'Dude Looks Like a Lady" fundraiser in Port Townsend tonight
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Steve Spencer, left, and Christian Lundgren perform at last year's benefit in Port Townsend's Elks Lodge. This year's event takes place at the American Legion.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — Every year, Steve Spencer dresses in women's clothes, persuades other men to do the same, and the result is that a few young people get money for college.

Spencer, the organizer of the fourth annual “Dude Looks Like a Lady” fundraiser set for tonight, recruits men to get up and dance in drag and pull in tips that benefit the annual Rhododendron Festival, which is set next week.

For the past few years, the money raised at the event has paid for the scholarships that are awarded to Rhody royalty.

I wouldn't want to do this every day,” Spencer said.

“But this is a lot of fun and is a way to give back to the community.”

After three years at the Elks Club, “Dude Looks Like a Lady” is moving downtown to the American Legion, 209 Monroe St.

It begins at 7 p.m. and requires a $5 admission. Attendees also should bring cash to tip the dancers.

Spencer said the “dudes” pick out their own music, ranging from hip-hop to Spencer's own choice, Toni Basil's 1980s hit “Mickey.”

Aside from Spencer, dancers include Christian Lundgren, Larry Richards, Terry Taylor, David Crozier, Don Fristoe, Mike Amon, Maurice Jackson, Sam Kirk, Brian Miller, Al Ryan, Zach Nesmith and Jason Hollingsworth, who is the only dancer aside from Spencer to appear at all four events.

While each dancer will have his own turn in the spotlight, there will be three choreographed numbers, Spencer said.

Also this weekend is the Rhody Arts and Crafts Fair, set from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on Madison Street in front of City Hall and across Water Street in Pope Marine Park.

And the Rhody float, which is designed to look like Aladdin's lamp, will make its first appearance this year in Saturday's Sequim Irrigation Festival Parade.

The lamp supports this year Rody Festival theme, “I Dream of Rhody.”

This year is the 78th edition of the annual Rhody Fest, a celebration that preserves Port Townsend's small-town flair and rallies the community around a single event, according to Rhody Past President Melanie Bozak.

“This gives us a sense of family,” said Bozak, who is Spencer's mother-in-law.

“It allows a sense of community to continue.”

This year, five young women applied to become Rhody Royalty — an increase from past years — and three were crowned in March.

Crowned queen was Emma White Thunder, 17, a Chimacum High School senior.

Corinthia Cardona, also a 17-year-old Chimacum High School senior, and Kaila Olin, 17, a Port Townsend High School senior, are the princesses.

Megan Walsh, a 16-year-old Port Townsend High School junior, originally was crowned princess but had to resign for personal reasons, Bozak said.

The queen received a $1,500 scholarship. Princesses were each awarded $1,000 scholarships.

The three will put their hands in concrete to leave royalty handprints at the Centennial Rhododendron Garden at Fort Worden State Park at 4:30 p.m. Monday.

The main event of the festival will be the Grand Parade, which will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 18, in front of the Port Townsend Library's Carnegie building.

It will wind down Lawrence and Adams streets before ending downtown.

The parade will be followed by a new event this year, a Cake Picnic at Pope Marine Park, with free cake and refreshments supplied by BoomFest at the parade finish line.

Other festival events include:

-- Trike Races beginning at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Pope Marine Park.

-- Pet Parade at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, beginning at Van Buren and Lawrence streets in the Uptown District.

-- Funtastic Carnival, set from 4 p.m. to closing Thursday and from noon to closing Friday and Saturday at Memorial Field.

-- Bed Races, 5 p.m. Friday, May 17, at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St.

-- Hair and Beard Contest, 5 p.m. May 17, Northwest Maritime Center.

-- American Legion Fish Fry, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. May 17, 209 Monroe St.

-- Elks Rhody Fundraiser Pancake Breakfast, 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, May 19, at the Elks Lodge, 555 Otto St.

-- Jim Caldwell Memorial Rhody Open, 8 a.m. May 18 and 9 p.m. May 19 at the Port Townsend Golf Course, 1948 Blaine St.

-- Spaghetti Feed, 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. May 18 at the Elks Lodge.

-- Rhody Run Race, 11 a.m. May 19 at Fort Worden State Park.

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 11. 2013 7:16AM
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