Olympia Harbor Days Festival: Full speed ahead

Proposed by Port of Olympia Days

Oonly to Port of Olympia Days Puget Sound vintage tugs can be found for a climb aboard a show and races. The South Sound Maritime Heritage Association’s free family festival along the boardwalk runs September 2-4, 2022. Plans for the full return of this year’s 49th edition are complete after two years of ‘Lite’ events offered during pandemic shutdowns. Schedules, offers and music lineups are available at HarborDays.com. The hours are Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Olympia Harbor Days is South Sound’s first and largest maritime festival with over 250 things to do and see. Vintage tugs as well as replica tugs of all shapes and sizes can be found including mini tugs, model tugs, sand sculpted tugs, lego tugs and even a chainsaw sculpted tug. Organizers are delighted with the return of 85′ Tug Chippewa, who has been revamped and hasn’t been seen at the festival in over a decade. The high-end creative maker market returns with many new artisans and the Food G’Alley offers a wide assortment of international and seafood delicacies. Two stages offer live music, tribal sharing, maritime presentations, poetry, etc More than 50,000 people are expected. This award-winning event is not to be missed. “49 years and we continue to grow adding exciting new features and city-side activities to the assortment of traditional favourites.” says executive director Carol Riley.

By Sea: Participating tugs will be moored at Percival Landing and are open for viewing from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. The world’s famous and last vintage tug races will take place Sunday from noon in the Budd Inlet shipping channel, but note that you have to be on the water to see them! The Lady Washington, the state tall ship, arrives early Wednesday, August 31st, and the historic Mosquito Fleet steamer Virginia V arrives at the Port Plaza dock on Friday. Both ships offer onboard tours by donation and excursions on Budd Inlet can be secured for a fee, tickets available on the Olympia Harbor Days website. New this year, two Olympia schooners will offer paid charter cruises for up to 6 people each. In addition, a tribal cedar canoe will be on display. More than 25 vessels will be on display, some displayed landside, including the hand-built Wherry longboat that Olympia councilor Dr Lisa Parshley rowed this year in the Seventy/48 race, a 48 hours and 70 miles from Tacoma to Port Townsend.

Overland: Olympia Harbor Days opens with a blessing from the Squaxin Island Tribe, followed by a big show from local rock band Pumphouse on the main stage at Percival Landing with cornhole and giant Jenga on Columbia St where you can also find Lucky Eagle Casino staff smoking salmon cedar planks on an open pit for your dinner. Or head to the Port Plaza Tower Stage to hear folk tunes from Cosmos Dream and relax by the bay at the Northwest Beerwerks Beer/Wine/Cider Garden. The Beer Garden will be offered all weekend at the Port Plaza.

Activities for children abound! A Heritage Bank-sponsored Lego Harbor build where kids create a tugboat, yacht or pirate ship to add to the Washington Lottery Marine Exhibit and Discovery Center with Puget Sound estuarium and touch tank on Sundays are presented at Percival Landing. Kids will love Olympia’s award-winning activity, the Hands On Children’s Museum Rumble Tug activity at Port Plaza as part of ‘Ships of the Harbour’, sponsored by Capital Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. Also find scale models of remote-controlled tugs and sailboats. There is even a treasure chest at the Harbor House for children who come to the festival dressed as pirates or not.

New this year, Olympia’s local boat clubs, including rowing, sailing, dragon boating and kayaking, will feature boats and information on water sports/recreational activities. Coast Salish Tribes will showcase tribal drum making and cultural sharing at Port Plaza. A wide range of music, maritime presentations and poetry are offered on the main and tower stages. The Midway Stage offers something different every day – music, chainsaw carving and a speed sand sculpting contest. Days and times can be found at HarborDays.com

Olympia Harbor Days is now riding the wave into the future with two events presented by Thurston Climate Action Team (TCAT) on Columbia St. Stop by Saturday for Art in Climate Change Action – LoveOly Heart Photo Booth, collaborative art projects and information about the climate change. TCAT returns on Sunday with an electric vehicle auto show, induction cooker demonstrations and solar exhibits. At the dock, be sure to check out a converted electric sailboat.

“Without the support of the community and sponsors, this festival would not have survived the pandemic and could not have come back with so much. A special thank you to everyone,” said Riley.

For the full schedule, festival details or more information, please visit the Olympia Harbor Days website. Although the festival is free, they ask for a suggested donation of $5 per person or $10 per family.