1978 Rhododendron Festival queen Ann DeLeo Waters, left, and her sister, 1973 Rhody queen Carlene DeLeo Dahlman, are the self-described “old Rhody queens” who are hosting a fundraiser Friday night at the Wheel-In Motor Movie in Port Townsend. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

1978 Rhododendron Festival queen Ann DeLeo Waters, left, and her sister, 1973 Rhody queen Carlene DeLeo Dahlman, are the self-described “old Rhody queens” who are hosting a fundraiser Friday night at the Wheel-In Motor Movie in Port Townsend. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Rhododendron events set for Friday, Saturday

Bingo and a movie, Running of the Balls slated this weekend

PORT TOWNSEND — Here they are, the “two old Rhody queens,” not afraid to say so as they kick off a different kind of Rhododendron Festival weekend.

Ann DeLeo Waters, queen of the Rhododendron Festival in 1978, and her sister, Carlene DeLeo Dahlman, queen of 1973, have dreamed up a fundraiser — “it was a collaboration of both of us talking as fast as we could,” Dahlman said — to celebrate Port Townsend.

It’s a combination bingo night-drive-in movie this Friday at, naturally, the Wheel-In Motor Movie, 210 Theatre Road, with space for 80 carloads of people.

“We’re going to play 10 games of bingo from 6:30 to 8:30, and then the movie’s at 9,” said Dahlman, adding the gate will open at 5:30 p.m. at the Wheel-In, where the concession stand sells food and drink.

The movie? “An Officer and a Gentleman,” of course. The 1982 romantic drama was filmed in Port Townsend, with key scenes at Fort Worden and the Town Tavern, and locals as extras. Two cartoons will be shown first, Dahlman said, to lull children off to sleep before the R-rated “Officer” lights the screen.

Tickets are $50 per carload for the movie plus $10 for a bingo packet; players, who must be 18 or older, will have multiple chances to win $50 cash prizes.

Proceeds from Friday’s event will benefit the Rhododendron Festival Association, which has postponed the fest until summer or early fall.

To reserve tickets, email [email protected] — and do it fast, the sisters say, because spaces are limited at the Wheel-In.

There’s a trophy waiting for the best-decorated car, Waters added, along with other prizes, including gift cards from local merchants.

The 2020-2021 Rhody royalty will appear, she promised: Queen Jenessah Seebergoss of Port Townsend and princesses Hailey Hirschel and Brigitte Palmer of Chimacum will present the prizes to the bingo winners.

This being the third Saturday in May, the traditional Rhody parade date, another event follows on Friday’s heels: The Running of the Balls, a tradition winking at the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. It’s a stampede of golf balls, each of which has been purchased by a Port Townsend Sunrise Rotary Club supporter.

The running will commence at 12:30 p.m. Saturday on Monroe Street near the Lawrence Street corner, where a hopper full of golf balls will be released to tumble down the hill.

At the bottom, a catcher identifies the first three to arrive; first place wins $2,000 for the purchaser, second place wins $500 and third $250.

“It’s kind of silly. No, it’s totally silly,” said Rotarian and organizer Chuck Henry.

But the money raised from selling golf-ball tickets provides serious benefits. The Sunrise Rotary Club buys dictionaries for every third-grader in Jefferson County and supports Port Townsend High School’s Mock Trial and other education programs, Henry noted.

Those who want to find out more about the Running of the Balls — and buy tickets — are invited to visit PTSunriseRotary.org. The event is open to the public, Henry added.

“Golf balls on an asphalt street just go nuts,” he said.

________

Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]

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