When a jogger is found murdered on the Village Green, right next to Dirty Dan’s bench, what do you do?

Solve the mystery, of course!

You will have the opportunity to solve this whodunnit as part of the Dirty Dan Mystery Weekend on April 24-25.

Participants in the Dirty Dan Murder Mystery Weekend can gather clues as to whodunnit at shops around Fairhaven. Photo credit: Scott Ward

The murder mystery weekend, modeled after the highly successful event in Langley on Whidbey Island, is a new event added to the festivities around Dirty Dan Day on April 24.

“Even before COVID, we were looking for ways to celebrate and recognize the history of Fairhaven as part of Dirty Dan Day,” says Historic Fairhaven Association Executive Director Scott Ward. “The pandemic pushed us into being a little more creative.”

Robin Robertson, the event chairperson and owner of Bellingham Training and Tennis Club, says the Mystery Weekend is a way to help Fairhaven’s businesses, as well as inject some energy and excitement into the community.

“I think it’s important that we carry on with a sense of community in Fairhaven,” she says, despite the limitations set on us due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Village Green will be the center of a murder mystery in April. Photo credit: Bartek Wernicki

This event is a fundraiser for the Historic Fairhaven Association. The association’s long-time major fundraiser has been the Fairhaven Festival at the culmination of the Ski to Sea weekend, but since the race was cancelled last year and again this year, the Association was eager to find another way to help raise funds—and have some fun.

“How it’s going to come together is still a little bit of a mystery!” Robertson says with a laugh, as this is the first time anyone within the association has been involved in a murder mystery event.

“The Langley organizers have been very generous with sharing their information with us,” she adds.

Participants will receive an information packet that includes a “newspaper” filled with clues and a map when the event gets under way on Saturday morning. They’ll trek through Fairhaven asking questions of the characters they meet and collecting clues from the participating businesses.

A jogger is found murdered near Dirty Dan’s statue—and you can help solve the mystery. Photo credit: Scott Ward

Both individuals and teams can participate, and all ages are welcome. Everyone is encouraged to dress in costume to get into the spirit of the event.

“I already have my Sherlock Holmes outfit on the way,” Robertson says.

A local writer, who will remain anonymous, is creating this modern-day mystery with a touch of history.

Many of the characters will be “descendants” of notable figures from Fairhaven’s past, and given tongue-and-cheek names to add a bit of wit and whimsey—like the good Detective Wanda Why.

“It’s a family event, so I had to be careful with the character names,” the author says, noting Fairhaven’s abundance of brothels in its early days.

None of the suspects strolling the Village’s streets will know who the culprit is, nor will anyone else involved in planning the event, other than the author.

It likely comes as no surprise that the author is a mystery fan, but reading a mystery is different than writing one. “It’s totally different being on the other side. I wonder, ‘How am I going to make this happen like Agatha Christie did?’”

People who have participated in similar murder mystery weekends before will know there’s usually a “coroner’s report” that takes place as a live gathering for participants. In light of pandemic health guidelines, reports, updates and the big reveal of “whodunnit” on Sunday will all be conducted online as Facebook Live events.

“We’re trying to do it in a COVID-aware, COVID-friendly way,” Robertson says.

Those who deduce the murderer correctly will be entered into a drawing for the grand prizes. Everyone else will be entered to win door prizes. All prizes are donated by Fairhaven merchants. Registration opens on March 15th and can be found on the events page at www.enjoyfairhaven.com.


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