CONTINUING TODAY: Juan de Fuca Fest offers a window to the world
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Vendors Ade and Priscilla Okunuga at the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts street fair. —Photo by Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Festivals in summer, Africa in winter: That's the life for Ade and Priscilla Okunuga, longtime vendors at the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts, Port Angeles' Memorial Day weekend celebration of art, music and dance in and around the Vern Burton Community Center, 308 W. Fourth St.

“This is so much fun, more fun than engineering,” said Ade, a former Boeing Co. engineer, as street-fairgoers streamed past his display of African shakeres, koras, kalimbas and agogo bells.

As he showed shoppers necklaces made of shells and coral, the Sequimarimba band began to play a few yards away.

The 21st annual Juan de Fuca Festival — with its food trucks, outdoor music and indoor concerts on seven stages — continues today and Monday.

Ade's and Priscilla's booth is part of the free street fair, while tickets, which cover today's performances from noon until midnight or so, are $25.

Tickets to Monday's shows from noon until about 6:30 p.m. are $20 at the festival store in front of the Vern Burton center.

The best part of this party, Priscilla said, is meeting people and seeing “old customers,” those she met at previous Juan de Fuca Festivals.

She and Ade are from Nigeria. They live in Federal Way when they're not traveling among summer events like this one. Come winter, Ade travels to West Africa to buy merchandise such as djembes.

They're “from Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Senegal,” he says, the names rolling out like poetry.

Much of today's music comes from Africa, too. Paa Kow's By All Means Band features Kow, a drummer from Ghana, while Charles Neville of the Neville Brothers will step onto the main stage tonight with Youssoupha Sidibe, the Senegalese kora player, and their band the Mystic Rhythms.

Then there are the local artists: Ballet Victoria is coming down to dance at the other big Juan de Fuca Festival stage, the Elks Naval Lodge, 131 E. First St., today at 12:30 p.m. and again at 6:15 p.m.

Harmonica Pocket, a duo from Port Townsend, will entertain on the chamber stage adjacent to the Vern Burton center today at 12:30 p.m., and the Fiddle Kids of Port Angeles will take the second-floor Elks stage at 1:45 p.m.

Free festival programs are available outside the Vern Burton center, while abundant information about festival activities can be found at

The free street fair will feature a performance by the Dancing Grandmas today at 1 p.m. and an open-mic afternoon with host Vicki Helwick at 2 p.m.

The food, art and craft fair will stay open today from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and from 11 a.m. until about 5 p.m. Monday.

Tonight brings the last set of “Juan de Fuca After Hours” shows at three downtown clubs. These gigs, open to patrons 21 and older, start at 10:30 p.m. with Paa Kow's By All Means Band at Barhop Brewing, 124 W. Railroad Ave.; the Highlife Band at Bar N9ne, 229 W. First St.; and the old-time music duo The Lowest Pair at Next Door, 113 W. First St.

Festival ticket-holders get in free, while those without tickets pay a cover charge set by the venue.


Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at

Last modified: May 25. 2014 8:16AM
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