PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles waterfront will turn into “Elwha Central” as a free, public dam-removal festival spreads out on City Pier from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday.
The festival will offer broadcasts of the morning’s ceremony at the Elwha Dam, music, food, drink and displays that blend environmentalism with entertainment.
“Ranger Jeff,” aka Jeff Wolin of Florissant, Colo., is among the performers planning a family-friendly show on the pier.
Wolin will serve as master of musical ceremonies all day.
As the culmination of this week’s “Celebrate Elwha!” activities in and around town, Elwha Central will have as one of its attractions the big-screen simulcast of the invitation-only ceremony up at the Elwha Dam site.
Gov. Chris Gregoire, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, local Congressman Norm Dicks, U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk are among the dignitaries invited to the 90-minute gathering on the river.
Also among the 400 luminaries are National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, actor-environmentalist Tom Skerritt, former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley, Lower Elwha Tribal Chairwoman Francis Charles, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor and Karen Gustin, Olympic National Park superintendent.
Televised at City Pier
Down on the pier, the public will have a chance to watch it all at 11 a.m. and again at 5:30 p.m.
The ceremonies will also be webcast to home computer users at http://www.dvidshub.net/webcast/1949 at 11 a.m.
The festival, sponsored by First Federal, also will be a place to buy Olympic National Park books and memorabilia and learn about local environmental organizations such as the Arthur D. Feiro Marine Life Center.
The many nonprofits setting up displays include American Whitewater, Dungeness Valley Lutheran Church and Habitat for Humanity, the Dry Creek Coalition, the Elwha Science Education Project, Lower Elwha Klallam tribe, the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center, Streamkeepers, Olympic Peninsula Surfriders, the Story People of Clallam County, the Wild Olympics Campaign, Wolf Haven International and the Huxley College of the Environment on the Peninsula.
Festival-goers can also sign up for free outdoor activities to be hosted Sunday by the NatureBridge environmental school.
NatureBridge, formerly Olympic Park Institute, will offer tours of several locations on and around the Elwha River from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
Details about that and the rest of the weekend’s activities are at www.CelebrateElwha.com.
On the City Pier stage, Ranger Jeff will welcome local bluesman Thom Davis, who has penned new songs especially for the Elwha Central event, at 10 a.m.
The music schedule also includes a set by Bessier-Morris at 12:45 p.m., Ranger Jeff’s family show at 2 p.m., jazz by Impulse at 3 p.m. and rock with Kevin Lee Magner and Bound to Happen at 4:15 p.m. Zaya Marimba will also be performing throughout the day.
Saturday night, much more live music will fill the 1,156-seat Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center.
The California alternative-rock band Cake, plus Texas Music Hall of Fame singer-songwriter Eliza Gilkyson and banjo man Danny Barnes, form the triple bill for “eTown,” a nationally syndicated radio show to be taped here at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets to the taping, a two-hour concert-and-conversation, are $20 at www.ArtsNW.org and at Port Book and News, 104 E. First St.; any remaining seats will be sold at the door.
Also on the “eTown” show agenda are an interview with National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis and the presentation of the E-chievement Award.
The recipient is a Washington state activist whose name won’t be announced until Saturday, said “eTown” co-host Nick Forster.
Saturday night’s festivities will be turned into two “eTown” episodes, to air on some 300 public and commercial radio stations in late November or early December.
North Olympic Peninsula residents will be able to hear the shows on KMTT-FM 103.7 out of Tacoma, as well as online via www.eTown.org.
And KONP of Port Angeles, at 1450 AM and 102.1 FM, may also air them; manager Todd Ortloff said this week he’s trying to work out a broadcast agreement with “eTown.”
The orchestrator of all this is Karen Hanan of Arts Northwest, the Port Angeles-based promoter of musical and educational events and the founder of the Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts.
The City Pier festival, the “eTown” event and other Celebrate Elwha activities of the past week were not included in the National Park Service’s multimillion-dollar Elwha River Restoration budget, Hanan said.
Instead, she raised $20,000 in private funding, principally from the Kongsgaard-Goldman Foundation.
The Seattle foundation makes grants to nonprofits involved in restoration and other environmental projects across the Pacific Northwest.
Hanan was determined to add music and other art forms to the Elwha dam-removal story.
She also coordinated the creation of 23 banners by artists across the region, plus a mural by Port Angeles Fine Arts Center Director Jake Seniuk, for Saturday’s ceremony at the dam site.
Without the arts, that event could get a little dry, Hanan believes.
She also wanted the public to be part of the whole restoration project, the largest of its kind in the nation.
So “we raised our own money for our party,” Hanan said.
“The arts are what people will remember.”
Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3550 or at [email protected]