Belfair is an unincorporated community in Mason County, Washington, United States. Located on the Union River, headwaters of the Hood Canal, a branch of Puget Sound, it serves as the commercial center of North Mason County. The population of the surrounding area swells in the summertime as tourists and nature lovers flock to the Canal and the Olympic Peninsula. The population within the Urban Growth Area (UGA) is an estimated 700. Belfair is located on an isthmus connecting the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsula. It receives an average rainfall of 60 inches (1,500 mm) yearly and has a growing season of 212 days. Mason Lake is 8 miles (13 km) southwest of Belfair. Belfair is the home of U.S. Representative Norm Dicks. Belfair was also home to Noah Ashenhurst, formerly an English teacher at North Mason High School and award-winning author of the novel Comfort Food. Belfair is generally considered to be the largest community in Washington to not be recognized by the US Census in any form, even under the Census-designated place form. It is considered a topic candidate to become a CDP for the 2010 US Census. Belfair was originally called Clifton, as were several other towns in the state. To avoid confusion, it was renamed in 1925 by Mrs. Murray, the postmaster, who submitted the name Belfair from a book that she was then reading. Belfair is home to "The Taste of Hood Canal", an annual event falling on the second Saturday in August. This festival features local artists, foods, a classic car show and is sponsored by the North Mason Rotary Club. Belfair has a high school, a middle school, and two elementary schools (Sand Hill Elementary is located on Sand Hill Road and Belfair Elementary is located across from the Mary E. Theler Commumity Center in town). Belfair is the regional service hub for North Mason County. Harrison Hospital operates an urgent care facility in Belfair. Local doctors offices are in town along with other professional services. The town has local and chain restaurants along with two major grocery stores (QFC and Safeway). Local shopping includes gift stores, and RiteAid. Timberland Regional Library has a local branch in Belfair. Several public golf courses are nearby, including McCormick Woods, Gold Mountain, Alderbrook, Trophy Lake, Horseshoe Lake, and Lakeland Village. Gold Mountain is ranked on the top 100 list of public courses. At the south end of Belfair the local community center is called the Theler Center. Four separate walking trails meandering through 135 acres (0.55 km) of tidal wetlands, offering boardwalks and well-groomed paths with scenic views of Hood Canal, Union River, and a tidal estuary. Birders flock to the area to view kingfishers, heron, bald eagles and other birds. The wetlands and surrounding lowland forest are also home to fox, deer, and other creatures. Local vendors, farmers and crafters can be found every Saturday at the "Belfair Farmer's Market" during the summer months in the Theler parking lot. Washington State Route 3 is the main road leading into Belfair, from Bremerton and Gorst in the north, and Allyn in the south. Washington State Route 106 also starts at the south end of Belfair, leading toward Union the next town along the south shore of Hood Canal. Washington State Route 300 begins in Belfair and runs along the north shore of Hood Canal, providing access to Tahuya and Dewatto Bay. Belfair serves as a gateway town for the Hood Canal region, and is the last town with services before visitors reach Tahuya State Forest, famed for its miles of off-road vehicle and mountain biking trails.