Port Townsend plans big bash for Independence Day

PORT TOWNSEND — Independence Day in Port Townsend marks one of the biggest days for Fort Worden and one of the best parties for Jefferson County, event organizer Daniel Milholland said.

The third annual “Old School” 4th of July will be from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Fort Worden State Park, 200 Battery Way.

Milholland anticipates that between 3,000 and 5,000 people will attend the festivities throughout the day.

Festivities will include live music, food vendors, a beer garden, hot air balloons, field games, free root beer floats, miniature golf and a tug of war, among other events.

New to Port Townsend’s “Old School” 4th of July will be a watermelon eating contest. The other events, likely familiar to area residents, have become so for a reason, Milholland said.

“All of the traditions here stuck because people really love them,” he said. “It’s a really lively, fun event — lots of community spirit.”

The tug-of-war championship, for instance, becomes the central focus of the parade grounds while it’s going on, Milholland said.

Olympics tug of war rules apply: 60-foot rope, 1,500-pound combined weight maximum per team, single elimination, no sitting down, 15-minute time limit on matches. The grand prize is $1,000.

“It’s totally epic,” he said.

The championship facilitator, Richard Walcome, is no stranger to the sport.

In 1977, Walcome won an international tug of war championship for Port Townsend at Seafair, a summer festival in Seattle.

Perhaps fortunately for others, he will not be competing.

The contest entry fee is $100.

Sign up by contacting Milholland at 360-385-0519 or daniel@thunderbull productions.com.

The celebration also will feature musical acts such as the National Guard Dixieland Jazz Band, Selena Espinoza, Caribe Steel Band and fiddlers attending Centrum’s 40th annual Festival of American Fiddle Tunes.

Headlining the “big dance party” at 8 p.m. will be Uncle Funk and the Dope Six. The band’s members have shared the stage with the likes of Little Feat, Prince, Los Lobos and Willie Nelson.

Event parking will be available on the parade grounds for a suggested donation of $5 per vehicle.

A Discover Pass will not be required to park on the parade grounds but will be required for all parking areas managed by State Parks.

Local residents are encouraged to carpool, bike or walk.

The schedule is:

1:30 p.m. — Fiddles on the Fourth, presented by Centrum.

4 p.m. to 7 p.m. — Hot air balloons.

4:15 p.m. — National Guard Dixieland Jazz Band.

4 p.m. to 10 p.m. — Photo booth.

4 p.m. to 10 p.m. — Mini-golf.

5 p.m. — 1,000 free root beer floats.

5:15 p.m. — National anthem, performed by Espinoza.

5:30 p.m. — Stars of Tomorrow winners announced.

6 p.m. — Tug-of-war championship and Caribe Steel Band.

7 p.m. — Fiddles and fireworks.

7:30 p.m. — Watermelon eating contest.

7:45 p.m. — Community photo, courtesy of David Conklin.

7:50 p.m. — Pie in the face.

8 p.m. — Dance party with Uncle Funk and the Dope Six.

10 p.m. — 50/50 raffle drawing.

10:10 p.m. — Fireworks display.

For more information, contact Milholland at 360-385-0519 or daniel@thunderbullproductions.com.

Other celebrations

Other events also are planned in Port Townsend on the Fourth of July.

Boat owners and friends are invited to join the Port Angeles Yacht Club’s parade at the harbor Tuesday.

The marine parade will begin at noon on the water in front of the yacht club, 1305 Marine Drive.

A coordination meeting will flesh out the details at 11 a.m. at the yacht club. Participating boats should be on the water by 11:50 p.m.

The parade route will run along the city waterfront to Olympic Medical Center and then return to the yacht club.

Boat owners and passengers can also attend the yacht club’s after-parade activities starting at 2 p.m. A barbecue will begin at 4 p.m.

For more information, call 360-457-4132.

The Port Townsend Summer Band will perform its annual Independence Day concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the American Legion Post 26, 209 Monroe St.

The free concert is among the final ones for conductor Karl Bach, who is in his last season after conducting the community band for 17 years.

This year also is the 25th season of the band.

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Reporter Sarah Sharp can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at ssharp@peninsula dailynews.com.

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