More best bets across the Peninsula this weekend

Maples are beginning to turn orange and yellow, school has begun, flu shot clinics are being scheduled and the first of fall’s rains have fallen. Summer may be gone, but the North Olympic Peninsula festival and event season continues full speed ahead.

From the opening of the weeklong Hickory Shirt/Heritage Days in Forks to the Harvest Festival in Sequim, from plays to art exhibits to music, music, music — there’s something for every taste this weekend.

Many of the events are highlighted in today’s Peninsula Spotlight.

Peninsula Spotlight is the Peninsula Daily News’ weekly entertainment guide, published every Friday.

Many events are also listed in “Things to Do This Weekend,” appearing by clicking on CALENDAR at left.

Here are additional best bets for this weekend:

Thunder boats are back

The annual Strait Thunder Unlimited Light Hydroplane Racing Association races are set to start Saturday morning in Port Angeles Harbor.

Spectators can watch from City Pier or the Waterfront Trail for free as the hydros, which can exceed speeds of 160 mph, challenge each other on a loop from Hollywood Beach to the old Rayonier pier.

If you want to take a “hot pit” tour and see the mechanics and crews in action at the pier, a donation to the Marine Corps Toys for Tots — a new, unwrapped toy — is strongly encouraged, said Mary Buck, president of the Peninsula Water Sports Association.

Opening ceremonies for the race on Saturday and Sunday will be at 11:20 a.m.

A Coast Guard rescue demonstration is scheduled for 11:45 a.m.

Racing will start at about noon and will end between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Tonight the public is invited to watch boat drivers complete “capsule training” at the Red Lion Hotel pool, Buck said.

The training, which begins at 6:30 p.m., ensures that racers can get out of the boat’s cockpit in case of a crash.

On Saturday and Sunday, a shuttle between Port Angeles City Hall and county courthouse parking lots and the waterfront will be operating.

The shuttle will also connect race watchers to some of the race’s sponsors, including MaMa’s Restaurant and Mickey’s Sports Bar and Casino, Buck said.

For those who want a ride, keep an eye out for shuttle stop signs and call the number posted.

Dispatchers with the race will route the shuttles to those who call, Buck said.

Unlimited light hydroplanes — 20 to 26 feet long, gas powered with engines up to 800 horse power — race in Seattle, Detroit and other cities around the country.

Port Angeles is hosting the association’s final race of the season.

Under the big top in Forks

In association with Hickory Shirt/Heritage Days in Forks, a circus-style health fair will be held at Forks Community Hospital, 530 Bogachiel Way, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

There will be free hot dogs and beverages, plus activities for all ages, giveaways and drawings for prizes.

In addition to blood-pressure tests and other health screenings, there will be lots of events for kids — from a Kid’s Obstacle Course kicking off the event at 10:30 a.m. to Sadie the Dancing Dog, clowns and face painting.

Hot wheelers rodeo

North Olympic Hot Wheelers will hold a rodeo for physically challenged people from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

At the event, held at Sequim fire station, 323 N. Fifth St., participants will make their way through an obstacle course in motorized and non-motorized wheel chairs, scooters and power chairs.

There will be drag races, and “hot wheelers’ performing tricks.

The event is free, door prize giveaways and refreshments will be available.

Donations will be welcomed.

For more information, phone 360-683-3091.

Rock and gem show

The Clallam County Gem and Mineral Society hosts “Earth’s Treasures 2006,” a rock and gem show today and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The show is at Carrie Blake Park, 202 N. Blake Road, Sequim.

Events includes displays of gemstones, jewelry, beads, rocks and minerals, along with demonstrations, games, a silent auction, raffles and food.

Admission is free, and so is parking.

Nordic delights

A three-course “Scandia Harvest Dinner” will be served tonight in Port Townsend.

It is being put on by Thea Foss No. 45 Daughters of Norway.

The dinner begins at 6 p.m. at the Masonic Hall, Jefferson and Van Buren Streets (across from the post office).

Tickets are $12 and can be bought in downtown Port Townsend at Maricee’s, 913 Water St., and at Roche Gallery & Studio, 833 Water St.

For more information, phone Sonja Schoenleber, 360-379-2612.

Silent auction tonight

A silent auction to raise money for Healthy Families of Clallam County is tonight.

The event runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. outside Health Families’ office at 630 E. Front St., Suite A., in Port Angeles.

Proceeds from the silent auction will go toward Healthy Families’ programs for safe shelters, parent education and preventing child abuse.

Shakespeare in PT

On noon Saturday, the Peninsula College Players will do its “Shakespeare on a Nickle” presentation of an abridged version of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” at the Peninsula College offices at 298 Battery Way in Fort Worden State Park.

Admission: 5 cents.

This is the last of the group’s performances of “As You Like It” all around the North Olympic Peninsula, presented without frills, a few feet from the audience, “both to accentuate its humor and to find contemporary ways of understanding love,” says Players director Matt Vadnais.

Fees waived

Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest entrance fees will be waived Saturday in celebration of National Public Lands Day.

Other fees, including wilderness camping in the park and campground fees in the park and the forest, will remain in effect.

But day-use fees in the forest — including trailheads, boat launches, picnic areas and cultural and historical interpretive sites — will be waived.

The park’s visitor centers will be open, including the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and the Hoh Visitor Center, along with the Forks, Kalaloch and Quinault information stations.

Ranger-led education programs will be offered at Hurricane Ridge, Hoh, Kalaloch and Quinault.

National Public Lands Day is one of two days in the year when the Northwest Forest Pass is not required at any of the national forest’s day-use sites.

The other day is National Public Lands Day in June.

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