Stop and smell the rhodies again

Rhododendron Festival begins Wednesday

Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival Royality are, from left, Princess Brigitte Palmer, Queen Jenessah Seebergoss and Princess Hailey Hirschel. Seebergoss will not be able to attend this year. (photo by Lisa Jensen)

Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival Royality are, from left, Princess Brigitte Palmer, Queen Jenessah Seebergoss and Princess Hailey Hirschel. Seebergoss will not be able to attend this year. (photo by Lisa Jensen)

PORT TOWNSEND — It will be better than the past two years, say organizers of the Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival.

The float and royalty for the 87th Rhododendron Festival are the same as for 2020 and 2021, as is the theme. It’s Stop and Smell the Rhodies — again, since nothing but the parade could be presented last year and that was later than is traditional, in August.

This year, events will begin on Wednesday and extend through Sunday. All the activities generally part of the Rhody Festival will be offered this year — except for one.

“The only thing we don’t have this year is the carnival,” said Rita Hubbard, president of the festival, explaining that, like many businesses, Funtastic Traveling Show lacks sufficient workers.

Grand parade applications were being taken through Monday. As of Sunday, they stood at 50, she said.

Events last year and the year before were curtailed by health restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After throwing together a parade in August, “this is our official Rhody Grand Parade coming up” on Saturday, Hubbard said.

The 2020-2021 Rhododendron Festival Royal Court will be featured this year as the 2022 royal court.

“They didn’t get to shine for their year,” Hubbard said.

Queen Jenessah Seebergoss is not able to be in the festival this year because of school, Hubbard said, so the two princesses, Hailey Hirschel and Brigitte Palmer, will wave to the crowd from the float.

The float generally is in the Sequim Irrigation Festival Parade, which was on Saturday. Not this year. It was discovered that sometime within the past month, the battery and copper wiring had been stolen from the trailer, Hubbard said Sunday.

The Rhody Fest Grand Parade will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, moving from Uptown to Downtown and beginning just after the Running of the Balls on Monroe Street, which is sponsored by Sunrise Rotary at 12:30 p.m.

Registration will be from 8 a.m. to noon at the Port Townsend Visitor Center, 2409 Jefferson St., just off Sims Way.

The Jefferson Healthcare 10K and 5K Rhody Run is at a new venue this year. It will begin at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 4907 Landes St. For more information about the new course, see rhodyrun.com.

Rhody Fest volunteers turned out in force after a call went out for help, Hubbard said.

“We put out the word that, unless we got 20 volunteers, we would be canceling Rhody altogether,” Hubbard said.

Some 45 to 50 people offered assistance.

“So people stepped up,” Hubbard said.

More are always welcome, she said.

“They can just show up at any of the events,” she said. “We’ll put them to work.”

At the same time as the festival this weekend will be the celebration of the 40-year anniversary of the New Old Time Chautauqua on Friday through Sunday.

Here is the schedule for the Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival.

Wednesday

• Trike Races will begin at 6 p.m., with registration starting at 5 p.m. Check-in and assembly is in front of the Port Townsend City Hall, 250 Madison St., on the Water Street side.

The races are for children from 1 to 6 years old. Two-wheeled bikes also are allowed with training wheels but must be 12-inch bikes or less.

There will be no parking from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Water Street from Quincy to Monroe, and Monroe from Water to Washington. Water Street from Quincy to Monroe will be closed from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Thursday

• Pet Parade will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Lawrence Street from Harrison to Quincy streets. Registration begins at 3:30 p.m., with check–in and assembly at Van Buren and Lawrence streets. No judging.

There will be no parking from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Lawrence Street from Pierce to Adams. The road will be closed from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. for staging on Lawrence from Pierce to Harrison. The entire route will be closed from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Friday

• Kiddies Parade begins at 3:30 p.m., beginning on Lawrence Street from about Quincy to Jackson streets, then left on Jackson to Chetzemoka Park. Check-in and assembly is at the Port Townsend Recreation Center at Lawrence and Tyler streets. Registration begins at 2 p.m. No judging.

There will be no parking from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Lawrence Street from Tyler to Monroe, on Monroe from Lincoln to Clay, on Jackson from Monroe to Chetzemoka Park entrance. The road will be closed from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Lawrence from Tyler to Adams for staging. The entire route to Chetzemoka Park will be closed until 5 p.m.

• Hair and Beard Contest registration is at 5:15 p.m. Judging is at 5:30 p.m. at Water Street at the American Legion Hall.

• Bed Races begin at 6:30 p.m. on Water Street from Monroe to Madison streets. Check-in and assembly at Water and Monroe streets. Registration at 5:30 p.m. and judging at 6 p.m.

There will be no parking from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Water Street from Monroe to Quincy, and Monroe Street from Water to Washington. The road will be closed from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. from Water Street from Quincy to Monroe.

Saturday

• Rhody Grand Parade at 1 p.m. from Uptown to Downtown

Registration from 8 a.m. to noon at Port Townsend Visitor Center.

There will be no parking after 6 a.m. on several streets. Lawrence Street between Harrison and Walker will be closed at 8 a.m. for staging.

• Jim Caldwell Memorial Rhody Open begins at 8 a.m. at the Port Townsend Golf Course, 1948 Blaine St.

• Sunrise Rotary Running of the Balls is at 12:30 p.m. on Monroe Street. There will be no parking after 6 a.m. on Monroe from Lawrence to Water. Monroe Street will be closed at noon.

• Rhody Run Registration is from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Arts Building at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 4907 Landes St.

• Spaghetti Feed from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Port Townsend Elks Lodge, 555 Otto St.

Sunday

• Jim Caldwell Memorial Rhody Open will begin at 9 a.m. at the Port Townsend Golf Course.

• Rhody Run will begin at 9 a.m. at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

• Sather Park on Morgan Hill will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to view newly planted Pacific Rhododendrons.

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