PORT TOWNSEND — The grand finale of the 83rd annual Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival is this weekend.
Seats for Saturday’s parade — lawn chairs, recliners, sofas, rockers, tables and chairs — already have appeared on the sidewalks of Lawrence Street in the uptown district in an annual ritual of “saving the best seat in the house.”
The festival began in 1936 and has been held every year since, excluding the war years of 1942-45. It’s often a reunion weekend for far-flung family and friends. This year, the theme is Off to Rhody Land.
A crowd of more than 8,000 is expected.
Saturday’s Grand Parade will start at 1 p.m. at Lawrence and Harrison streets and wend its way toward Monroe Street then down to Water Street, ending at Quincy Street.
This year, the Rhody float is decorated as a boat, more specifically a pirate ship complete with a cannon. Rhody queen Ashley Rosser and her court — Desirae Kudronowicz, Skyanne Lardella and Lacey Bishop — will be onboard.
Bill and Elena Kraut, owners of Hadlock Building Supply, are the grand marshals and will lead the parade.
The parade will have some 107 entries, including marching bands from Port Townsend, Chimacum, Port Angeles and Sequim high schools, and others from all around the state.
The Cake Picnic will follow immediately after the parade. The picnic will be at Pope Marine Park until 5 p.m.
Activities began Monday and continued throughout the week.
The schedule of events for this weekend is:
• 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. — Kiddies Parade will begin at Adams Street uptown and end at Madison Street downtown. Five hundred participants are expected.
• 5:15 p.m. — Hair & Beard Contest. Participants will assemble at the American Legion Hall on the Water Street side.
Judging will be at 6 p.m. It is open to men, women and children.
• 6:30 p.m. — Bed Races on Water Street will follow the Hair & Beard contest.
• 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. — Funtastic Carnival continues at Memorial Field. Unlimited rides cost $30.
• 8 a.m. — 2018 Jim Caldwell Rhody Memorial Classic Festival Golf Tournament at Port Townsend Golf Club. Entry fee $35, $45 for non-members.
• 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. — Rhody Pancake Breakfast at the Port Townsend Elks Lodge, 555 Otto St.
• Noon — Running of the Balls will be on Monroe Street. It is organized by Sunrise Rotary with proceeds going to buy dictionaries for every third-grade student in east Jefferson County.
• 1 p.m. — Rhody Festival Grand Parade, beginning at at Lawrence and Harrison streets. Cake Picnic will follow the parade at Pope Marine Park.
• 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. — Rhody Run packet pickup and on-site registration at Fort Worden.
• 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. — Elks Rhody Spaghetti Feed Dinner.
• Noon to 10 p.m. — Carnival. Unlimited rides cost $30.
• 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. — Pancake Breakfast at the Elks Lodge.
• 9 a.m. — Golf tournament continues. Best Ball contest.
• 8:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. — Packet pickup for 12K race/ day of registration at Fort Worden Commons.
• 9:30 a.m. — Kids’ Sprint, Fort Worden.
• 11 a.m. — Rhody Run 12K Race will start, Officer’s Row, Fort Worden.
• 11.30 a.m. — Half-Rhody Run 6K Race will start. Royalty will participate.
For more information, see http://www.rhody festival.org/.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected].