Rhododendron Festival parade, carnival, Rhody Run this weekend

PORT TOWNSEND — Celebrate “A Touch of Elegance”‘ at the 70th annual Rhododendron Festival, the theme of this year’s pistil-packing event.

Festivities began way back in March with the coronation of Queen Magdalena Quintana and her court.

Rhody Fest events officially kicked off earlier this week, but the highlights come Saturday with the Grand Parade and Sunday with the Rhody Run.

This afternoon, May 20, is for the little ones, when the Kiddies Parade rolls after assembling downtown for judging at 3:10.

From noon to 6 today, the chapel at Fort Worden State Park is cacophony of color at the Rhododendron Flower Show, sponsored by the Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society. The petal-popping show continues noon-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

The popular Bed Race also runs at 6:30 p.m. today downtown.

Already under way is the Funtastic Carnival, which rolled into town and opens its raucous midway rides and sideshows Thursday at Memorial Field.

Other events over the weekend:

May 21

* 1 p.m., Rhody Festival Grand Parade, which caravans from Lawrence Street to Monroe Street to Water Street and ends at Adams and Washington streets.

The parade is hosted by this year’s Rhody Fest royalty: Queen Magdalena and princesses Sarah Lake and Alisha Blake.

Royalty receive scholarship funds and make appearances at festivals and parades around the state in the coming year.

The parade kicks off at 1 p.m. and includes high school marching bands from throughout the North Olympic Peninsula and state.

And don’t miss this year’s Rhody Fest Parade (and Jefferson County) debut of the Peninsula Daily News Gazooba Band, also known as The Grateful Deadlines.

The band performs its power-packed rendition of “Tequila” performed with the assistance of kazoos attached to newspaper delivery “tubes” — the orange plastic receptacles normally found at roadsides.

May 22

* 11 a.m.: Rhody Run XXVII, a 12-kilometer race for runners and walkers of all ages that starts and finishes at Fort Worden State Park.

The scenic course loops through a rural area with views of mountains, woods, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Sponsor of the annual capper to the Rhody Festival is the Port Townsend Marathon Association, and registration information is available by calling 360-379-3595, e-mailing [email protected], or logging onto www.rhodyrun.com.

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