As April showers give way to May flowers, nothing takes center stage as eloquently here in Port Townsend as the Rhododendron, which you’ll see blooming prolifically around town. It’s not only Washington’s state flower, but it’s the star of the show this month as we celebrate our 83rd Rhododendron Festival, with activities and fun for the whole family…even your pet! Mark your calendars to join us May 16-20!
But that’s not all that’s coming your way in May. Read on to learn about more exciting events and activities for you to enjoy in Port Townsend this month!
Art Wave, May 1-31
You’ll be inspired by this colorful month-long exhibit of over 400 pieces of children’s artwork displayed in businesses in Uptown and Downtown, created by grades K-12 in the Port Townsend School District. Come to the historic districts for Art Walk on Saturday, May 5, from 5:30-7:30 pm and see the creativity of our children.
New this year, tap into your creativity at the ArtZone—a Paint n’ Sip Party on May 24 from 5-7 pm for adults 21+ to benefit Arts in the Port Townsend Public Schools. The class will be led by Jesse Watson, an award-winning local artist who’s known for his colorful landscapes and portraits. The $50 fee includes materials and refreshments. The art party will be held in the Kuhn Building at 1044 Water Street. Sponsored by the Port Townsend Main Street Program. http://ptmainstreet.org/may-is-art-wave/
Opening Day on the Bay, Saturday, May 5
Opening Day of the 2018 boating season is cause for celebration as the Port Townsend Yacht Club invites the public to view the waterfront parade. Watch the boats sail by from the Northwest Maritime Center Pier, Pope Marine Park or any other convenient location along Water Street. The parade will begin after the departure of the 12:30 pm ferry to Coupeville. Following the parade, there will be the traditional Blessing of the Fleet. www.PTYC.net
Gemboree, Saturday, May 5
The Port Townsend Rock Club is hosting their annual Gemboree showcase, including local experts demonstrating contemporary beading, jewelry bezel setting, stone sculpting and much more. The organization has been active for over 50 years in Port Townsend. Located at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, the clubhouse hosts a complete studio, library and a cavalcade of people who love to work on and learn about gems, minerals and geology. Explore the possibilities at the Gemboree from 10 am to 2 pm. Free to the public. For more info, email email@example.com.
83rd Annual Rhododendron Festival and Rhody Run, May 16-20
Talk like a local and call it “Rhody!” For those of us in Port Townsend, this term encompasses anything going on during the week of the festival. We simply call all of it “Rhody.” Feel free to do so, too. Make plans to join us this year for Rhody and celebrate our Port Townsend “community holiday” with us. Here’s the scoop:
Wednesday, May 16
6pm Trike Race begins
Thursday, May 17
4:30pm Pet Parade begins and the Funtastic Carnival opens at Memorial Field
Friday, May 18
3:30pm Kiddies Parade begins and the Carnival is ongoing through the evening
6:30pm Bed Races begin
Saturday, May 19
1pm Rhody Festival Grand Parade with a Cake Picnic to follow
Sunday, May 20
11am 40th Annual Rhody Run begins
www.RhodyFestival.org or www.RhodyRun.com
The 5th Annual Artisan Food Festival is May 26 in Uptown Port Townsend with 70+ local farms, live music, artisan foods, craft beer, cider, wine, and arts and craft vendors including cheese pairings with Mt. Townsend Creamery and Port Townsend Vineyards. Chef demonstrations by Jefferson Healthcare’s Executive Chef, Arran Stark; Finistere’s Executive Chef and Co-owner Deborah Taylor; Jess Rose, Silverwater Café’s Executive Chef; and Denise Joy from Mountain Spirit Herbal Company. For a schedule of events, go to http://jcfmarkets.org/ptaff/.
Save the date for upcoming events in June:
Classic Mariners’ Regatta
Watch beautiful wooden boats and high-caliber sailors racing their hearts out.
Port Townsend Main Street’s Taste of Port townsend
Sample. Sip. Mingle. It’s going to be delicious!
The Brass Screw Confederacy – Steampunk Festival
Join us somewhere between 1891 and a time that yet may be…
June 13 and 14
Pre-Race Ruckus and Race to Alaska
No motor, no support, all the way to Alaska. Watch the race start in Port Townsend!
Centrum’s Chamber Music Series
An afternoon concert by the Pacifica Quartet
June 27, 28 and 29
Centrum’s Voice Works Performances
Vocal Showcase #1 of music and dances, June 27, 7:30 pm
Boogie at the Honky Tonk Polka Dot Dance, June 28, 8 pm
Vocal Showcase #2 of music and dances, June 27, 7:30 pm
We can’t wait to welcome you to Port Townsend this month!
Please join March 23-25, 2018 in Port Townsend, WA for another delightful edition of the Victorian Heritage Festival
A wonderful weekend to celebrate all that is best in the West Coast’s favorite Victorian seaport.
Join us for this year’s theme: Legends of Literature. From Sherlock Holmes to Alice in Wonderland and all points in between, come celebrate the literary adventures of the time and see their real-world origins. For one weekend, among the grand old buildings and croquet lawns, the 1890’s will live again!
Now encompassing even more of the old town area, this year’s festival will feature many new offerings. Watch this space for details and mark your calendar: a grand time for the whole family!
Love is in the air with Valentine’s Day just a few short weeks away. Escape with your sweetheart to Port Townsend for a romantic weekend getaway. We have a wide array of fantastic accommodations to suit your style. Click here for choices and to book your reservation. Many of our restaurants are offering Valentine’s specials too. For more details, contact our Visitor Information Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.385.2722.
Start your romantic celebration with Port Townsend as your home base and fall head over heels with the Olympic Peninsula Wineries and Cideries during their luscious Red Wine, Cider and Chocolate event over two scrumptious weekends: February 10-11 and 17-19, from 11 am to 5 pm. Let your quest for guilty pleasures run wild with the unmatched, extraordinary blends of Washington grapes, apples and pears—paired with decadent chocolates and local culinary fare. Enjoy a romantic drive through the scenic Olympic Peninsula!
The ticket and glass package entitles you to a special commemorative wine glass, complimentary wine/cider tasting and chocolate samples at the nine participating wineries and cideries. Book here for online tickets. www.olympicpeninsulawineries.org/redwinechocolate.php
What better place to celebrate love than Port Townsend? Over the years, our city has received many accolades from the media naming us the “best of….” Most recently, in 2017, we were named by Architectural Digest as “One of the 15 Most Beautiful Main Streets Across America” and MSN named Port Townsend the “Prettiest Town in Washington.”
With that in mind, we welcome you to come downtown and show your love for our fair city by penning a Love Letter to Port Townsend. You can write a poem, a love letter, or simply list the three things you love most about Port Townsend. Select restaurants and coffee shops will have entry forms. Please enter by February 14 to win prizes.
Concierges are ready to assist you!
On Saturdays, Port Townsend have friendly “Celebrity Concierges” roaming Water Street, from 1-3 pm, offering suggestions for things to do and see, giving directions and answering questions. They’ll be providing coupon books and maps to help you get around downtown. Be sure to look for them!
From now through June, the “Believe It or Knot!” game will pique your interest in unbelievable facts (or fiction) about our salty seaport. From the 1890s Victorian seaport to modern day, the past and present of Port Townsend will have you questioning whether you believe it or “knot.”
Hidden throughout downtown are incredible facts (true or false!) about our city. Find 10 of them at participating businesses. Try your hand to see how well you know your facts about Port Townsend by completing the game to be entered in prize drawings–$100 in monthly gift certificates and a chance to win a grand prize of $500 in gift certificates to spend in downtown businesses. And be sure to tag any of your photos on Instagram or Facebook with #ILovePortTownsend!
Key City Playhouse
Key City Public Theatre will kick off its 60th anniversary season with the Northwest Premiere of the critically-acclaimed, one-woman play, “Spirit Awakening,” written, directed and performed by Akuyoe Graham, at the KCPT Playhouse February 9, 10, 16, and 17 at 7 pm with Saturday matinees at 2 pm.
Capturing how Ms. Graham evolved as a human being and performer, an immigrants and a woman, this mythic story is effused with power and strength, sensitivity and emotion as the supremely skilled Graham creates 12 distinct personalities that segue into one another with seamless brilliance as her life takes her from Africa to London to Spanish Harlem and eventually Hollywood. Each step provokes new levels of personal assessment, raising complex questions of split loyalties and the difficulties of rediscovering one’s roots, unimpeded by dogma. One film/theatre critic described her as a “mystic in the theatre, a sage on the screen.”
To purchase tickets, go to www.keycitypublictheatre.org or call 360.385.5278.
The sailboat racing season opens with the 27th Annual Port Townsend Shipwrights’ Regatta on February 24. Boats of all construction are welcome. As always, the race is open to folks who would like to try sailboat racing, but do not have a boat. Non-boat owners are encouraged to show up at the Skippers’ Meeting to be connected with skippers looking for crew.
The regatta is presented by the Northwest Maritime Center and the Port Townsend Sailing Association. www.nwmaritime.org/events/shipwrights-regatta/
Save the date for upcoming events in March and April:
22nd Annual Port Townsend PlayFest
Key City Public Theatre, Port Townsend
This is a theater lover’s feast offering 10 plays over two weekends, including six one-act plays by local writers and three full-length plays by regional and national playwrights.
Victorian Heritage Festival
The theme is Victorian Dreams—from roots as traditional as tea and shortbread to the high-flying speculation of Jules Verne, there will be celebrations about all that was best in the hearts and minds of this time in history. Mark your calendar for a grand time for the entire family!
We look forward to welcoming you to Port Townsend!
Olympic Peninsula Wineries is a collaboration of nine award winning wineries and cideries located in Sequim, Port Angeles, Chimacum, Nordland, and Port Townsend. Our wine trail is one be envied with each location offering a unique and diverse variety of wine & cider, paired lovingly with locally crafted chocolates. See what each winery has planned for you!
Finnriver Farm & Cidery: We seek to delight the senses with tantalizing tastes of our decadent brandywines and our farmcrafted ciders, including a Special Release Winter Ruby cider, with organic cranberry and vanilla spice, and our deeply delicious oak-aged Pommeau. Also enjoy samples of locally crafted truffles featuring Finnriver flavors from Elevated Candy Company and Port Townsend Chocolate Company miniature dark chocolate cups. Enjoy a small sumptuous cup of Elevated’s sipping chocolate to warm the heart, with a splash of our Cacao Brandywine. Crust Pies will bake up their beloved mini pies with chocolate and our Raspberry brandywine. Finnriver offers weekend food carts with crepes and bratwursts (and a special oyster pop-up on 2/17) and live music & dancing too! Live Music schedule
Marrowstone Vineyards: We are releasing two new wines for the event to compliment our existing repertoire. What better time to release these wines, to kick off our new season, and to celebrate this awesome event! The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon everyone has been waiting for is rich and earthy, with strong flavors of Italian plums, and dark cherries. Also the first white wine from the 2017 harvest, Sauvignon Blanc has a delightful honey and almond scent transcending into distinctive flavors of apricot, honeydew, caramel, and green apple.
Each of our wines will be specifically paired with a different flavor chocolate prepared by The Port Townsend Chocolate Company. A lot of time and energy was put into these individual pairings to assure an unforgettable, mind-blowing flavor experience.
Wind Rose Cellars We will be pouring only red wines! We will pair our award winning red wines with locally made chocolates from Yvonne’s Chocolates. We will also have our VIP bar open where tasters can sample additional wines for a nominal fee
Join Wind Rose Cellars for tour after hours both Friday and Saturday nights. We will host local live music in our intimate bistro setting. Show times are 7-9pm with no cover for customers of Wind Rose Cellars. Live Music Schedule.
Camaraderie Cellars: we like to think that red wine and dark chocolate applied internally is just what the doctor orders to sustain your good health. Sips of varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo, as well as Bordeaux-styled blends will certainly fill the bill. Add to that, tasty bittersweet chocolate heart cookies and dark chocolate bark bites. And to highlight savory chocolate, the Cocoa Spiced pulled pork will be back by popular demand. Enjoy tastings in our new Ridge Room. Toasting good health for all! Winemaker Don Corson will offer a tasting of Reserve wines in our barrel room for an additional $10. Great discounts will help add to your cellar.
Olympic Cellars: this year’s Red Wine & Chocolate event will be more luscious than ever. We will feature two new wines, 2014 Carmenere and 2015 Cabernet Franc.
Our brand new 2014 Carmenere – The color of this wine is especially striking. It’s the deepest, richest, bluish-purple color you have ever seen. This wine feels opulent on the pallet. Aromas of plum green peppercorn and raspberry give way to spice, plum, and cocoa with a long lingering finish. It’s delicious, exotic and wholly unlike anything else we’ve produced. Kiona Vineyard. 100 cases produced.
2015 Cabernet Franc – This is our first vintage of Cabernet Franc since 2009. You will love the violet, blackberry, aromatic herbs, and sandalwood aromas combining with soft acidity and ripe tannins. This wine tastes of sun-drenched blackberry, plum and red currant with a wonderfully distinct earthiness. It is exceptionally well-balanced and offers volume, complexity and a long, luxurious finish. Lonesome Spring Vineyard. 100 Cases produced.
Join us in the cellar where nibbles of mild cheeses and decadent spreads will enhance your tasting. Also, ‘We Do Fudge’ of Sequim will be on-site pairing the perfect fudge flavors with our wines.
While visiting the cellar, you can stop by our photo booth or create a message in a bottle for that someone special in your life. We’ll have a station set up for writing a message and corking it in a wine bottle.
Port Townsend Vineyards: Born out of hard work, innovation, and a long term vision for future generations, Port Townsend Vineyards introduces locally produced wine to the city. Our goal is to provide thought-provoking wine for casual enjoyment. We do it by welcoming you into our town and sharing our talents. Come visit us on the RWCC tour and taste a sneak peak of our highly-anticipated Tempranillo Rose! We’ll also be pouring our Sangiovese, Cab Franc, and Syrah, delightfully paired with chocolates from Elevated Candies.
Celebrate the 200th birthday of James Swan, one of Port Townsend’s most colorful and influential early settlers, at the Jefferson County Historical Society on January 11, from 11 am to 4 pm. The new James Swan exhibit will open in the Women’s Jail Cell Gallery at the Jefferson Museum of Art & History, and the publication of Recipes and Recollections of James G. Swan by Steve and Gloria Ricketts will be featured. This includes an assortment of recipes which Swan collected, some from well-known early Port Townsend matrons.
Swan arrived in Port Townsend in 1859, not long after its founding in 1851. Port Townsend was his base, and Swan collected more than recipes. One of his many jobs and interests was compiling the ethnology and collecting artifacts of the Northwest natives for the Smithsonian Institution. In the process, he acquired his own collection of native art. Some of this collection, as well as other possessions of Swan’s, will be part of this new exhibit.
From January through June, play the Port Townsend “Believe or Knot!” Game—a fun excuse to come downtown, pique your interest in unbelievable facts (or fiction!) about the salty seaport of Port Townsend. Complete the game and be entered in prize drawings. For more info, go to www.ptmainstreet.org/i-love-port-townsend/
photo by Kevin Mason
There’s no time for winter blues—bring on the strange brews and plan to attend the 14th Annual Strange Brewfest, Jan. 26-27, boasting wildly inventive, palate-challenging craft brews featuring over 30 breweries and cideries, along with over 60 brews on tap.
Strange Brewfest 14, is the Mount Olympus of beer festivals, as the 14th version of Port Townsend’s ode to Northwest brewers and their imaginations lets you party like Greek Gods and Goddesses!
This iconic festival is an indoor-outdoor event based in downtown Port Townsend at the American Legion Hall in our National Historic Landmark District.
photo by Kevin Mason
Taste is not the only sense that Strange Brewfest 14 will tempt. Be dazzled by the sights and sounds of the weekend with a continuous lineup of rockin’ music. Indulge in the carnival-like atmosphere that this festival is known for and enjoy its tasty food, too.
Admission to Strange Brewfest 14 is $30/person (21+) which gives you a souvenir tasting glass, four tasting tokens and a wristband for both days. Additional tasting tokens are $1.50 each. Make reservations for accommodations soon as Port Townsend gets sold out quickly for this event!
For event details visit www.strangebrewfestpt.com.
Save the date for upcoming events in February and March:
February 10-11 and February 17-19
Red Wine, Cider & Chocolate
11 am to 5 pm, www.olympicpeninsulawineries.org
27th Annual Shipwrights’ Regatta
Key City Public Theatre’s 22nd Annual PT PlayFest
Happy 4th of July