As April showers turn into May flowers, one in particular takes center stage in Port Townsend—the rhododendron. Celebrating its 79th year, the Rhody Fest, as it’s fondly called by PT locals, features Washington’s official state flower with events and fun for the whole family…even your pet! Mark your calendars to join us May 14 through 18, 2014.
Dozens of volunteers start planning months in advance, including selecting a theme for the festival. In the spirit of the Roaring ‘20s, this year’s theme is “Roaring Rhody.” Ideas buzz around about what the official float should look like and who’s going to build it.Did you know the float and the Rhody Royalty travel across the state from now through October representing Port Townsend?
They make us very proud.
In January, the selection of the royal court begins, culminating with the coronation in mid-March. Meet Queen Addison Richert, Princesses Lane Hill, Kaycee McGuire and Prince Shiloh Lanphear-Ramirez. Queen Addison will receive a $1,500 scholarship, and the princesses and prince will receive $1,000 each.
The volunteers aren’t the only ones getting set for Rhody, participants in the parades are preparing floats, costumes, music and choreography. The festival features a grand parade through the streets of Port Townsend, as well as a trike race, bed race, kiddies parade, pet parade, carnival, golf tournament and the Rhody Run.
As preparations get closer to the big event, you’ll see locals place their lawn chairs along the parade route ensuring a front row seat for the grand parade on Saturday, May 17. An entry of a lawn chair drill team is a local favorite.
So you can make plans to join us, here is a schedule of events for our Port Townsend “community holiday” celebration:
Wednesday, May 14
- 6 p.m. Trike Race begins
Thursday, May 15
- 4:30 p.m. Pet Parade begins and the Funtastic Carnival opens at Memorial Field
Friday, May 16
- 3:30 p.m. Kiddies Parade begins with the Navy Band NW Concert to follow
- 5:30 p.m. Hair and Beard Contest
- 6:30 p.m. Bed Races begin
Saturday, May 17
- 1 p.m. Rhody Festival Grand
Parade with a Cake Pand Parade with a Cake Picnic to follow
Sunday, May 18
- 11 a.m. Rhody Run XXXVI begins