The Bellingham  region offers enough opportunity to keep outdoor lovers busy for years. But no event highlights the joys of the area’s recreational bliss more than Ski to Sea (360/734-1330, www.skitosea.com ). It’s the mother of all adventure races held Memorial Day weekend.
This whopping seven-sport relay tests the physical endurance and athletic skills of its participants over an 85-mile course that includes cross-country and downhill skiing, running, bicycling, canoeing down the Nooksack River, mountain biking, and finally kayaking across Bellingham Bay to the finish in the Fairhaven District .
Ski to Sea attracts teams of athletes from all over the world, who start atop Mount Baker  and rush to the shores of Bellingham Bay over snow, water, trail, and road. All told, the grueling race can take anywhere from 5.5 to over 8 hours to complete, all followed with a rockin’ party in Fairhaven to celebrate everyone’s efforts.
In existence for almost 30 years, the Ski to Sea race is the highlight of a weeklong festival that includes parades, a street fair with crafts, live music and dancing, food, and a beer garden on Sunday after the race.
All summer long the city puts on free Concerts in the Parks at Boulevard Park (Saturday evenings) and Elizabeth Park (Thursday evenings), plus Friday children’s concerts at on the Bellingham Library lawn. All are free.
There’s a big 4th of July fireworks show over Bellingham Harbor each summer.
Every August, Western Washington University  is the home of the two-week Bellingham Festival of Music (360/676-5997, www.bellinghamfestival.org ). You’ll hear outstanding classical and jazz performances.
Around the same time, the Bellingham Chalk Art Festival (360/676-8548) attracts a wide range of talent, from kids to serious artists. Great fun as everyone gets to draw on the city’s sidewalks and not get arrested.
Like many other Puget Sound cities, Bellingham  sponsors a Christmas Lighted Boat Parade (360/733-7390) in Bellingham Bay in mid-December.