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Trails to Taps is for the community

Higher turnout resulted in more fundraising for local nonprofits

Photos from the Trails to Taps event on Oct. 15, 2023. Participants dressed up and enjoyed a relay race through Bellingham's trails and breweries. // Photos by Nate Landi

Costumes, breweries and relay races are great ways to enjoy the season and contribute to the community. On Sunday, Oct. 15, Whatcom Events hosted its fourth annual Trails to Taps race, where participants dress up and enjoy a fun run through Bellingham’s trails and breweries.

Trails to Taps stretches across eight different breweries and cideries throughout Fairhaven and Bellingham, covering 35 miles of trail. Teams are assigned to one leg of the race and all end up at the afterparty hosted by Boundary Bay.

The idea for the Trails to Taps event originated from a previous Boundary Bay employee. They’ve hosted the race’s afterparty every year, designating its outdoor area for participants and providing food and drink. 

The event was sponsored by People’s Bank, which event director Anna Rankin said is a lovely sponsor to work with, praising its dedication to philanthropy.

Around $240 to $280 is collected from each team to raise money for Lydia Place, Habitat for Humanity and other similar nonprofits.

Trails to Taps assigns the nonprofits one leg of the race. They each receive a portion of the overall fundraising money, estimated by Rankin at about $500.

Lydia Place, the primary beneficiary of the event, provides housing, mental health services, educational opportunities and other services to the homeless community. They currently provide these services for over 250 families.

“This event really helps bring awareness and recognition to Lydia Place and the services we provide,” said Meredith Stamey, outreach manager for Lydia Place.

Over the four years, Trails to Taps has raised over $15,000 for Lydia Place. This year saw 73 participating teams, an improvement from last year’s 54.

Rankin estimates that a minimum of $3,500 will be donated to nonprofits from this year’s event. At least $2,500 of that will be going to Lydia Place.

Not only does this event generate money for a serious issue facing Whatcom County, but it also provides an entertaining community event. 

“We have been doing this for a few years now,” said Septon Cows team member Ben Laroche. “It’s all about the fun and experience. And drinking like fish at the afterparty.”

Each brewery allows participants to stop, sit and grab a cold brew before or after their leg of the race. 

“Aslan loves contributing to the community,” said Aslan Brewery event coordinator Erin Olmstead. “It is nice being able to combine Bellingham’s beer culture with an athletic event like this.”

The costume and non-competitive aspect make it enjoyable for everyone, Rankin said. 

“It’s all about having fun while exploring Bellingham trails and breweries,” she said.

Nate Landi

Nate Landi is a senior at Western Washington University and a campus reporter for The Front. He is a journalism major and is very interested in sports and local news. You can reach him directly at

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