Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival off to an early planning start, new poster
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Wooden Boat Festival co-director Carrie Andrews inspects a print of this year's festival poster artwork with its artist, Luke Tornatzky. —Photo by Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
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The 2014 poster.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — This year's version of the Wooden Boat Festival, a Port Townsend tradition for 38 years, should run a little more smoothly than in the past, its organizers said as they unveiled the poster art for the September festival.

“Right now, we are further ahead in the planning than we have been in past years,” said Carrie Andrews, who along with Barb Trailer is the festival's
co-director.

“This year, we will have the Virginia V and the Lady Washington,” she said.

“Usually, it's much later before we identify our headliner boats.”

The steamship Virginia V, based in Seattle, is a restored 1922 vessel that was part of the Puget Sound “Mosquito Fleet” that once served ports throughout the Sound.

The Lady Washington, the official ship of the state of Washington, is one of the region's highest-visibility tall ships “that hasn't been here for years,” Andrews said.

The Lady Washington is a replica of the first American vessel to make landfall on the west coast of North America and is based in Grays Harbor.

Port Townsend's Wooden Boat Festival features hundreds of wooden vessels and dozens of presentations by wooden boat experts.

The poster for this year's festival, set Sept. 5-7 at Point Hudson, was unveiled in a ceremony at the Wooden Boat Chandlery on Water Street on Saturday.

The unnamed painting by Port Townsend artist and boat enthusiast Luke Tornatzky is a representation of masts and signal flags. It is a reproduction of a photo Tornatzky took at a Wooden Boat Festival more than 20 years ago.

“I had that picture knocking around, and it seemed to be a perfect fit for the festival,” Tornatzky said.

“It's kind of old and funky, and the colors are really bright.”

The original painting is not for sale and will be added to the Wooden Boat Foundation's permanent collection.

Three versions of the image are available.

The print, which is only the image without any specific information about the festival, is available in a limited edition; only 50 were made. They are sold for $100 each.

The printed poster will be available for $12 through the festival.

A third version, which will be used to advertise the festival, will be smaller, less durable and less valuable, since the posters tend to be torn down and taken home, Andrews said.

“This is the first year we are doing a smaller version that we'll use for advertising,” Andrews said.

“The ones we put up around town all disappear. A lot of people say, 'Why would I spend $12 for something when I can just rip it off a wall?'”

In past years, the festival has called for poster artists at the last minute as a competition. This is the first year where the job has been awarded ahead of time as a commission, Andrews said.

Andrews said the festival will look the same as in past years, but there will be improvements, such as an additional music stage and another art venue.

“We want to make it a fun family event,” she said.

“It's not just about wooden boats.”

There are always obstacles, she said, adding that every year, there is a “thing” that threatens to derail the festival.

But the storm always passes, as it did in 2013.

“Last year on Thursday, all the vendors were coming in when there was a huge lightning storm,” Andrews said.

“Just as there was a lightning strike, the tent crew accidentally cut a fiber-optic cable, which shut off all of the phone service for the Port of Port Townsend and all its tenants.

“We just looked at each other and said, 'That's the thing. Now that it's over, we can have a great weekend,'” she said.

“And we did.”

The posters and prints are on sale at the Chandlery, the retail component of the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St.

For more information, visit www.woodenboat.org/festival.

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

Last modified: March 01. 2014 6:43PM
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