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Olympic fever spills over border into Washington state

With a little more than two weeks until the opening ceremonies begin, Whatcom County seems to be catching Olympic fever.

From a retail business standpoint, Greg Murphy has some big plans in the works. Murphy owns U.S. Souvenirs at Birch Bay Square, with a retail store and a museum full of Olympic products and memorabilia. Starting Feb. 9 and through the rest of the month, he's planning to set up tents in the Birch Bay Square parking lot, serving up sandwiches with his family's barbecue sauce (he owns Murph's BBQ Catering in Tacoma), a beer garden and a stage that will have big-screen televisions and a place for live music. He'll also have tables of Olympic lapel pins, continuing the popular tradition of buying and trading pins among visitors.

"We've starting seeing interest pick up in the past week," said Murphy, who has been to six Olympics. "We're selling more coats and jackets, as well as flags, with the U.S. being the most popular so far."

Murphy is also offering free classes on doing the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver on the cheap. He'll be offering advice at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, and Friday, Feb. 5. He's also busy organizing transportation from Birch Bay Square across the border.

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