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Port Townsend Rhody Fest begins Monday, culminates in Saturday parade

PORT TOWNSEND — The 82nd annual Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival will begin with a royal ribbon-cutting Monday and end with a grand parade Saturday.

The royal court — Queen Lauren Montgomery, Princess Sarah Smith and Princess Taylor Tracer — will immortalize their handprints in concrete at the Centennial Rhododendron Garden at Fort Worden, 200 Battery Way, after a festival ribbon-cutting at 4 p.m. Monday.

The theme this year is “Enchanted Rhody.”

Events are free, except for the carnival and the Rhody Run.

Trike races will set off on Water Street at 6 p.m. Wednesday after assembly begins at 5 p.m. in front of historic City Hall at 540 Water St.

The race is for those from 1 to 6 years old. All trikes must have three wheels and be 12-inch bikes or less. Rhody royalty will choose the best-decorated trike for inclusion in Saturday’s parade.

The race is sponsored by Les Schwab Tire Center of Port Townsend and hosted by Port Townsend Sunrise Rotary.

The Rhody Festival Funtastic Carnival at Jefferson County Memorial Field will open at 4 p.m. Thursday,
4 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday. Tickets can be purchased at the carnival.

A Pet Parade will feature costumed pets traipsing down Lawrence Street to Taylor Street beginning at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Registration will be at 3:30 p.m. at Van Buren and Lawrence streets, with judging at 4 p.m.

Snacks will be provided by sponsor Safeway.

On Friday will be three events: the Rhody Festival Kiddies Parade, Hair and Beard Contest, and Bed Races.

The Kiddies Parade, sponsored by the Port Townsend Kiwanis Club, will begin at 3:30 p.m. after registration at 2 p.m. and judging at 3 p.m. at the corner of Lawrence and Tyler streets.

The parade route will be down Lawrence at Adams to Monroe, then to Water Street and then to Madison Street.

The Hair and Beard Contest coordinated by the Great Port Townsend Bay Kinetic Sculpture Race race crew will offer awards in nine categories — three for each group of kids,women and men.

Longest Hair, Coolest Braid and Rhody Spirit awards will be named in both the kids and women’s contests. The men’s group categories will be Best Use of Hair, Most Unique Overall and Longest Beard.

Registration will be at
5 p.m. in front of the American Legion Hall at Monroe and Water streets on the Water Street side. Rhody royalty will judge hair and beards at 5:30 p.m.

Bed Races will begin at 6:30 p.m. in front of the American Legion Hall. This race also is coordinated by the Kinetic Sculpture Race race crew and so bribing the judges — the royal court — is encouraged.

Registration will be at
5 p.m. Beds must conform to certain rules: They must have something that resembles a headboard and footboard and have a foam or pad mattress, the wheels cannot exceed 12 inches in overall diameter and 3 inches in width, the rider must weigh at least 100 pounds, each bed must be pushed by at least four people, with beds needing to stay in their lanes.

A Grand Parade will cap the Rhody festivities at
1 p.m. Saturday, followed by the Cake Picnic.

The Grand Parade will begin at 1 p.m. with check-in beginning at 8 a.m.

It will start at Lawrence and Harrison and travel downtown to Water and Quincy streets.

As the parade disperses, a party will begin with the Cake Picnic, a Rhody Festival tradition for the past five years.

Some 2,000 slices of cake will be handed out during entertainment provided by DJ Captain Peacock, Dirty Beats Duo, the Unexpected Brass Band and the O’Meara Dance Studio.

“This year will mark the 12,000th slice of handmade cake served for free to the public,” said Daniel Milholland of Thunderbull Productions, who coordinates the party.

The production has been continually sponsored by local businesses, such as Printery Communications and the Port Townsend Food Co-op, and funded by donations from the public. This year, local bakery Crust is joining the all-volunteer cake baking team.

For more information, visit

On Sunday, those who had a little too much cake can run it off at the 39th annual Rhody Run, sponsored by Jefferson Healthcare.

The run will begin at
11 a.m. Sunday at Fort Worden Sate Park. Two courses are available: a 12K and a 6K.

Online registration for the run ends at 5 p.m. Wednesday at www.rhody
. Fees are $15 for those younger than 17, $25 for seniors 65 and older and for active military, and $35 for adults — $45 the day of the race.

For more about the Rhody Fest, see or the event’s Facebookpage.


Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].


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