WEEKEND: Victorian Heritage Festival mixes fashion, 'manly arts'
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Victorian Heritage Festival organizers Nathan Barnett, left, and Cindy Madsen prepare posters for this weekend's event in Port Townsend. The three-day lineup kicks off today with a venison dinner.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — The three-day Victorian Heritage Festival begins today — mixing the tea-and-crumpets flavor of past events with new elements that are intended to serve a wider audience while providing a less varnished look at the celebrated era.

The 16-year-old festival is managed this year by a new entity, Olympic Peninsula Steam.

It is modernizing the offerings while preserving the traditional aspects that provided its original appeal.

The North Olympic Peninsula's native black-tailed deer, present in Port Townsend during Victorian times as they are today, provide the grist for one of the festival's main events.

At 5:30 tonight, nationally known gardening expert Ann Lovejoy will offer tips about how to deer-proof a garden to discourage the animals from making a meal of plants that take all year to cultivate.

This is followed by a $75-a-plate “Deer and Roses” dinner featuring rack of venison, though a vegetarian option will be available “for the tender-hearted,” according to the festival's website.

The dinner will raise money for the festival.

While the dinner kicks off the festival, its closing day includes a peek into areas of Port Townsend that are not normally visible.

Tour buildings

The historical buildings tour will begin at 11 a.m. Sunday at Quimper Sound, 230 Taylor St., and will guide people through the nooks and crannies of four historic buildings — the Mount Baker Block, 919-914 Water St., built in 1890; the Hastings Building, 833-839 Water St., built in 1889; the Elks Building, also known as the Miller and Burkett Building, at 237 Taylor St., built in 1889; and the 1888 Eisenbeis Cracker Factory, listed as having an entrance at 830 Water St., behind 825 Washington St. and at 234 Taylor St.

The tour costs $10 and is limited to 40 people.

General admission tickets of $25 will provide admission to a variety of events.

Included are these events on Saturday:

■ A Victorian bicycle demonstration at 11:30 a.m. at the Cotton Building, 607 Water St.

■ A “Pugilism and Bareknuckle Boxing” demonstration at 12:30 p.m. at the American Legion Hall, 209 Monroe St.

■ “A Seafarin' Town: Interview with a Sailor” at 1:30 p.m., Palace Hotel, 1004 Water St.

■ Classical fencing demonstration, 2:30 p.m. American Legion Hall, 209 Monroe St.

■ Vintage firearms lecture at 3:30 p.m., Pope Marine Building, Water and Madison streets.

■ Gatling gun demonstration, 4:30 p.m. at Memorial Field, 550 Washington St.

For those who are looking for more comfortable and conventional activities from past festivals, the tradition is intact.

Victorian fashion

Also on Saturday are events dealing with Victorian fashion.

Joan Severa, a 19th-century clothing expert, will give a presentation on Victorian fashion from 1860-1900 at 4:30 p.m. at the Cotton Building.

Severa, 87, has built a reputation for her ability to determine the age of 19th-century portraits based on her analysis of clothing and hairstyles.

She has written two books that are used for portrait analysis and said by looking at a portrait, she usually can provide an assessment of the time period that is accurate within a year or two.

Among the returning activities is a corset demonstration by Sarah Chrisman and her husband, Gabriel, at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the Cotton Building.

Other familiar activities will be a fashion show, textile demonstrations, historical lectures and walking and bus tours.

Victorian teas are planned Saturday and Sunday in the Old Consulate Inn, 313 Walker St., and the Blue Gull Inn, 1310 Clay St.

Tickets are $25, and reservations are needed.


Two dances at the American Legion Hall are scheduled.

Tonight is a contra dance at 7, with admission a suggested donation of $5.

Saturday night will be the Victorian Ball, considered the signature event of the festival, costing $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

As an adjunct to the festival, the Port Townsend Main Street program will shoot the latest in a series of community portraits at 9:45 a.m. Saturday at Pope Marine Park across from City Hall.

Those who want to be in the picture are asked to arrive by 9:30 a.m.

Anyone attending the festival can participate, and all are encouraged to wear Victorian dress for the occasion.

Tickets are available in Port Townsend at Quimper Sound, 230 Taylor St.; Daily Bird Pottery, 1101 Water St.; Old Consulate Inn, 313 Walker St.; Vasu Video, 1030 Lawrence St.; and Vintage Hardware, 2000 Sims Way.

They also are available online at www.victorianfestival.org, where more information about the festival can be found.


Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 22. 2013 12:21AM
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