Thousands flock to expanded Port Ludlow Festival by the Bay
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Riley Stolz, 4, of Knoxville, Tenn., smiles down at her parents and grandparents from atop a military vehicle at the Festival by the Bay in Port Ludlow on Saturday. She and her brother, Jamin, 7, were given an exclusive tour by Marine Lance Cpl. Kyle Winchell, whose khaki cap is poking up just behind Riley. -- Photo by Philip L. Watness/for Peninsula Daily News
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Julie Fritts of Poulsbo, left, expresses her appreciation to Festival by the Bay volunteer Ruth Anne Hansen of Port Ludlow for having watched her booth Saturday. That was one of many services volunteers provided at the fest. -- Photo by Philip L. Watness/for Peninsula Daily News
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Hula dancers, from left, Ella Davis, 8, of Port Townsend, and Tenichi Gordon, 6, and Therese Gordon, 9, of Poulsbo, have different responses to their performance Saturday at the Festival by the Bay in Port Ludlow, but the crowd certainly appreciated their performance. Behind them are Erma and Mike Kuenzli, members of the Hawaiian music band Naki‘i from Sequim. -- Photo by Philip L. Watness/for Peninsula Daily News

By Philip L. Watness
For Peninsula Daily News

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PORT LUDLOW — Because of the fun, the sun, the songs, the friends, the family, the place, the life, there was no better place to be for the thousands of residents and visitors who participated in the Festival by the Bay over the weekend.

Festival-goers at the three-day festival, which ran from Friday through Sunday, expressed appreciation for the various foods by restaurateurs as well as for the goods of crafts vendors.

They watched appreciatively as the Coast Guard demonstrated its sea-to-air rescue techniques.

They watched and listened attentively to hula dancers as well as big bands.

The festival once known as Port Ludlow Days was expanded this year into an event that “brings Port Ludlow into the greater community,” according to chairman Robert Olybrych.

As part of that expansion, last year, organizers decided to become a nonprofit organization that could donate proceeds to help programs in Jefferson County.

The festival appeared likely to provide plenty of donations to this year's chosen beneficiaries — Chimacum Schools Foundation and Olympic Community Action Programs, better known as OlyCAP.

Spirit of giving

That spirit of giving seemed everywhere Saturday.

The organizers fed breakfast Saturday to the seven members of U.S. Marine Corps Security Force Battalion out of Bangor.

They were on duty with their Humvee and Bear Cat and also had graciously provided security overnight.

Other volunteers circulated the booths to assist them with most any need from watching their goods for a few minutes to bringing them food.

One vendor said she helped another vendor set up her new tent.

It was that kind of festival. Something for everyone and everyone having a good time.

Festival volunteer Gene Carmody said the attendance appeared to grow ever stronger as more people came to taste the food, listen to the music, buy the wares and meet their friends.

“This far exceeds what it's been for many years,” he said.

Exceptional food

The food was exceptional, said two craftspeople selling wares.

Boyd Bakken of Tahuya, said he had one of the best oyster and clam linguine meals he had ever had, while Bridget Hunt of Port Townsend said the pulled pork was the best.

“And I'm from Augusta, Ga.,” she added.

Music, golf tournaments, tennis matches, art displays, a car show, a biplane flyover, a sailing regatta and lots of live music kept festival-goers entertained for $7 each at the gate.

The families, friends, residents and visitors at the festival Saturday enjoyed the Na Hula O Kauhale No Nahele Kai and Naki‘i hula dancers telling tales of love and loss through dance, the Port Townsend Summer Band playing a medley of Rodgers and Hammerstein show tunes, and, headlining Saturday night, the Freddy Pink Band led by Cape George resident Gordon Yancey.

Changes this year

The festival this year offered more area for food booths, the addition of a second stage and other changes.

Bakken said he liked it better last year, admitting being selfish, because the performance stage was right next to his booth then.

But the impressive volume of shoppers to his and his wife Joanie's Tahuya River Woodworks booth helped dim his disappointment.

Those perusing her wares were so eager Friday, said Hunt, the Port Townsend jewelry maker, that she sold items as she unpacked them.

“I sold a piece at 1:30 p.m. yesterday, long before they opened,” she said Saturday.

Hunt said she also was impressed by the volunteer effort to help vendors.

Carmody said good weather helped attendance.

“Great advertising through our local papers and all the pieces have fit together well.”


Philip L. Watness is a freelance writer and photographer who is leaving Port Townsend to become the editor and reporter for the Skamania County Pioneer in Stevenson,Wash. He can be reached at

Last modified: July 31. 2011 10:02PM
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