Thousands watch sights at Juan De Fuca Festival of the Arts

PORT ANGELES – Thousands had turned out for the 14th annual Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts by Saturday, according to the festival’s director.

The festival, which began Friday, will continue today and Monday at locations throughout Port Angeles.

Anna Manildi, the festival’s executive director, had expressed some concern on Thursday that rising gas prices might affect attendance.

But that doesn’t seem to have been the case.

“All the stages have been packed and we’ve had to go buy more wrist bands because we’ve sold out, more than we thought,” said Manildi on Saturday.

She didn’t have specific attendance figures.

“I wish I had numbers for you, but I just don’t,” she said.

Six florescent banners – about three times as tall as the audience members standing next to them – rustled in the breeze on Saturday afternoon.

It sounded like a soft accompaniment to the eight members of SequiMarimba on the lawn of the Vern Burton Community Center, 308 E. Fourth St.

Among those enjoying the show was Chris Primus from Laramie, Wyo., who was visiting family.

She drank a virgin Pina Colada at a picnic table with her mother.

“I like the mellow beat sound,” Primus said.

Across the grass sat another mother/daughter pair, Kathy Hansen and her mother Nina Fisher, both of Port Angeles.

“It’s an easy way to slip off to the Caribbean without the cost of gas or airfare,” said Hansen of the music.

Sequimarimba and the Shula Azhar Middle Eastern Dancers were free events.

At six indoor stages, Japanese drumming, Americana folk music, jugglers and comedy acts delighted ticket holders.

Outside, food vendors, with lunch-time lines for gyros and kettle corn, had taken over Fourth Street, while arts and crafts booths mushroomed in the Peabody Street parking lot.

And festival attendees were as much an act as the musicians.

“All the people,” said Hansen, sitting in a blue folding camping chair.

“I love to people-watch, and all the fun food and all that it has to offer.”

“When you add music (to a festival) it makes everything better,” Fisher said.

Venues are at the Vern Burton Community Center, where tickets are available; the Elks Naval Lodge, First and Lincoln streets; the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, 1203 E. Lauridsen Blvd; and the Port Angeles Community Playhouse, Liberty Street and Lauridsen Boulevard.

Daily wristbands for adults are $13 for general admission and $12 for students and seniors.

Children 12 years old and younger are admitted free.

A shuttle service is operated between venues by All Points Charters and Tours and sponsored by Team Thomson at Coldwell Banker Uptown Realty.

More information about performers, tickets and venues is available online at www.jffa.org.

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