Shaking their moneymakers to help Rhody Royalty
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Linda Sutton
Steve Spencer and Christian Lundgren perform at the Rhododendron Royalty Scholarship Benefit at the Elks Lodge in Port Townsend.

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — A dozen men strutted their stuff in ladies' fashions Saturday, raising hoots, hollers and $2,500 — and the Port Townsend Rhody Festival is just heating up.

The “Dude Looks Like a Lady” event featured 12 “dudes” who, with the assistance of wives or girlfriends and some liquid courage, had money stuffed down their bras and a few other places as they strutted, pranced and danced down the catwalk set up at the Elks Lodge.

While the participation, audience and earnings were down from last year, the event earned enough to fund this year's Port Townsend Rhody Royalty scholarships, said Melanie Bozak, co-president of the Rhododendron Festival Association.

Rhody Queen Briel Kilhan will receive a $1,500 scholarship, and Princess Krista Hathaway will get $1,000.

Last year, there were some 20 participants, including firefighters and others who brought in a lot of friends who wanted to see them in full drag, said Christy Spencer, organizer of the event.

That event raised more than $5,000 for scholarships, Spencer said.

This year, there were fewer dudes but still plenty of spirit. “We had a good group of guys. They were helpful and supportive of each other,” she said.

Entrant Steve Spencer earned the most money, taking first prize in the contest and a trophy.

Don Fristoe won “Miss Popularity,” but he may have created an unfair advantage by including “purse dog,” Millie, as part of his entry, said Bozak.

Kevin James was named “Biggest Diva”; Jason Hollingsworth had the best catwalk strut; and Ramon Dailey earned the title of “Hot Mess,” Spencer said.

There was also a new fundraiser at the event — a dessert auction.

Bozak said the auction was very successful, and delicious, with desserts created by local bakeries and by individual donors.

The kids' parade has been moved, lengthened and will have a special surprise guest performer, Bozak said.

The U.S. Navy's ceremonial band, stationed in Bremerton, contacted the festival to offer an unscheduled performance, she said.

The band will lead the kids parade, then perform a 45-minute concert at Pope Park at the conclusion.

The Kiddie Parade will be stage at Aldrich's, 490 Laurence St.

The new parade route will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Laurence Street at Tyler Street, turn right at Monroe Street, then continue to Water Street and conclude at Pope Park, Bozak said.

A Pet Parade will be held 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

The Grand Parade will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday.

A full schedule of events can be viewed at


Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at

Last modified: May 13. 2012 5:55PM
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