Thanks To You, Our Community Picnic Was A Success

Taylor Shellfish Farms provided delicious food, featuring recipes by local resident Xinh Dwelley.
GNA hosts greeted event attendees.

A huge “thank you!” to all who attended this year’s community picnic, hosted by the Griffin Neighborhood Association. A special appreciation is extended to the sponsors who donated supplies, the volunteers who donated their time, and the many local businesses and organizations who participated.

This year’s picnic featured seafood prepared by Taylor Shellfish Farms and hamburgers and hotdogs prepared by volunteers and members of our Board. Drinks and chips were donated by the Steamboat Trading Post. The Island Market and Steamboat Trading Post provided the ice. Over at the driving range, the Salish Cliffs Golf Club hosted a game with prizes and there were kids’ games and face painting provided by the Steamboat Island Church. More than a dozen local businesses and organizations attended.

The Tin Cup Golf Driving Range and Steamboat Tennis & Athletic Club donated their facilities for the event. Thurston County Explorer Search & Rescue directed traffic, particularly into and out of the parking area. Wash facilities were provided by Island Johnny. Click here for a complete list of this year’s sponsors, with links to their websites.

The booths of local businesses and organizations arranged under sunny skies.

Musical guests were Humor & Heart and dulcimer musician Ellen Rice.

Each year we strive to provide a picnic event our community wants. In order to do that, we need your feedback! If you attended the picnic, let us know what you enjoyed or didn’t, and what you would like to see added or changed for next year.

If you weren’t able to attend, what would it take to get you there, next year?

Please email us with your comments and suggestions.

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Our Annual Community Picnic is July 21st

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Perhaps the biggest event in the Griffin Neighborhood Association’s yearly calendar is the Community Picnic. On Saturday, July 21st we will again take over the lawn in front of the Tin Cup Golf Driving Range and overflow into Prosperity Grange with food and fun for the whole family. Come join your neighbors!

This year we’ll have live musical guests Humor & Heart. Local resident, Ellen Rice, will also perform with her mountain dulcimer.

Our popular bouncy house will be back, along with other kid’s activities: face painting, bag games, bubble stations, hula hoops and more. Try your skill on the golf driving range, with pro tips and prizes provided by the Salish Cliffs Golf Club.

Hamburgers, hot dogs, and beverages will be provided and, thanks to generous donations from Taylor Shellfish Farms, seafood dishes featuring the recipes of local favorite Xinh Dwelley will also be served.

A number of local organizations and businesses will provide information about their work and some great items for sale. Here are some of the local businesses and organizations who are expected to attend:

Bay Mercantile
Companion Cove
DiversiTree Arbor Care
Dogwoods Canine Play and Stay
Feline Friends
Griffin School Foundation
Lighthouse Alpaca Ranch
Melody Byrd Aprons
Nicholson Insurance
OCCU (Our Community Credit Union)
Rainbow Girls
St. Christopher’s Community Church
Stacy Lynn Wellness
Steamboat Animal Hospital
Steamboat Island 4H
Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool
Steamboat Island United Methodist Church
Thurston County Master Gardeners FoundationRead More

Join Us for a Community Picnic, Sunday, July 30

You are invited to join us this Sunday, July 30, for a community picnic at the Prosperity Grange and Tin Cup Golf Range!

There will be plenty of complimentary food, a showcase of local organizations and businesses, animals and activities for families, and a special musical guest.

Austin RadioSunday, July 30
12 noon to 4 PM
Prosperity Grange and Tin Cup Golf Range

An illness prevents the Olympia duo, “Austin Radio“, from appearing at this year’s picnic. Instead, musicians Roger & Deb Hamilton will perform. Roger Hamilton crafts fine, handmade guitars at Hamilton Guitars in Rochester. Contact Roger at (253) 722-3442 or for more information.

You won’t want to miss the delicious seafood dishes served by Xinh Dwelley, proprietor of the fabled Xinh’s Crab & Oyster House.

Griffin Fire Department

The Griffin Fire Department will hold a benefit car wash, this same day. Please come on by and get your car or truck washed, for a good cause.

Here’s a sample of some of the organizations and local businesses who will be attending:

And many more!

If you are a new member who joins the Griffin Neighborhood Association, at the picnic, your name will be entered into a drawing to win a $25 gift certificate donated by Character’s Corner.

The Olympia Host Lions Club are raffling off a 40-pound box of fresh fuji apples, to be delivered in October. Make sure you stop by their table to get entered into the raffle.

Special thanks to our event sponsors:

Character’s Corner

Island Johnny

Jay’s Farm Stand

Steamboat Trading Post

Taylor Shellfish Farms

Thurston County Explorer Search and Rescue

Tin Cup Driving Range

Xinh Dwelley

Lots of opportunities still exist, if you are able to volunteer to help with this event. There are tasks that take little time and people are needed to work for as little as an hour or so, the actual day of the picnic. For information about how you can help, please contact Becky at

Bring your family and visit with your neighbors, enjoy a delicious meal, and listen to the sounds of Austin Radio at this free community event.


Community Picnic, Business & Farm Fair, and Benefit Car Wash is July 24

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Come join your local neighbors and friends at our annual Community Picnic, Business & Farm Fair, and Benefit Car Wash on Sunday, July 24th. There will be food and fun, including activities for youth. You won’t want to miss this great Griffin neighborhood event!

Community Picnic, Business & Farm Fair, and Benefit Car Wash
Sunday, July 24
12 noon to 4:00 PM
Tin Cup Golf Range and Griffin Fire Department

Local businesses and farms will be arranged on the lawn in front of Tin Cup Golf. This is a wonderful opportunity to visit with the people who operate businesses and farms right here on the Steamboat Peninsula.

In addition to the picnic and business and farm fair, the Griffin Fire Department will hold its annual benefit car wash. Donations support the Griffin Firefighter’s Association.

The Griffin Neighborhood Association couldn’t do this without the sponsorship of these fine businesses and organizations:

Thanks for supporting these local businesses and organizations.

For more businesses, see our online business directory and shop local!

We hope to see you at this year’s community picnic. We’ll save a place for you!


This Year’s Community Picnic will Focus on Local Businesses and Farms, Food and Fun

It’s summer picnic time again! On Sunday, July 27th the Griffin Neighborhood Association will host its annual community picnic. Last year’s picnic, with its emphasis on local businesses and farms, was widely praised by those who attended. Folks liked it so much, we’re going to do it again!

Sunday, July 27
12 noon to 4 PM
Prosperity Grange, Steamboat Golf, Griffin Fire Department Headquarters

Food and Fun

Xinh Dwelley, of Xinh’s Clam and Oyster House, will be preparing her fresh seafood specialties. The Griffin Neighborhood Association will be preparing hamburgers and hot dogs with all the fixings. The folks from the Steamboat Trading Post are donating beverages.

Is this a potluck? Any main dishes, salads, or desserts will be very welcome and there’s plenty of space for dining inside the Prosperity Grange. You do not have to bring a potluck dish. But we’d love to serve anything you may choose to bring.

The Griffin Fire Department will hold an open house on our picnic day. You are invited to come in, learn about your local volunteer fire department and check out some of their equipment. Practice your swing at the Steamboat Golf driving range. Make a new friend with one of the alpacas from Lighthouse Alpaca Ranch. Watch a demonstration by a local craftsperson or organization. As more details become known, you can learn more about the day’s events on this web site or on our Facebook Page. We’ll have a little program of events to distribute, the day of the picnic.

Local Businesses and Farms

Last year, nearly 40 local businesses, farms, and organizations were represented. Click here for a recap of last year’s picnic. This year will be even bigger! Come and learn more about the products and services available right here in our own neighborhood. Try some samples, participate in a raffle, meet your neighbors who own or operate local businesses or produce the freshest food you’ve tasted.

Do you own or operate a local business or farm? We’d love to have you participate. You don’t have to have anything to sell at the event. In fact, the focus of this event is not on buying and selling. For more information and to confirm that you will attend, click here for an information sheet and an application. But don’t delay, since spaces are allotted on a first come, first served basis. If you’re interested in attending, but have questions, leave a phone message for our event coordinators at 360-252-6047 or email us.

Can You Volunteer?

Would you like to help us organize this event? Or could you help for just an hour or so on the actual day of the picnic? We could really use a hand. Leave a message for us at 360-252-6047 and we’ll get back to you very quickly.

Watch this space for more details and we hope to see you July 27th!

Community Picnic, Farmers and Local Business Fair a Success!

Cool and overcast weather didn’t dampen spirits as an estimated 300 or more area residents came together this last Sunday to enjoy a community picnic and farmers and local business fair. The event was hosted by Prosperity Grange, Restoration Hope Community Outreach, and the Griffin Neighborhood Association. Proceeds for the event were for the benefit of the Prosperity Grange. The grange is currently reviewing bids to upgrade their building’s electrical system.

If you missed this year’s picnic, there’s a photo album growing on our Facebook page. Click here to see that album.

This was the first effort on the part of the hosts to hold an event intended to meet so many simultaneous objectives. Funds were being raised for the benefit of the Prosperity Grange, organizers sought to highlight the many local businesses and farms operating in our area, and (lest we not forget) this is the community picnic held every year around this time. At the close of the day, everyone agreed the event was a terrific success.

Not only was attendance higher than we’ve seen in recent years, we also saw many more families with children. Thanks to the Steamboat Island Cooperative Preschool, Cedars on the Sound, Lighthouse Alpaca Ranch, and others for giving the kids something to do, following the afternoon meal.

A number of local farms and businesses made donations either directly to the Prosperity Grange or in the form of gifts for a silent auction and a golf driving game that was held during the picnic.

A special thanks is made to the extraordinary contributions made by sponsors of the event. Xinh Dwelley, of Xinh’s Clam & Oyster House, prepared claims and curried mussels (seafood donated by Taylor Shellfish Farms). Steamboat Trading Post (formerly Steamboat Island Fuel, at the corner of Sexton and Old Steamboat Island Rd.) donated beverages and bags of chips. Steamboat Golf hosted a game to benefit Prosperity Grange and allowed most of the event (and the parking!) to take place on their property.

Here is a list of the farms and businesses present and some of the donations made during last Sunday’s picnic:

Did we leave anyone out?

Many of these farms and businesses are listed in our online local business directory. Do you own or operate a local business, then click here for information about how you can be added to our directory.

Past and present members of the Board of the Griffin Neighborhood Association staffed a pair of grills and offered hamburgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers to everyone at the picnic. Even a surprise inspection by the Thurston County Health Department didn’t slow the pace of production.

At the information table for the Griffin Neighborhood Association there was on display the Little Free Library which will soon be placed near the front door of the Griffin Fire Department Headquarters. The library was donated thanks to generous contributions from local residents and the Friends of the Olympia Library. Contributions to cover the costs of the purchase and installation of the library are still being taken. Click here for more information about the Steamboat Little Free Library.

There was one tragic set of circumstances associated with this year’s picnic. Bliss, of Blissful Wunders Chocolats, made a sizeable donation of his truffles. But where was all this candy, on Sunday? Rumor has it that Bliss (who was selling his chocolates elsewhere this weekend) delivered his donation to the grange hall on Thursday. These were discovered in the refrigerator by the Steamboat Bluegrass Festival, held in the grange hall on Friday night. We understand the Bluegrass Festival was quite a success and we’d like to think that was, if only in a small part, because of the chocolates meant for our community picnic.

We hope to see you all at next year’s community picnic. But wait! Do not forget the Blueberry Bash, Sunday August 25th at St. Christopher’s Community Church! We’ll see you all there.

And, around 3:15, the sun did come out.

Did you attend the community picnic? What suggestions do you have, for next year’s picnic? Leave your comments here.

Neighborhood Beach Party – August 27 at Frye Cove Park

Join us for a Griffin Neighborhood Beach Party on Saturday, August 27, at Frye Cove Park.

Bring a salad, dessert, snack, or just bring yourself. We’ll provide beverages, hamburgers, hot dogs, clams, and all the condiments.

Saturday, August 27
12 noon to 4 PM
Frye Cove Park
4000 NW 61st Ave, Olympia, WA

Enjoy fresh shellfish dishes with an Asian twist prepared  by Xinh Dwelley, of Xinh’s Clam & Oyster House.

Low Tide Exploration with beach naturalists – 10 AM to 1 PM. Low tide is at 11 AM. Thanks to the South Sound Estuary Association for providing their beach naturalists, for this activity.

Kids activities include opportunities to create an estuary print, visit with the Pacific Northwest Shell Club, learn about phytoplankton and much more!

Donations of non-perishable food and cash for the St. Christopher’s Food Bank are welcome.


Griffin Neighborhood Beach Party – Saturday, July 31 – Frye Cove Park

The Griffin Neighborhood Association invites our neighbors to bring a salad, dessert, snack, or just bring yourself. We’ll provide the rest.


Saturday, July 31

2:00 to 6:00

Frye Cove Park
4000 NW 61st Ave, Olympia, WA 98502

Join us for a variety of good food and the company of our neighbors.

3:00 pm – Guided beach walk, with People for Puget Sound

Shoreline Restoration Demonstration tour, with the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group

Kayak rentals from Kamilche Adventures (rent a kayak for 1/2 hour or more)

Touch tank with local aquatic life and a playground

Come and discover the beach and walking trails of our beautiful Frye Cove Park.

In addition to hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers and potluck items, Xihn, the award winning chef from Xihn’s Clam and Oyster House, will be preparing BBQ oysters, mussel curry and sauté clams.

Donations of non-perishable food and cash for the St. Christopher’s Food Bank are welcome.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, July 31st.

Many thanks to the businesses and organizations that are making this year’s summer picnic possible:

Taylor Shellfish Farms    –    People for Puget Sound
South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group     –     Kamilche Adventures
Chelsea Farms – Xinh’s Clam & Oyster House

Summer Picnic Features Good Food, Good Neighbors, and Good News

2009summerpicnicLocal residents filled Prosperity Grange this last Saturday to attend the Griffin Neighborhood Association’s annual Summer Potluck Picnic. Many brought salads, desserts, and snacks to add to the burgers and hot dogs cooked up by GNA Board member Beau Altman. Board member and past GNA President, Gary Goodwin, acted as Master of Ceremonies for a program that included comments by County Commissioner Karen Valenzuela, Representative Fred Finn and Capitol Land Trust Executive Director Eric Erler. Around the perimeter of the dining room were arranged displays from the GNA, the newly-formed Steamboat Conservation Partnership, the GNA’s emergency preparedness project, and the Puget Sound Restoration Fund.

Karen Valenzuela described her principal goals as a County Commissioner. Of particular interest to many in attendance is her interest in determining whether it is appropriate to assess impact fees on development in unincorporated portions of Thurston County. Impact fees are typically assessed in order to offset the costs of building out infrastructure required to support higher population densities. Presently, the County does not assess impact fees. Although the Growth Management Act and other regulations seek to focus development in urban areas, the absence of impact fees could make it cheaper for developers to build outside the Urban Growth Areas. By assessing impact fees, the County could take an important step to “level the playing field,” Valenzuela said, and remove an incentive to creating urban sprawl in our region.

Valenzuela, who was appointed by the Governor to fill out the term of Commissioner Bob Macleod, is running for election this November. Ballots for the primary election will be in the mail within weeks. Click here to read a piece regarding her candidacy. She has both a Democratic and a Republican opponent, who we’ve profiled previously on this blog.

Invoking a quote by Otto von Bismarck (“Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.”), local resident, GNA Board Member and 35th Legislative District Representative Fred Finn described the last legislative session. The focus of the next legislative session is likely to continue to be the budget, Finn said.

Among the bills Finn successfully shepherded to passage, this last year, was a bill which re-emphasizes the use of reliable, high-quality science in Puget Sound cleanup. Another bill authorized the use of safe, alternative refrigerants in a motor vehicle’s air-conditioning equipment, and another rescued Mason’s County McKernan fish hatchery from closure. A fourth bill guaranteed tougher punishment against those who damage to or steal from Christmas tree farms.

After introductory remarks by Dave Schuett-Hames, President of the GNA, Eric Erler, of the Capitol Land Trust, stepped up to describe the creation of the Steamboat Conservation Partnership. This is an exciting opportunity for local residents to fund efforts by the Trust to identify property right here on the Steamboat Peninsula – activities to conserve special natural areas in the Steamboat Peninsula region and that maintain connections between these lands through corridors useful for wildlife movement. Examples of special natural areas include marine shorelines, estuaries (including pocket estuaries), freshwater streams and riparian habitat, prairies, wetlands, and upland forests.

Erler described a pocket estuary, on Totten Inlet, which has already been identified and which the Trust is currently working to preserve. This property has been described in a recent article that appeared in the Olympian.

The editorial board of the Olympian also wrote a fine piece regarding the creation of the Steamboat Conservation Partnership in today’s newspaper. Click here to read that editorial.

Many thanks to the Prosperity Grange, for allowing us to hold this year’s picnic in their facility. Thanks also to the many neighbors who brought food and contributed their time, their bar-b-que grills and their ice chests to this worthy and very enjoyable event.

Join Us for a Neighborhood Potluck Picnic – Saturday, August 9

The Griffin Neighborhood Association invites you to our annual NEIGHBORHOOD POTLUCK PICNIC!

Saturday, August 9
3 PM to 6 PM

3701 Steamboat Island Rd. NW

Bring an Entrée, Salad or Dessert

We’ll supply hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, the buns and condiments, drinks, and something to eat it all off of.

Come meet your neighbors and catch up on local news.

Click here to download a copy of our flyer for this event.