beyond, but who create works both diverse and eclectic. Under the bright white tents that line First Street are examples of hand-thrown pottery, original jewelry designs, fine art, photographs, furniture, fountains, toys and other crafts.Just up the street are the food stands selling corn on the cob, sno cones, barbecued salmon, ethnic foods and, of course, curly fries. Visitors can find a seat on any number of sidewalk curbs, and munch on a meal while listening to the music that is part of the art of Choochokam.That music reflects the diversity of local and regional entertainment and the culture that is Whidbey. Early on Saturday the players of Island Strings Plus will play music for the morning, while at around noon, the infectious rhythms of Whidbey Island Marimba will take over the mainstage. Other island performers include vocalist Beverly Graham, the jazzy Langley All Stars, acoustic guitarist Keith Allen Bowers and Barbara Dunn and Kimmer Morris, and their unique Celtic funk, and the ever popular Shifty Sailors.The music lineup from off island brings world music from Celtic to African and flamenco violin. The Apostles offer traditional gospel with a contemporary and fresh sound, and Nick Vigarino brings his Meantown Blues. Saturday night's street dance is one of the highlights of Choochokam, and once again the sounds of Swamp Mama Johnson and Superkali will keep dances moving until the wee hours.There are more arts activities at Choochokam. Island talent will perform theater monologues or do readings and sing at open mic revues. The Band of Poets -- Lorraine Healy, David Riordan, Victory Lee Schouten and Jane Winslow -- will present a fresh take on poetry, music and performance. And returning to its spot at Seawall Park will be probably Choochokam's largest musical instrument, the Junk Chime, 8 feet tall, 8 feet wide and 16 feet long, ready for sound and rhythm exploration for all ages.Also at Seawall Park, volunteers from Whidbey Island Waldorf School will be making stilts (not the Larry Dobson size), and the Rotary will sponsor a skate/bike demonstration. Finally, in a shaded area tucked away behind Whidbey Antiques but within good listening distance of the performing artists and the excitement of the street fair, the adult crowd can relax with a brew or a glass of wine at the the Langley Chamber of Commerce beer garden.For more detailed information, call 360-221-7494. The Island Arts Council sponsors this annual celebration and tribute to the arts of Whidbey Island and the Northwest. "