Workers set up the stage on Thursday in Vern Burton Community Center for this weekend’s scaled-down version of the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Workers set up the stage on Thursday in Vern Burton Community Center for this weekend’s scaled-down version of the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

The Juan de Fuca Festival is on Memorial Day weekend

Music, art, food live and online

PORT ANGELES — A historic festival season starts today on the North Olympic Peninsula.

The 27th Juan de Fuca Festival, a hybrid creature, features 20 virtual concerts available to anyone with an internet connection; two evenings of in-person music and five free workshops in dance, ukulele and spoken-word performance, also available online around the world.

For those hungry for an old-fashioned festival street fair, that’s happening too, with two dozen artisan and food vendors.

The free fair, open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, will take place at its traditional location: outside the Vern Burton Community Center at Fourth and Peabody streets in Port Angeles.

The Juan de Fuca Festival, named for the strait north of the Olympic Peninsula and after the Greek voyager who explored it some 450 years ago, began in 1994.

The 2021 event is the area’s first major music and arts fest to unfold since the pandemic gripped the world.

Staffers Kayla Oakes and Kari Chance, with their crew of volunteers, are ready.

Information about the performers, workshops, vendors and tickets is loaded onto JFFA.org.

And the street fair, said Oakes, gives people a chance to immerse themselves in art, color and aromas, just like the old days.

“We’ll have five food vendors. We’ll have our bubble machine, we’ll have our flags flying. We’ll have music piped out,” from the sound system inside the Vern Burton Community Center.

“People can go sit on the lawn and eat,” while enjoying plentiful space, Oakes added.

Spread out in its traditional place, Fourth Street between Lincoln and Peabody and in the Vern Burton parking lot, the street fair has just a third of the usual vendors.

“At the street fair, we’ll have brochures announcing our 2021-2022 Season Concerts series,” Oakes added.

The first concert: The Americana duo Small Glories at the Naval Elks Lodge Ballroom on Sept. 19.

The 20 artisan vendors, also available for online shopping on JFFA.org/festival/streetfair, include the Grateful Heartist, Cindy Elstrom Ceramics, Kyrgyzkonnection and Celia’s Gourmet Foods.

Festival-goers and home viewers also can opt for nearly 30 performances with the $45 Virtual Experience pass or the $80 In-Person Experience via JFFA.org/festival.

In-person passholders can purchase a $30 add-on to see the virtual shows too, all of which will remain available online through June 30.

To cap the weekend, a Memorial Day tribute featuring the Gailey Music Studio will begin at 1 p.m. via that same webpage, with free admission for all.

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

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