Juan de Fuca Festival wraps up; turnout exceeds recent years’

PORT ANGELES — Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks performed folk-swing melodies for hundreds of festival-goers Monday as hundreds more cruised the street fair outside the Vern Burton Community Center as the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts wound down.

A head count for the 18th annual event was not immediately available, but festival organizers said the turnout exceeded pervious years.

“There was way more people every night, every day,” said Dan Maguire, first-year festival executive director. “No question, there was way more people.”

Maguire said the expanded musical lineup, good weather and festival volunteers help boost the attendance. He said the tally will be available later this week.

“It couldn’t have gone any better,” he said. “The closing bands every night were just really great bands.”

This year’s arts and music festival in Port Angeles featured new venues and more than 20 acts, including acrobats and the festival’s first hip-hop group, My Dad Bruce.

Poor Man’s Whiskey kicked off the event with a bluegrass version of Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” album Thursday.

One of the highlights came Sunday when Maguire’s daughter, Julia Maguire, filled in for a saxophone-playing tap dancer who failed to show up for a performance.

Julia Maguire, a singer, guitarist and Western Washington University student, performed a 90-minute set and received a standing ovation.

Late-night concerts at downtown bars and art studios were added to the 2011 festival.

“The after hours thing, that couldn’t have gone better,” Maguire said. “We’ll probably expand on that next year because it just went so well.”

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