Rhododendron Festival royalty — from foreground, Princess Sarah Smith, Princess Taylor Tracer and Queen Lauren Montgomery — compete in the annual tricycle race, just one in a week full of events in Port Townsend. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Rhododendron Festival royalty — from foreground, Princess Sarah Smith, Princess Taylor Tracer and Queen Lauren Montgomery — compete in the annual tricycle race, just one in a week full of events in Port Townsend. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

On your mark, get set, go! Rhody Festival moves into full swing this weekend

PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival has been working up all week to the grand finale of its 82nd year this weekend.

“It’s about the same this year,” said Brandi Hamon, vice president of the Rhody Festival. “We stuck with traditions.”

The Rhody Festival kicked off with royalty handprints Monday, followed by a tricycle race down Water Street on Wednesday.

Thursday was the first parade, the pet parade, which gave youngsters the opportunity to show off their pets of all sizes. The carnival opened that day at Memorial Field, 550 Washington St.

Today, events begin to heat up.

The Kiddies Parade will start at 3:30 p.m. at the intersection of Lawrence and Adams streets in Port Townsend.

Those who want to participate in the parade can show up early, at 2 p.m., and be judged to win entrance into the festival’s Grand Parade on Saturday.

After the Kiddies Parade, the Port Townsend Kiwanis Club is offering the second annual Brats and Brew at the American Legion Hall at 209 Monroe St.

Brats will be served from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The beer will continue to flow until 10 p.m. in the outdoor and indoor beer gardens.

Timberfoot will provide live music at this Kiwanis fundraiser.

Tickets at the door will be $10 for the meal, $5 for beer and wine.

Right next door to the American Legion Hall, behind City Hall, the Port Townsend Kinetic Sculpture Race Crew will host the Hair and Beard Contest starting at 5 p.m.

The Rhody royalty — Princesses Sarah Smith and Taylor Tracer and Queen Lauren Montgomery — will be judging at 5:30 p.m. and awarding those with the most creatively styled hair and beards.

Also hosted by the Port Townsend Kinetic Sculpture Race Crew will be the annual bed race, rules for which can be found on the Rhody Festival Bed Races event page on Facebook. The race will kick off at 5:30 p.m., just after the hair and beard judging.

On Saturday, registration will start at 8 a.m. at the Port Townsend Visitor Information Center at 2409 Jefferson St. for the Grand Parade.

The parade will start at 1 p.m., starting at the corner of Lawrence and Harrison streets. It will head east on Lawrence Street to Monroe Street, then take Monroe Street south to Water Street and march west down Water Street to the corner of Madison Street.

This year’s parade boasts 83 floats from local businesses and organizations including Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson County, Ukuleles Unite!, Jefferson Transit and East Jefferson Fire-Rescue.

The carnival will be open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. today and Saturday.

On Sunday is the Rhody Run.

The race, a fundraiser for Jefferson Healthcare hospital, has added a 6-kilometer course this year along with the annual 12K run.

Race packets can be picked up starting at 8:45 a.m. at Fort Worden Commons, 200 Battery Way. The kids’ sprint race will start at 9:30 a.m., the 12K runners will head out at 11 a.m. and the 6K runners will be right behind them, heading out at 11:15 a.m.

Awards will be handed out after the race at 1 p.m.


Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.

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