Rhododendron Festival royal court leaves permanent mark to kick off events
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Rhododendron Festival royalty leave handprints in cement Monday. From left, Prince Shiloh Lanphear-Ramirez, Princess Kaycee McGuire, Queen Addie Richert and Princess Lane Hill.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — The 2014 Rhododendron Festival royal court members imprinted their hands in a wet block of cement earlier this week to immortalize their place in the 79-year-old tradition.

Queen Addison Richert, Prince Shiloh Lanphear-Ramirez and Princesses Kaycee McGuire and Lane Hill cut a ceremonial ribbon at Fort Worden State Park on Monday while Steve Bozak smoothed out the cement in preparation for their handprints — one of several events leading up to those this weekend.

As in the past, the queen imprinted both hands while the other royal court members used one, later writing their names in the cement with unsharpened pencils.

While the cement tradition continues, there are more than 20 finished blocks that are not on display.

They are stored in houses and garages until a place can be found where they can be shown off.

Several years of Rhody handprints are visible on the sidewalk in front of Waterfront Pizza, 951 Water St., but that tradition ended in the early 1990s when the city decided it could no longer use downtown sidewalks for the display.

The festival is not actively looking for a permanent home but would like to create a space for the blocks in the rhododendron garden at Fort Worden.

The imprinting is the first event in the annual Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival, now in its 79th year.

Today will feature the Trike Race, which will begin at 6 p.m. at the corner of Washington and Adams streets.

On Thursday, the Pet Parade will begin at 4:30 p.m., with pets and their owners lining up on Lawrence Street between East Jefferson Fire-Rescue's Port Townsend station at 701 Harrison St. and Aldrich's Market at 940 Lawrence St.

The Funtastic Carnival at Memorial Field also will begin Thursday opening at 4 p.m. to closing, a time that is not specified on the official schedule.

The carnival opens at 4 p.m. on Friday and at noon on Saturday.

On Friday, the festival will feature three events.

The Kiddie Parade will be at 3:30 p.m., beginning in front of the Port Townsend Recreation Center at the corner of Lawrence and Tyler streets.

After it wends its way to Pope Marine Park, the Navy Band Northwest will perform a free concert.

At 5:30 p.m. Friday will be the Hair and Beard Contest at 5:30 p.m. with judging in front of the American Legion at 209 Monroe St.

This is followed by the Bed Races at 6:30 p.m. in the same location.

Saturday is prime time, beginning with the Running of the Balls fundraiser at about 12:30 p.m.

For $5, people can sponsor a numbered golf ball, with all of the balls rolled down the hill on Monroe Street where it intersects with Lawrence Street.

The sponsors of the first three balls to pass the finish line will win cash prizes.

The fundraiser benefits the free kids dictionary program for all Jefferson County third-graders as well as supports the “Backpack” supplemental food program for children.

The Grand Parade will begin at 1 p.m. at the fire station, head on Lawrence Street to Monroe Street, turn right and then turn right again on Water Street and Quincy Street.

The parade is followed by the second annual Cake Picnic in which 4,000 servings of cake will be given free to those at Pope Marine Park.

On Sunday, the 36th annual Rhody Run will begin at 11 a.m. The mini-marathon is 12 kilometers, or 7.45 miles, beginning at Fort Worden State Park.

For more information about the run, visit www.rhodyrun.com.

For more information about the festival, visit www.rhodyfestival.org or http://tinyurl.com/PDN-Rhody.

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

Last modified: May 13. 2014 7:20PM
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