‘Thing’ arts festival coming to Fort Worden this summer

State funds no longer pay for maintenance, repair

PORT TOWNSEND — A new arts festival is coming to town this summer.

The Fort Worden Public Development Authority will welcome the Seattle Theatre Group as it produces “Thing” at Fort Worden State Park on Aug. 24-25.

The event will include a variety of arts, including music, comedy, dance and film, according to http://fortworden.org/.

Dave Robison, Fort Worden PDA executive director, made the announcement Monday night as he updated the Port Townsend City Council on the past year at the fort.

“Thing is the brainchild of Adam Zacks, the creator of Sasquatch [festival],” Robison said.

An official lineup will be announced Monday. Tickets will go on sale April 26.

The Seattle Theatre Group brought Modest Mouse to Fort Worden last summer. Robison said the concerts drew 5,000 people between both nights combined.

The Fort Worden PDA also hopes to put on the Old School 4th of July event this year, even if it doesn’t have financial support from the city or the Chamber of Jefferson County, Robison said.

“We’re trying to find corporate sponsorships and others to bring the event back to Fort Worden,” Robison said.

Robison and Diane Moody, the chief financial officer for the Fort Worden PDA, told City Council members 2018 was a major transition year.

The state parks department had been providing $500,000 annually for maintenance and repair for the PDA’s first five years, and that ended last June 30, Robison said.

Now the fort seeks to be financially self-sustaining, he said.

While the fort saw a 22 percent increase in revenue from 2017 at $6.3 million, Moody said expenses were a 29 percent increase at $5.675 million.

The City Council created the Fort Worden PDA in 2011, and the organization spent two years negotiating with the state on a 50-year master lease to operate the space. At 434 acres, it is one of only two state parks within an incorporated boundary, Robison said.

Within that space is the 95 acres of the Lifelong Learning Center Campus, plus Makers Square, a $14 million investment in three buildings that will include classrooms, galleries, studios and work spaces. Robison said $9 million has been raised so far.

“We’re out to bid,” Robison told the City Council. “Bids will come back later this month. We hope to award the contract at the end of May and start construction in June. It’s probably a year-long construction project.”

Among those spaces will be community radio station KPTZ 91.9 FM, which Robison envisions as a performance studio with a library, lectures and a future hub for Makers Square.

________

Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at bmclean@peninsuladailynews.com.

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