Look who’s back: Gumby festival planned for Peninsula

SEQUIM — No one says, “I like Gumby.” “They say, ‘I love him,”‘ says Joe Clokey, who grew up quite close to the slant-headed, green TV character.

Joe is the son of Art Clokey, Gumby’s creator.

He grew up hearing bedtime stories about Gumby — and then watching them in clay animation when Gumby got his own television show in the late 1950s.

Both Clokeys — Joe, 44, and Art, 84 — will come to the North Olympic Peninsula to turn Gumby loose in mid-July.

On Friday evening, July 14, the Clokeys will host a VIP reception at the Inn at Port Hadlock.

Saturday, July 15, will be given to Gumby himself, who will wave, greet and grin at fans lining up at Port Townsend’s Rose Theatre, where a Gumby film retrospective will be screened at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Then he’ll rush back to the Inn at Port Hadlock’s Art Mine gallery, where Gumby puppets, sets and animation techniques will be on display.

Gumby’s bash is taking shape in large part because of Sequim resident Patrick Lauerman.

Lauerman is “Gumby’s secret agent,” as Joe Clokey puts it.

For seven years, Lauerman has been overseer of distribution of Gumby merchandise and memorabilia.

Now Lauerman wants to turn Gumby love into money.

He’s gathering sponsors for the July festivities, which are designed to raise money for the Gumby Scholarship Fund.

Lauerman hopes to award five to 10 scholarships to high school students from moderate to low-income families, plus give an award to an adult re-entry student.

So far Lauerman, a member of the Sequim Rotary Club, has several Peninsula Rotary clubs on his contributor list.

American Marine Bank branches in Sequim and Port Townsend have signed on as sponsors and sellers of tickets for the Friday night reception.

Lauerman urges business owners interested in sponsorships to call him at 360-681-0563.

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