By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“After 10 years, we are actually at the dock, so we are doing what we originally intended," said Nina Law, referring to City Dock, part of downtown's Pope Marine Park, the concerts' venue. Law is supplying beverage service at the concerts.
This year's eight-concert series, now sponsored by the Port Townsend Main Street Program with a variety of cosponsors, including the Peninsula Daily News, begins this coming Thursday with The Better Half performing R&B, soul and funk-rock from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
It's not quite on City Dock. Rather, the stage is moving to a newly renovated area that once contained the Tidal Clock, a failed experiment at maritime art that was paved over last year.
This is the fourth year the concert series has taken place in Pope Marine Park, with the stage moved around to accommodate the increasing crowds and the ongoing construction.
Now that the park is finished, the concerts have nearly twice the space as last year.
Concerts on the Dock began in July 2004 in the old Quincy Street dock area adjacent to what was then the Water Street Brewing and Ale House (Law was one of its co-owners); that building now houses the Conservatory Coastal Home lifestyle store.
Having weekly summer concerts in the downtown was the brainchild of Peninsula Daily News publisher John Brewer, Law and other merchants, the Port Townsend Chamber of Commerce and the Port of Port Townsend, which provided chairs.
A planning session about the new layout took place Thursday, including Law, Main Street Festival Programmer Dominic Svornich, administrative assistant Dawn Pierson and board member Xoe Huffman.
“This is something fun to do in the summer for both locals and visitors,” Huffman said. “It's an all-ages community event.”
Said Svornich: “Entire families can come down and see groups that are usually restricted to 21 and older venues and be able to enjoy the feel of the an outdoor concert.
“And it's free,” he added.
The layout will be fine-tuned. To start, the stage will be in the former Tidal Clock with the water as the backdrop.
All-ages dancing will take place in front of the stage while the area directly behind the dance floor will be divided into a family area and a roped-off beer garden for those 21 and older.
The overflow crowd can occupy the paved area of the park and spill over to the grass adjacent to the Northwest Maritime Center.
On the other side will be room along the new esplanade and in the newly reconstructed Wave Gallery.
Svornich said that last year's concerts each drew between 300 and 500 people.
Areas will be set aside for vendors, Pierson said.
So far, Daily Bird Pottery and James Jackson Massage have committed to participate. Others are in negotiation, Pierson said.
No food vendors are committed at this time.
While larger food trucks won't participate because of the concert's short duration, the concert series provides a great opportunity for someone with a lean operation, Svornich said.
“Anyone who can pump out something fast and good has a ready-made audience of 300 people and a lot of them are hungry,” Svornich said.
Law will serve beer, wine and cider with consumption limited to a roped-off area with security personnel checking identification.
The cider is locally produced. Selections from Eaglemount of Port Townsend will be served at the first four concerts while libations from Finnriver Farm & Cidery of Chimacum will be offered at the last four.
Scheduled in upcoming weeks after next Thursday are Toolshed Trio, July 17; Blue Holiday, July 24; Rippin' Chicken, July 31; The Yacht Club Featuring Kevin Mason, Aug. 7; Ko Ko Jo, Aug. 14; The High Council, Aug. 21 and the Dirty Beat Duo with Stars of Tomorrow, Aug. 28.
In past years, shows have been cancelled or postponed because of inclement weather.
That won't happen this year, organizers said.
“It's rain or shine,” Pierson said. “If the weather's bad, we'll just move into the Cotton Building.”
To become a vendor, see ptmainstreet.org or call Pierson at 360-385-7911.
For more information about free concerts and other events, consult the North Olympic Peninsula Events Calendar at www.peninsuladailynews.com.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.