Port Townsend is sparkling in the spring sunshine with flowers abloom in all corners of town. This month the star of the show is the Rhododendron, Washington State’s official flower and an icon for Port Townsend. Rhodies are the centerpiece for the 81st Annual Rhody Festival with events and fun for the whole family, including your pet! Mark your calendars to join us May 16-22.

2016 Rhody Fest

But that’s not all that’s coming your way in May. Read on to learn about additional exciting events for you to enjoy in Port Townsend!

Art Wave, May 1-31

You’ll be inspired by this exhibit of over 400 pieces of children’s artwork displayed in 33 businesses in Uptown and Downtown, created by grades K-12 in the Port Townsend School District. Come to the historic districts for Art Walk on Saturday, May 7, from 5-8pm and see the creativity of our children. Sponsored by the Port Townsend Main Street Program. www.PTMainStreet.org

Art Wave

Opening Day on the Bay, Saturday, May 7

Opening Day of the 2016 boating season is cause for celebration as the Port Townsend Yacht Club invites the public to view the waterfront parade. Watch the boats sail by from the Northwest Maritime Center Pier, Pope Marine Park or any other convenient location along Water Street. The parade will begin after the departure of the 12:30pm ferry to Coupeville. Following the parade, there will be the traditional Blessing of the Fleet. www.PTYC.net. Boat US is celebrating their 50th anniversary at the Northwest Maritime Center, providing music by Lobo de Mar, hors d’oeuvres and prizes.

Opening day of boating season

Mother’s Day Brunch, Sunday, May 8 at Fort Worden

Pamper Mom with brunch from 10am to 2pm at Fort Worden, surrounded by natural beauty and historic charm. Dine on the freshest, most decadent items that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. After brunch, take a stroll through the Centennial Rhododendron Garden. Call for reservations at 360.344.4400, ext. 514. www.FortWorden.org

Mother's Day Brunch at Fort Worden

81st Annual Rhododendron Festival, May 16-22

Make plans to join us for any and all of these events for our Port Townsend “community holiday” celebration:

Wednesday, May 18
6pm Trike Race begins

Thursday, May 19
4:-5pm Pet Parade begins

Friday, May 20
3:30pm Kiddie Parade begins and the Funtastic Carnival opens at Memorial Field
6:30pm Bed Races begin

Saturday, May 21
1pm The Rockin’ Rhody Grand Parade begins with a Cake Picnic to follow

Sunday, May 22
Jefferson Healthcare Rhody Run XXXVIII
9:30am Kid’s Sprint at Fort Worden
11am 12K Race Start at Fort Worden

Leftover Dreams Brings Gems of the Great American Songbook to Key City Public Theatre, May 20

San Francisco Bay Area duo Leftover Dreams explores the back roads of American popular song in the first summer concert of the year at Key City Public Theatre (KCPT), produced by Toolshed Soundlab. Patrice Haan and Tony Marcus sing gems of the great American songbook with stunning harmonies and burnished accompaniment.

Leftover Dreams

The duo presents a sampling of the best of the classic songs of Duke Ellington, Rodgers & Hart, the Gershwins, and Harold Arlen, mixed with lesser-known delights like Bernice Petkere, Ted Fiorito, and Ben Oakland that haven’t seen the light of day for decades. The concert begins at 8pm at the KCPT Playhouse. Go towww.keycitypublictheatre.org for tickets.

Artisan Food Festival, May 28

Celebrating the Olympic Peninsula’s artisan foods and makers, the 3rd Annual Artisan Food Festival will begin at the Port Townsend Farmers Market from 9am to 3pm and resume at Finnriver Cidery’s new Orchard location at 124 Center Rd. in Chimacum from 6-9pm.

Port Townsend Artisan Food Festival

The day will include artisan food making classes by CedarRoot Folk School; chef demos by Arran Stark, Sidonie Maroon, Laurette Feit and Dan Ratigan; artisan food juggling; live music by the Unexpected Brass Band and Rhythm Planet; and kids activities by the YMCA and the Port Townsend Public Library.

In the evening at Finnriver Cidery, Joy in Mudville will play live music plus Dented Buoy Pizza and the Paella House will be serving up farm-fresh food. There’s a suggested donation of $5 for the evening.http://jeffersoncountyfarmersmarket.org/celebrate/artisanfoodfestival/

Port Townsend Named Best Coastal Small Town 2016 in USA TODAY’S Reader Choice Awards

We’re quite thrilled with this nationwide recognition by all of you who voted for us! We came in #7 out of 20 nominees and the one on the West Coast in the top 10. Thank you for your vote and acknowledging our beautiful coastal small town!

Port Townsend-Coupeville Ferry Service in May

Please note if you’re traveling via Washington State Ferries between Coupeville and Port Townsend this month, there will continue to be one boat ferry service through May 25, with a second boat coming online May 26. Reservations can be made and are always encouraged. Go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/takeaferry/.

Save the date for upcoming events in June:

June 3-5, 2016
Wooden Boat Foundation’s Classic Mariners’ Regatta

June 9, 2016
Port Townsend Main Street Program’s “Taste of Port Townsend”

June 10-12, 2016
5th Annual Brass Screw Confederacy, a Steampunk Hootenanny

June 23, 2016
Race to Alaska

June 28-July 3, 2016
Centrum’s Voice Works

We look forward to you coming our way in May!

Spring is beckoning hibernating homebodies to come out and play, to breathe the warmer, fragrant air, and relish longer days. So pack your bags and come to Port Townsend for a springtime stay!

Port Townsend Farmers Market

The 24th season of the Port Townsend Farmers Market opens April 2, 2016 at 9 am for a ribbon cutting by Port Townsend Mayor, Deborah Stinson, and Washington State Department of Agriculture Director, Derek Sandison.

Mr. Sandison will offer opening remarks followed by the annual goat parade through the market with adult and baby goats from Harmony’s Way Farm. The parade will include kids (both four-legged and two-legged) with their parents, and of course shoppers, all strolling through the market. Enjoy live music by Kristen and Otto Smith. Arran Stark from Jefferson Healthcare will provide a lively chef demo from 11 am to noon and the Port Townsend Public Library will host story time for kids of all ages starting at 10:30 am at the market.

The Port Townsend Farmers Market is open Saturdays from 9am to 2pm, located Uptown on Tyler St. between Lawrence and Clay. For more info, go to www.jcfmarkets.org.
Vote for Port Townsend

Port Townsend has been nominated in USA TODAY’s latest 10Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest! Their expert panel selected Port Townsend as a contender for Best Coastal Small Town 2016, which launched earlier this week. The contest gives voters four weeks to vote for the candidate/town of their choice athttp://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-coastal-small-town-2016/port-townsend-wash/. You can vote once a day for the run of the contest.

Voting ends Monday, April 25, 2016 at 11:59 am EDT and the winners will be announced on 10Best on Friday, April 29, 2016 at 12:00 pm EDT, then later on USA TODAY. So, if you love Port Townsend–and we certainly hope you do!–please vote for us every day! Thank you.

Key City Public Theatre presents PT Shorts Goes to China, Saturday, April 2, 2016 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, April 3 at 5:30 pm at Northwind Arts Center, 701 Water St. Stories by Yiyun Li take the armchair traveler and historian to China as Key City Public Theatre’s next PT Shorts program presents readings from Li’s books A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and Gold Boy, Emerald Girl.

Key City Public Theatre

Thelma and Louise meets The First Wives Club in Women In Jeopardy!, Wendy MacLeod’s fun and flirtatious new comedy opening at Key City Public Theatre on Friday, April 8, 2016 at 7:30 pm and running through May 1. Divorcees Mary and Jo are suspicious of their friend Liz’s new dentist boyfriend. He’s not just a weirdo; he may be a serial killer! After all, his hygienist just disappeared. Trading their wine glasses for spyglasses, imaginations run wild as the ladies try to discover the truth and save their friend in a hilarious off-road adventure.

Fresh off its 2015 World Premiere at the Geva Theater in Rochester, NY, Women In Jeopardy! “could be titled ‘Audience in Stitches’,” said Jack Garner of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, who added, “It’s one of the funniest nights of theatre I can recall.” Playwright Wendy MacLeod is known for her sidesplitting punch lines and comedic depth, and Women In Jeopardy! pokes fun at charity runs and outdoor enthusiasts, including a slacker snowboarder who wants to catch a “cougar.”

Visit www.keycitypublictheatre.org for more information and to book tickets.

PTFF Women and Film

The Port Townsend Film Festival presents Women & Film, Saturday and Sunday, April 9-10, 2016. Pass holders choose two feature films a day that will screen at the Rose and Rosebud Theatres. Passholders also attend a special screening of acclaimed cinematographer Kirsten Johnson’s “Cameraperson.” Her screening is followed by a roundtable discussion of filmmaking, moderated by human rights poet Susan Rich.

Attending filmmakers include: Doria Bramante with her six-year-project, “The Refugees of Shangri-La” and Varda Bar-Kar with her funny documentary about a perfectionist high school choir director, “Big Voice.” Michelle Steffes will attend with her narrative film, “Driftwood,” about the search for love. Sara Hirsch Bordo attends with her film, “A Brave Heart, the Lizzie Velasquez Story.” Joining the panel is up-and-coming actress, Diana Elizabeth Torres, with her film “East Side Sushi.”

For a full list of films, schedule and to buy passes, see www.ptfilmfest.com or call 360-379-1333.

Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas

Centrum brings master Scottish fiddler Alasdair Fraser with cellist Natalie Haas to Port Townsend on April 17, 2016 at 3:30 pm in the Wheeler Theater at Fort Worden. Fraser is known as a consummate performer. His dynamic fiddling, engaging stage presence, and deep understanding of Scotland’s music have created a constant and international demand for his solo appearances and concerts with a variety of ensembles. Haas is a graduate of the Julliard School and has toured and recorded extensively with Fraser. She has appeared on more than 50 albums.

Concert goers can expect to be transported across a broad musical spectrum, ranging from haunting laments from the Gaelic tradition to classically-styled airs, raucous dance tunes and improvisations based on traditional themes.

For more information, and to purchase tickets (which will go fast!), go towww.centrum.org or call 800.746.1982.

AAUW Kitchen Tour

The American Association of University Women and University Women’s Foundation (AAUW/UWF) sponsors the 19th Annual Kitchen Tour, Saturday, April 30, 2016, from 10 am to 4 pm, showcasing eight kitchens that range from ultra-contemporary to cottage cozy. The kitchens’ quality reflects extensive collaboration with area architects, designers and craftspeople.

The self-guided tour begins at the Hospitality Center at 1111 Franklin St. where tickets can be purchased for $20. This is a great opportunity to explore Victorian Port Townsend and support AAUW’s funding of scholarships and education programs. For more information, go to www.aauwpt.org or access “Port Townsend Kitchen Tour” on Facebook.

Save the date for upcoming events in May:

May 8, 2016

May 16-21, 2016

May 22, 2016

May 28, 2016

We look forward to seeing you in Port Townsend in April!

Five outstanding directors and a leading actress are attending, and will be on stage for Q&A.

“Women & Film,” the Port Townsend Film Festival’s annual Focus event, will be held Sat. and Sun., April 9-10. Eight feature films will screen during the day at the Rose and Rosebud Theatres, with a special event for all pass holders on Saturday night. Passes are on sale now.

“Until Hollywood recognizes the significant work of women film professionals, we’ll be showcasing their work in this festival,” said Janette Force, PTFF executive director. She spent three months curating films to select the final roster of films, two of the directly from Sundance 2016.

The Saturday night special event is a screening of lauded cinematographer Kirsten Johnson’s “Cameraperson.” Johnson, whose work has taken her to Bosnia, Nigeria and Iraq, has made “a bold documentary that is both a transcendent overview of her professional life and a probing look into her own personal experiences….The way individuals, and societies, grapple with memories both buried and lost, stands at the heart of “Cameraperson”…(Johnson’s) ultimate role is not only that of the silent witness, but also the engaged participant and empathetic autobiographer,” says Variety.

A filmmakers’ roundtable follows moderated by human rights poet and film scholar, Susan Rich.  Saturday night’s event will take place at the Wheeler Theatre, Fort Worden. Doors open at 6 p.m., screening begins at 7 p.m.

Avril Speaks, with over 18 years as a filmmaker, producer, director, writer and editor, joins us for the roundtable. After receiving her Masters degree in film directing from Columbia University, she was a full time professor at Howard University, Washington DC. She currently teaches film at California’s Azusa Pacific University and at Greenway Arts Alliance. She is the director of two award-winning feature films and has worked in development for Focus Features.

Other attending filmmakers who will be available for Q&A after their screenings and part of the roundtable discussion are Doria Bramante with her six-year-project, “The Refugees of Shangri-La” and Varda Bar-Kar with her funny documentary about a perfectionist high school choir director, “Big Voice.” Michelle Steffes will attend with her narrative film, “Driftwood,” about the search for love. Sara Hirsch Bordo attends with her film, “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story.” Joining the panel is up-and-coming actress, Diana Elizabeth Torres, with her film “East Side Sushi.” Torres was recipient of Mexico’s Celebrity Centre International Award for improving the arts in Latin American culture.

Passes are $75 each, include concierge service and give you the choice of four films. Several films include shorts. All passes include Saturday night’s special event at the Wheeler Theatre. For a schedule, film synopsis, filmmakers’ bios, and to buy passes, see www.ptfilmfest.com or call 360-379-1333.