PORT TOWNSEND — Nearly 100 entries are registered for the Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival Grand Parade on Saturday, the highlight of the week-long celebration.
The parade will begin at 1 p.m., with check-in beginning at 8 a.m. at Lawrence and Harrison streets.
The parade will move down Lawrence Street to Monroe Street and then onto Water Street, ending at the street’s intersection with Quincy Street.
Among the featured floats will be the Rhody Festival royalty float, with queen Mary Neville, 15, a sophomore at Jefferson Community School; princess Kaylee Krajewski, 16, a sophomore at Port Townsend High School; and princess Ellienne Thornton, 17, a junior at Port Townsend High School.
The parade will be followed by the seventh annual Cake Picnic at Pope Marine Park, where some 2,000 slices of free cake will be served during a dance party.
Saturday’s parade will be preceded by the annual Running of the Balls, a race of golf balls down Monroe Street that is sponsored by the Port Townsend Sunrise Rotary Club. Setup will begin at noon; the race will start at 12:30 p.m.
Tickets are $5 each or five for $20 and are available on parade day at the top of the course at Monroe and Lawrence street from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Balls will earn their “owners” $2,000 for first place, $500 for second place and $250 for third place.
Festivities began Wednesday with the trike races and continued Thursday with the pet parade and the beginning of the carnival.
Today will be the Kiddie Parade at 3:30 p.m. from Adams Street to Madison Street, with registration at 2:15 p.m.; and the Hair and Beard Contest and Bed Races at the Water Street side of the American Legion Hall. Registration for the contest and the races will begin at 5:15 p.m. with the judging at 6 p.m. Bed races will begin at about 6:30 p.m.
The carnival hours will be from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. today and from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday. Wristbands will be on sale until 8:30 p.m. each night. They are $35 each for unlimited rides and two games.
The 25th anniversary of the Jim Caldwell Memorial Classic Rhody Festival Golf Tournament is set Saturday and Sunday. Shotgun start is at 8 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday at the Port Townsend Golf Course, 1948 Blaine St. The entry fee is $35 for members and $45 for non-members each day. For more about the tournament, contact Rita Beebe at 360-531-3042 or call the golf course at 360-385-4547.
The 2019 Rhody Grand Parade marshals will be Tim and Dawn Thomas of Port Townsend, who continually contribute to East Jefferson & South County Little League, VFW Legion, the Ecumenical Christian Helping Hands Organization (ECHHO), Port Townsend Lifetime Booster, Chimacum High School cheer club and band, Port Townsend’s winter shelter, Hadlock Days, Kiwanis, Vet Connect, Jefferson County Fair, Habitat for Humanity and the Rhody Festival.
The first festival was in 1936, one-day celebration capped by a parade. The event was on hiatus form 1942 to 1945 during World War II and resumed in 1946. The festival, which has grown to a week-long celebration, became a nonprofit corporation in the 1980s.
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].