WEEKEND: Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival a homecoming for many; parades step off today
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
The Rhododendron Festival float, shown in last weekend's Sequim Irrigation Festival Grand Parade, will be the chariot that conveys the Rhody royalty this weekend. Present on the float are, from left, Princess Lane Hill, driver Harlan Lafollette, Prince Shiloh Lanphear-Ramirez, Queen Addie Richert and Princess Kaycee McGuire.
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Jonathan Safir
Lark Hanson, 7, of Port Townsend partook in the 2013 Cake Picnic.
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
During Wednesday’s Trike Race, from left, Layton Lopeman, Taya Hewitt and Molly Murley ride in the 3-year-old race. Sixty-four kids participated.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

Fun blooms from Rhody Fest schedule
PORT TOWNSEND — The 79th annual Rhododendron Festival, which began Monday, continues today, Saturday and Sunday.
Here is the weekend's schedule:
Today
■ Kiddie Parade registration, 2:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. — In front of the Port Townsend Recreation Center at the corner of Lawrence and Tyler streets.
■ Kiddie Parade judging, 3 p.m.
■ Kiddie Parade, 3:30 p.m. — The parade will proceed down Lawrence Street, turn right on Monroe Street, turn right on Water Street and end at Pope Marine Park.
Sunrise Rotary members will sell hot dogs before the parade.
■ Navy Band Northwest, following Kiddie Parade — Free Dixieland jazz at Pope Marine Park.
■ Funtastic Carnival, 4 p.m. — Memorial Field.
■ Kiwanis Fish Fry, 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. — American Legion Hall, 209 Monroe St.
■ Hair and Beard Contest registration, 5 p.m. — In front of the American Legion Hall.
■ Hair and Beard Contest, 5:30 p.m. — In front of the American Legion Hall.
■ Bed Races registration, 5 p.m. — Corner of Water and Monroe streets. Entry forms also can be downloaded at www.rhodyfestival.org. Pre-registration is recommended.
■ Bed Races, 6:30 p.m. — Down Water Street.
■ “Wanda's World,” 7 p.m. — Port Townsend High School auditorium, 1500 Van Ness St.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, and $3 for children 11 and younger.
Saturday
■ Funtastic Carnival, noon — Memorial Field.
■ Running of the Balls fundraiser, about 12:30 p.m. — Monroe Street where it intersects with Lawrence Street. $5 per ball.
■ Jim Caldwell Memorial Rhody Open, 8 a.m. — Port Townsend Golf Course, 1948 Blaine St.
■ Grand Parade, 1 p.m. — The parade will begin at the Port Townsend Fire Station at 1310 Lawrence St., head on Lawrence Street to Monroe Street, turn right and then turn right again on Water Street and Quincy Street.
■ Cake Picnic, following Grand Parade — Free cake at Pope Marine Park.
■ Early Rhody Race packet pickup, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. — Jefferson Healthcare hospital auditorium, 834 Sheridan St.
■ Spaghetti feed, 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. — Port Townsend Elks Lodge, 555 Otto St.
■ “Dine and Dash,” 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. — Jefferson Healthcare. A spaghetti dinner prepared by chef Aaron Stark will be available for $10.
Phone 360-385-2200, ext. 2014, for reservations.
■ “Wanda's World,” 7 p.m. — Port Townsend High auditorium.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, and $3 for children 11 and younger.
Sunday
■ Elks' Rhody Fundraiser Pancake Breakfast, 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. — Port Townsend Elks Lodge.
■ Jim Caldwell Memorial Rhody Open, 9 a.m. — Port Townsend Golf Course.
■ Rhody Run Registration, 9 a.m. — Fort Worden.
■ Kids Sprint for Health, 9:30 a.m. — Fort Worden.
■ 36th annual Rhody Run, 11 a.m. — Mini-marathon of 12 kilometers, or 7.45 miles, beginning at Fort Worden State Park. Pre-registration is $30 for adults and $12 for those younger than 15. Race day registration is $45 for adults and $15 for those younger than 15.
For more information about the festival, visit www.rhodyfestival.org or http://tinyurl.com/PDN-Rhody.
Peninsula Daily News
NOTE: “Today” and “tonight” refer to Friday, May 16.



PORT TOWNSEND — The 79th annual Rhododendron Festival gets into full swing today with a pair of parades and an influx of former residents who choose this time of year to return home to visit old friends and their families.

“It's the only family event we have. I love it,” said Brandi Hamon, who was born in Port Townsend and has lived in the town all her life.

“This is the weekend when all my friends come back to town,” she said.

“They don't come back for the other festivals.”

Welcome home

Said Juanita Maples, another Port Townsend native and a former Rhody princess: “It's all about family.

“Whether you are related to each other or not, we all grew up here together.”

Maples and Hamon knew each other in high school. Maples graduated in 1991 and Hamon a year later.

They grew up with each other — and with the Rhody Fest.

“I remember when my dad would back up his van on Lawrence Street, and we'd all watch the parade,” Hamon said.

Added Maples: “I used to look forward to it because it meant we got out of school early on Thursday and Friday.”

This year's theme for the festival is “Roaring Rhody,” with the 1920s theme to be highlighted in Saturday's Grand Parade at 1 p.m.

Reigning over the festival will be Queen Addison Richert, Princess Kaycee McGuire, Prince Shiloh Lanphear-Ramirez and Princess Lane Hill.

While the festival celebrates community spirit, it is also a scholarship pageant.

Richert will receive a $1,500 scholarship, while Hill, Lanphear-Ramirez and McGuire each will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Grand Parade

This year's Grand Parade is pretty grand, with 109 entries, including 10 bands and eight festival floats.

More entries are welcome. The sign-up period has been extended for the parade. Those who wish to participate can do so as late as today. Applications are at www.rhodyfestival.org.

The parade will begin at the Port Townsend Fire Station at 1310 Lawrence St., head on Lawrence Street to Monroe Street, turn right and then turn right again on Water Street and Quincy Street.

Volunteers are sought to help with the parade. Those who want to help can email rhodygrandparade@outlook.com.

Immediately following the parade will be the second annual Cake Picnic in Pope Marine Park, where some 4,000 servings of cake will be given away free.

Past President Rita Hubbard is managing the parade again.

“Even though I say every year it has to be my last, I continue to get caught up in the excitement by not only our entire Rhody Family but all the volunteers and the community that continues to support our wonderful festival,” she said.

“We have new entries this year, people that haven't ever been in our parade or have not been here for a long time.

“We, of course, have our regulars,” she said, and since it's an election year, there will be candidates in the parade.

Hubbard acknowledges how the entire community embraces the festival.

“I'm constantly grateful for the support and patience of the neighborhoods that allow us to line up in front of their homes and come out to meet and greet our visitors,” she said.

“As always, the city police and fire department are a vital part of our festival, and we couldn't stay safe and organized without them, and it's going to be a great parade.”

The festival began Monday with the royal court immortalizing their handprints in cement and continued with a Trike Race on Wednesday and a Pet Parade on Thursday.

Preceding the festival were the “Dude Looks Like a Lady” fundraiser last Saturday, which brought in more than $1,900 toward the royalty's scholarship fund, and the 38th annual Rhododendron Arts and Crafts Fair last weekend.

Events still to come

Still to come are today's events: the Kiddie Parade down Lawrence Street, culminating in a free Navy Band Northwest concert at Pope Marine Park, the Hair and Beard Contest in front of the American Legion Hall and the Bed Races down Water Street.

In conjunction with the festival, Port Townsend High School drama students will present the musical “Wanda's World” at 7 tonight and Saturday night.

The play is in the auditorium of Port Townsend High at 1500 Van Ness St.

Tickets, sold at the door only, are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, and $3 for children 11 and younger. The box office will open an hour before the show.

For more information, phone the Port Townsend High office at 360-379-4520.

Running of the Balls

Before the parade Saturday at about 12:30 p.m. will be the Running of the Balls fundraiser.

For $5, a person can sponsor a numbered golf ball. All of the balls will be 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, sponsored by the Port Townsend Sunrise Rotary Club, will fund the free dictionary program for all Jefferson County third-graders and the “Backpack” supplemental food program for children.

Tickets are available at Henery's Hardware, Safeway and the starting gate at Lawrence and Monroe streets on Parade Day from noon until the race begins.

Golf enthusiasts can play in the Jim Caldwell Memorial Rhody Open, which will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday at the Port Townsend Golf Course, 1948 Blaine St.

Rhody Run

On Sunday will be the 36th annual Rhody Run, sponsored by Jefferson Healthcare hospital.

The mini-marathon is 12 kilometers, or 7.45 miles, beginning at Fort Worden State Park at 11 a.m.

Registration until Saturday is $30 for adults and $12 for those younger than 15.

Those registering at the race itself will be charged $45 for adults and $15 for those younger than 15.

Jefferson Healthcare also will sponsor a free Kids Sprint for Health for children 9 and younger at 9:30 a.m.

Online registration at www.rhodyrun.com for the Rhody Run will end today.

Jefferson Healthcare will host an early packet pickup for the Rhody Run from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday in the auditorium of the hospital at 834 Sheridan St.

It is taking reservations at 360-385-2200, ext. 2014, for a “dine and dash” spaghetti dinner prepared by chef Aaron Stark from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Runners can also chow down Saturday at the Port Townsend Elks Lodge spaghetti feed from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the lodge at 555 Otto St.

And don't forget the carnival. The Funtastic Carnival opened at Memorial Field for the first of three nights on Thursday.

It will open at 4 p.m. today and at noon Saturday.

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

________

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

Last modified: May 15. 2014 7:33PM
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