SEQUIM — With double the drones, added activities and hopefully clear skies, the Sequim Sunshine Festival returns for its fourth year of activities on Friday and Saturday.
The annual event serves as a springboard into Sequim’s tourism season and features activities for all ages across Sequim, including the popular drone show on Saturday night.
If you’re wondering why the festival is held this time of year, Sequim communications and marketing director Barbara Hanna said it developed as an idea to draw people in during a slower time of year and highlight Sequim’s best asset — sunshine.
“We’ve made it clear in messaging that we can’t guarantee [sunshine], but the odds are good,” she said.
Sequim was nicknamed “the Blue Hole” by pilots because, no matter what the weather on the North Olympic Peninsula, they often saw blue skies over Sequim due to its protection in rain shadow provided by the Olympic Mountains to the south.
Despite limited events in its second year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hanna said she and fellow organizers have been pleased with seeing the festival grow.
“It tells me the community appreciates there is something to do this time of year,” she said.
• Drone show: Firefly Drone Company will return with 200 drones, rather than 100 in previous years, to perform at 7 p.m. Saturday for a 15-minute show above Carrie Blake Community Park, 202 N. Brown Road.
Hanna said the extra drones mean more elaborate configurations exclusive to Sequim’s show with no additional cost to the city. Synchronized music will accompany the drones. Those watching from a distance can listen along via KSQM FM 91.5, which will broadcast the music live.
The show is weather dependent; contingencies are in place if there’s inclement weather, Hanna said.
• Sun Fun Color Run: Spots for the Sun Fun Color Run’s 1K and 5K races remain open, with signups for all ages at runsignup.com/Race/WA/Sequim/SunFunColorRun.
Races begin at 11 a.m. Saturday at Carrie Blake Community Park and feature color stations along the course for runners, walkers and strollers. Each entrant will receive a T-shirt, race bib, medal, sunglasses, towel and a color blast bag.
• Opening night: The festival officially opens at 5 p.m. Friday at the Sequim Civic Center, 157 W. Cedar St., with the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce hosting a ribbon cutting. Members of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe will share the “Welcome” song and the story of “Why the Sun Always Shines in Sequim.”
Friday also continues the traditional First Friday Art Walk in downtown Sequim from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (SequimArtWalk.com).
The Navy Northwest Band (rock) will play a free show from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave.
• Interactive Light Experience: Artist Ross Brown will bring back his interactive light stations from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, and from noon to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, at Pioneer Memorial Park, 387 E. Washington St. The stations allow users to reflect, absorb or transmit light with switches and dimmers.
Brown said he’s created two new interactive viewing stations, made some new light art pieces for inside and outside the event, and he plans to bring back his lighted sandbox.
“[The Sunshine Festival] energizes residents and gets people out,” he said.
Clallam County Public Utility District will host a pedal power bike generator setup from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday in Pioneer Park, and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., artist Janine Miller will offer banner flags, paper lanterns and floral headbands for the “Let Your Light Shine” luminary workshop.
• Saturday events: Music, food, beverages and goods will be offered throughout Saturday at Carrie Blake Community Park, starting with the opening of the Sunshine Market at 10 a.m. in and around the Guy Cole Event Center, with 20-plus vendors, and a beer and wine garden will be offered by the Sequim Valley Lions Club.
Multiple nonprofits also will set up child-friendly activities around the park with a street mural available to use brushes, paint and stencils.
Music will start at noon in the park with Tom Shindler, Black Diamond Junction, Free Rangers, and Kalan Wolfe & The Shift will play back-to-back.
Hanna said the festival continues to work toward breaking even as it’s continued to be funded through the city’s Lodging Tax fund.
The event saw increased sponsorships this year, and an increase in vendor and musician applications, she said.
With a growing number of corporate sponsors and interested ones, Hanna said they will look to incorporate more for events in 2024.
Volunteers can also continue to sign up for the event at Visitsunnysequim.com.
For more information, see visitsunnysequim.com/263/Sequim-Sunshine-Festival.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at email@example.com.