Spring Splash: Activities celebrate port history, boating season and other island stuff

Spring Splash at Spring Street Landing, celebrating the Port of Friday Harbor
Spring Splash at Spring Street Landing, celebrating the Port of Friday Harbor's 60th anniversary, begins April 27 and leads a week of activities.
— image credit: Page designed by Rebecca Cook

Next week’s kickoff event is being called “Spring Splash.” All we can say is, get ready to get drenched in fun.

Besides the Port of Friday Harbor’s 60th anniversary celebration, highlights of the week include tall ship visits April 27-28, Leon Redbone in concert May 1 at the San Juan Community Theatre, and the Opening Day Boat Parade at the port May 2.

“For me, the celebration is not about the number ‘60,’ ” Port Commission President Barbara Marrett said. “It’s about letting people know what the port has done and can do for the community. It’s really, for me, a creative force in the community. We have the latitude to do economic development, while being very sensitive to the direction the community wants to go.”

April 27-28
The Port of Friday Harbor kicks off the week of spring activities April 27 with its Spring Splash at Spring Street Landing, celebrating its 60th anniversary and coinciding with the beginning of boating season.

The tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain will be at Spring Street Landing from 4-8 p.m. on April 27-28. There will be boat rides, children’s games, a dunk tank, floatplane rides, food, live music, pirates, radio-controlled boats, tall ship tours, and a treasure hunt.

Island rocker Devorah performs April 27; the Cutthroat Pirates will entertain on April 27 and 28.

May 1
The Sustainable Living Fair, a countywide event, takes place all day at the Village Green in Eastsound, and will share the green with the first Orcas Island Farmers Market of the season.

The fair will have live music, speakers, and displays by businesses and organizations committed to creating a more environmentally and economically sustainable San Juan Islands. The 2010 Good Steward Awards, also known as the “Finnies,” will be awarded; the awards are handcrafted stoneware salmon by Crow Valley Pottery.

The fair concludes with field trips May 2. The fair is presented by the Stewardship Network of the San Juans and Sustainable Orcas Island. 

Back on San Juan Island, Island Rec’s 20th annual San Juan Island Children’s Festival takes place all day at the San Juan County Fairgrounds.

In keeping with this year’s theme, “2010 Space Odyssey,” the Pacific Science Center will have a space exhibit with more than 20 hands-on activities. More than 30 community groups will provide educational and fun activities for children of all ages. Entertainment includes Chocolate Moose Puppet Theatre, San Juan Island’s Ballet de Folklorico, and local youth bands. 

The OPALCO annual meeting and Board of Directors election may not compare on the fun meter with the Children’s Festival, but consider this: You get a free boat ride, catered breakfast, a $5 credit on your next utility bill, a free gift, and a chance to win art and merchandise from local businesses, camping and sporting equipment, garden and power tools, gift certificates, kitchen appliances, and OPALCO bill credits.

And you can make your voice heard in how the electric utility is managed. You can talk to local decision-makers. And you can vote for directors of the utility. This year, positions representing District 3 (Center, Charles, Decatur and Lopez islands) and District 4 (Shaw, Bell, Canoe, Crane and Shaw islands) are up for election.

District 3 candidates are incumbents Jim Lett and Bob Myhr. District 4 candidates are nominee John Ashenhurst and incumbent John Bogert. Candidate bios are available at OPALCO directors serve three-year terms and are elected by all OPALCO members, regardless of their home district.

OPALCO members from San Juan Island will need to arrive at Spring Street Landing at 6:45 a.m. to register for the meeting and board a charter vessel (call 376-3549 to reserve a spot). For the full travel schedule, visit

If you still have some energy left — and can get a ticket — Leon Redbone performs at San Juan Community Theatre at 7:30 p.m.

Redbone — known for his acoustic guitar mastery, bluesy baritone and iconic fedora and white suit — has a musical repertoire that ranges from Bob Dylan’s “Living the Blues,” to Jelly Roll Martin’s “I Hate a Man Like You,” to Eddie Arnold’s “Bouquet of Roses.”  

Redbone first captivated a national audience on “Saturday Night Live” in 1976 when he performed “Walking Stick.”

“Leon Redbone’s act is no longer a novelty, it’s a distinctive, warmly welcome persona that stands out on the musical landscape,” The Washington Post wrote of him.  

The Redbone concert was sold out by April 9; try your luck and get on the waiting list or try to find a scalper.

“While we are sold out, we might have tickets open up the night of the concert from people who decide they can’t come,” SJCT marketing director Jan Bollwinkel-Smith said. “The theater will be taking a waiting list for tickets at 6:30 p.m. on May 1 at the box office. Folks may put their name down on the list and return at 7:15 when the box office staff will announce what seats are available.”

May 2
The Opening Day Boat Parade begins at 2 p.m., sponsored by the San Juan Island Yacht Club.

This year’s parade has a rock ’n’ roll theme. Past Commodore Gordon Steele will be grand marshal. “Sea Dog,” piloted by Les and Betsy Gunther, will be the lead boat.

The parade of boats will pass before the review boats berthed at dock D.

Awards will be given for rock ’n’ roll-themed boats and other categories. The Friday Harbor fire boat “Confidence” will participate, with water guns spraying, as will the sheriff’s boat “Guardian.”

Viewing is recommended from Spring Street Landing.

Spring Splash at Spring Street Landing resumes with boat rides, children’s games, a dunk tank, floatplane rides, food, live music, pirates, radio-controlled boats, and a treasure hunt. Mike Adams and Mike Leytze — the Duotones — will perform. The Cutthroats will entertain again too.

* * *

The Port of Friday Harbor will continue its 60th anniversary celebration with other events later in the year. The port will host a community picnic at Jackson’s Beach June 26. Friday Harbor Airport will host a fly-in July 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Coincidentally, this year is the 100th anniversary of Jensen’s Shipyard; the late Nourdine Jensen (1914-2009) was one of the port district’s first and longest-serving port commissioners. The shipyard is planning a public celebration Sept. 18, noon to 4 p.m.

“We’re hoping to invite back Jensen-built boats,” said granddaughter Alisa Schoultz, the shipyard's operations manager.

The Journal will publish a special section devoted to 60 years of port district history on April 28. The section will include a calendar of celebration-related events.

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