Here’s to the people who get things done

The Beachcomber weighs in on Strawberry Festival, and bids farewell to our reporter, Jenna Dennison.

A summer milestone has now passed — the presentation of Vashon’s beloved Strawberry Festival, which filled Vashon’s town center with islanders of all ages last weekend.

The board, staff and volunteers of the Vashon Island Chamber of Commerce are to be commended for their tireless efforts to keep the traditions of the festival alive, while also fine-tuning it to make sure it truly fit the bill of a “By Vashon, For Vashon” event.

There’s no doubt that the festival has changed in its last two incarnations. It has felt vastly different from what the festival had become, pre-pandemic — an event where islanders needed to navigate a sea of tourists and a blocks-long arcade of off-island vendors in order to find their friends and celebrate the occasion.

After 2021’s very welcome but somewhat smaller comeback festival, this year’s festival felt right-sized — more bustling and expansive, but still beautifully focused on community.

We also loved the way that the Chamber’s efforts were augmented this year by lots of independent presentations.

The Bill Burby Fun Run, once again, got the festival off to a running start on Saturday morning.

The Festival’s music main stage, at Vashon Village, was bopping, but so were other independent music stages at the Sugar Shack, Snapdragon, Sporty’s and the Methodist Church.

The Tom Stewart Memorial Car Show, held at Vashon Center for the Arts, offered shiny visions of automotive splendor, as always.

So many on Vashon pitched in the attempt to make the festival pitch-perfect, with something for everyone.

Of course, there was the usual grousing on a few Facebook threads that the festival was missing this or that, or that it had been better back in the good old days.

It’s pretty easy to complain, you know, but much harder to do all the careful planning and work necessary to put on an event like the Strawberry Festival.

So we’d like to thank the Chamber for its acknowledgment of the present moment, not days gone by.

In 2022, as we still try to dodge the ever-evolving COVID virus, we’re grateful that the festival felt not too small, and not too big, but somehow just right.

Farewell to Jenna

This week is bittersweet at The Beachcomber, as we bid farewell to our intrepid reporter for the past 11 months, Jenna Dennison.

During her time at the newspaper, Jenna jumped right to learn the ropes of covering the news on Vashon, ably writing stories about notable islanders, crime, and the work of our public servants and elected officials, among other subjects.

She also provided skilled support in terms of the many other time-consuming tasks involved in getting our newspaper to press and online each week.

We didn’t think she’d stay forever — Jenna is just beginning her career in journalism, and rightfully should spread her wings and fly away to gain more experience in her chosen field.

She’s off now for a new job at The Astorian, in Oregon, where we know she will also be a resourceful presence in that newsroom, as she was in ours.

We’re looking for a new reporter, so spread the word. The work of being a community journalist is hard, but it is also filled with great rewards. It feels good, at the end of the day, to know you perform a job that helps a small community stay more informed and connected. It feels good to adhere to a set of standards that demand fairness and accuracy.

We hope, for the sake of our island, that the right person steps up, as Jenna did 11 months ago.

And in the meantime, please keep in mind that we will need your stories, your press releases, your news tips, and possibly your patience in the weeks to come. We welcome community contributions both to our news and opinion pages. With your help, we can keep community journalism alive and well on Vashon.

Want to join our team?

Email your cover letter, resume, and include five examples of your best work showcasing your reporting skills and writing chops, to, if you have the time, energy and skill to help us in our necessary work of keeping solid community journalism alive and well on Vashon.