This year, a variety of community members representing island nonprofits are hoping to be named this year’s unofficial mayor – but they need islanders’ support and dollars to win the race.
The whimsical candidates in this year’s race include a Douglas fir tree, a bookmobile, a rescue goat, four adorable puppies, and two different grown-up dogs named Buddy.
All these candidates, and the organizations that support them, are out to buy islanders’ votes, at $1 per vote (though voting more than once is definitely encouraged). The candidate that collects the most votes will be bestowed with the honor of serving as unofficial mayor until next year’s Strawberry Festival.
This year’s candidates include:
Buddy, for Vashon HouseHold
Buddy the dog, described as a “North End fella and hound about town” on Vashon HouseHold’s Instagram page, is running for unofficial mayor this year.
Vashon HouseHold works to provide access to affordable housing to low-income and moderate-income islanders.
Sunny, Grandpa Jr., Fern and Phaedra, for The DOVE Project
A quartet of puppies – Sunny, Grandpa Jr., Fern and Phaedra – are also in the race.
The four puppies, otherwise known as “DOVE’s Prevention Puppies of Love,” embody values such as dignity, opportunity, voice and empowerment.
“Together they are bringing together their puppy power to support education and prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault,” reads DOVE Project’s Instagram page.
Tosho, for Vashon Reads
Islanders may have seen the bright red, refurbished Japanese firetruck turned bookmobile make its way throughout Vashon, known as “Tosho.” Now, community members have the opportunity to elect Tosho as mayor.
Vashon Reads’ mission is to foster a love of reading in Vashon youth “one book at a time.”
Buddy Conway, for Vashon Island Pet Protectors
Another canine candidate in this year’s race, Buddy Conway, is running on behalf of Vashon Island Pet Protectors (VIPP).
“If elected, I will make sure every Vashon dog and cat has shelter, food and treats…oh, and toys, lots of toys too,” read VIPP’s Instagram page.
VIPP is committed to helping animals find new homes, and also offers microchip, spay and neutering services.
Douglas Fir, for Vashon Rotary
A tree named Douglas Fir is also standing tall as a mayoral candidate on behalf of Vashon Rotary.
Douglas fir trees provide the structural “backbone” of western Washington state’s old-growth forests, said Rotary President James Freund in an email to The Beachcomber.
“Douglas fir is critical for its role in providing habitat for hundreds of species of flora and fauna,” Freund added.
Vashon Rotary is an organization of island professionals united to serve others, encourage ethical standards in vocations and build goodwill in the world.
Winston the Goat, for BrambleByrne Farm Rescue Ruminants
Winston the goat, said Brigitte Schran Brown, of BrambleByrne Farm Rescue Ruminants, is as “feisty as you can get.” Brown further describes Winston as also being incredibly cute, loveable and “absolutely adorable.”
Winston was rescued from a dairy farm and now spends his days at BrambleByrne, where Brown has been taking in rescues for more than 20 years. She describes the farm as a retirement home for old goats.