The dedication of the Linger Longer Outdoor Theater took place Saturday in Quilcene. Jennifer Jackson/for Peninsula Daily News

The dedication of the Linger Longer Outdoor Theater took place Saturday in Quilcene. Jennifer Jackson/for Peninsula Daily News

Linger Longer Outoor Theater dedicated in Quilcene

QUILCENE — There is a defining moment in the course of any project.

For Bob Rosen, a former Hollywood producer, it was when he was filming volunteers working on the roof of the Linger Longer Outdoor Theater as it neared completion.

About 10 people were on the roof, he said, and “I realized they represented more than 500 years of residency in Quilcene.”

On Saturday, Rosen, manager of the Quilcene Community Center and founder of Linger Longer Productions, led a dedication ceremony for the outdoor theater.

The Washington Old Time Fiddlers provided country background music, though some felt the tune should have been “The Impossible Dream.”

“For Bob, this is the fulfillment of a dream project,” said Mari Phillips at the dedication.

Phillips is coordinating the Quilcene Historical Museum’s efforts to buy the historic Worthington House and 10-acre grounds on which the outdoor stage was built, to create Worthington Park.

Saturday, Phillips dedicated the stage to the native people who inhabited the shores of Quilcene Bay; the pioneers and adventurers who settled on the land; and other residents past, present and future.

Then the volunteers who helped complete the project cut a ribbon stretching across the stage.

Starla Audette presented a $500 check to Phillips on behalf of the Quilcene Lions Club for the Worthington Park campaign.

According to fundraising coordinator Carol Christiansen, the campaign has raised $110,000 of the $300,000 needed to buy the property and house, which is the only Victorian residence of its scale in rural Jefferson County.

For Saturday’s dedication, Christiansen wore a straw hat trimmed with flowers, which she has vowed not to take off until the purchase price is raised.

Eileen Worthington, who died in May, signed a provision in August 2011 giving the historical museum two years to raise the money to buy the property, along with permission to start renovating the grounds and build the stage.

Worthington also donated the land for the museum, which is adjacent to the property.

Mary Kollar, who lives on Quilcene Bay, said she and her husband, Allan, support the campaign because of the property’s educational value for local students,.

The grounds have nature trails around a pond and 660 feet of frontage on the Little Quilcene River.

The stage can be used for school ceremonies, Kollar said, and the house, built in 1891, can provide the community with a connection to its roots.

“We see the benefit not only to Quilcene, but to the whole Peninsula,” she said.

Bob Prill and Orville Fisk, post commander of the Quilcene Veterans of Foreign Wars, conducted the flag ceremony for the dedication ceremony.

Guests included David Sullivan and Phil Johnson, Jefferson County commissioners; Carl Smith, the county’s director of community development; Josh Peters of the county public works department; Leif Erickson, Port of Port Townsend commissioner, Wayne King and Ken McMillen, PUD commissioners, and Bill Wise of the Economic Development Council Team Jefferson.

Pat Johansen, who is involved in planning similar citizen efforts to create events and venues in Sequim, came to see the stage.

“It’s stunning,” he said.

Rosen thanked architect Gene Thompson and Linger Longer volunteers Gary Phillips, Bonnie Story, Jim Munn and Jim Christiansen.

Mari Phillips called Rosen and Larry McKeehan ‘miracle workers’ for getting the project off the ground.

Concerts held at the stage will raise money for the Worthington Park campaign.

The first, on July 21, will feature Chance McKinney, a country-western recording artist, and singer-songwriter Kellee Bradley.

For tickets, go to www.LingerLongerProductions.com or call 360-765-3321.

For more information about Worthington Park, go to www.worthingtonparkquilcene.org or phone the Quilcene Historical Museum at 360-765-4848.

Jennifer Jackson is a freelance writer and photographer living in Port Townsend. To contact her, email jjackson@olypen.com.

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