Blue Gull Inn

May 2016 Events – Port Townsend, WA

March 1st, 2016 by bluegullinn

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day

May 2016 Events – Port Townsend, WA

Rhody Festival

Coming Your Way in May—Rhodies and Races, Food and Fun!

May Events 2016 - Port Townsend, WA

May 2016 Events – Port Townsend, WA

Rhody Festival is our unofficial kick off to Summer!


May 2016 Events – Port Townsend, WA. In 1935, Clive Buttermere, a local businessman, convinced the Hearst
Metrotone News organization to come to Jefferson County and film the
rhododendrons in bloom. Hearst provided “short subjects”‘ to theaters throughout the
United States, and visited Jefferson County in that year to photograph the wild
rhododendrons. As a prelude to Hearst’s arrival, Mr. 8uttermere and the business
community organized a Queen competition so that there could be a group of young
women photographed with the rhododendrons. Nominations were made and the
community could vote on their favorite by shopping at participating merchants.
Dollars spent equaled votes. Myrtle Olsen was voted the first Rhododendron Queen and
filmed by Hearst.


The American Legion, having witnessed the enthusiasm of the community and
the festival spirit that was created, decided to make the celebration of the beauty of the
rhododendrons in bloom an annual event. In 1936 the first Rhododendron Festival
took Place. Royalty was chosen in the same manner and this process of selection
continued for several years. The first festival in 1936 was a one day event with a
parade. As the years progressed more events were added and the length of the
Festival grew. (Visit the Jefferson County Historical Society to see the old brochures)
The Festival was suspended during World War II (1942-45), and resumed in 1946.


The Chamber of Commerce took over the festival leadership in the early 1950’s
and more events were added until it grew to be a week-long celebration. Each year
brought different events: fat man’s race, boat race, golf tournament, baseball
tournament, air show, cow chip throwing contest, bed race, trike race, beard growing
contest, car show, kids’ parade, Queen’s Ball, and more. For many years, the
candidate who sold the most buttons was chosen Queen. During the early festivals,
the publicity tour only included members of Royalty, rather than candidates.


In the 1980’s the festival became a non-profit corporation and not affiliated with
any one group in the County. Volunteers chair the festival as well as serve as board
members. Royalty are provided scholarships from the association to pursue their
education. Button sales and contributions from community members and
businesses fund the festival. The annual budget is spent on candidates’ expenses,
Royalty expenses, float building and maintenance, travel expenses of the float crew
and Royalty to between 10 and 15 parades per year. The travel to other communities
is not only fun, but is a way of promoting Port Townsend and Jefferson County.


1 Art Wave Begins – Childrens’ Art in Stores

1 Opening Day of Boating Season

7 Art Walk – 5.30 p.m. – 8 p.m

7 Wearable Art Show

4 Walk a Mile In Her Shoes

11-15 Centrum Kitchen Culture

16-22 81 st Annual Rhododendron Festival

16 Rhody Royalty Handprints

18 Wooden Boat Wednesday

18 Rhody Trike Race

19 Rhody pet parade and Carnival

20 Rhody kiddies Parade, Bed Races, Hair and Beard contest

21 Rhody Festival – Grand Parade

22 38th Annual Rhody Run

29 Tractor Days – Nordland General Store

30 PT Summer Band, American Legion, 11:30am

29-J 4 Port Townsend Chamber Music Festival

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