The 3rd annual "Old School" 4th of July is almost here! Amp up the holiday by coming to the one of the biggest and best parties in Jefferson County. Featuring live entertainment, food vendors, a beer garden, hot air balloons, field games, free root beer floats, miniature golf, a watermelon eating competition, tug of war, and culminating in a dazzling fireworks display, the "Old School" 4th has something for everyone.
The free and open "Old School" 4th of July booms with local traditions. Made possible by the leadership and vision of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Thunderbull Productions, this event is homegrown and community oriented. Many community sponsors, partners, vendors, and volunteers contribute to the event's success.
"This party is epic." Says Daniel Milholland, coordinator for Thunderbull Productions and the 4th of July bash, "The community pulls together, plays together, and celebrates together in this amazing event."
The City of Port Townsend, Fort Worden Public Development Authority, East Jefferson Fire and Rescue, Washington State Parks and the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department all collaborate on event safety and logistics. 1st Security Bank and Wilder Auto are the presenting sponsors of the Firework display. Many other contributions and collaborations weave together this incredible display of community celebration.
Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce is still looking for sponsors and individuals to help cover the remaining cost of fireworks as well as event coordination, porta potties, music, marketing, insurance and miscellaneous event expenses. "We want to keep this event free and accessible to the community," says Teresa Verraes director of the Chamber of Commerce. "This is the final push, and if we can't make our budget this year, we will not be able to sustain this tradition."
The 4th of July is by far the busiest day of the year for Fort Worden State Park. In addition to the "Old School" 4th, Centrum is hosting their 40th Annual Festival of American Fiddle Tunes and is presenting two performance at McCurdy Pavilion on Tuesday July 4th. "Fiddles on the Fourth" starts at 1:30pm and "Fiddles and Fireworks" starts at 7pm. Both performances take place at the historic McCurdy Pavilion and feature world class musicians. More information at centrum.org.
There are many fun and exciting group activities at the "Old School" 4th, as well as open space to play, socialize and create new stories. Scheduled activities include:
1000 Free Root Beer Floats - 5pm
Free Root Beer Floats will be served to the first 1,000 people that jump to the occasion. This tradition is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club, Elevated Ice Cream, and the Port Townsend Food Coop. In 2016, all root beer floats were served in under an hour, so get them while supplies last.
Mini golf 4pm - 10pm
Jonathan Bakin is back again with his Mini Golf course, featuring a wide variety of homemade props and obstacles for adults and kids alike!
Photo Booth 4pm - 10pm
For a small fee, the Amazing Time Stopping Contraption stops time dead in its tracks, allowing you to hold the moment forever....or as long as you have your photo strip! The Contraption is Velvet Revolution's functional and fun interpretation of the ever popular photo booth.
Hot Air Balloons! 4pm - 7pm
Third generation hot air balloonist and owner of Morning Star Balloon Co., Captain Crystal Stout will have one or two balloons going up for viewing between 4pm and 7pm. Unfortunately, no rides can be offered.
The Tug of War 6pm
The $1000 Grand Prize for Tug of War will be a feature at this years event, led by international Tug of War Champion Richard Walcome, and sponsored by Aquor Water Systems and the American Legion Hall. Olympic Tug of War rules apply: 60-foot rope, 1500-pound maximum per team combined weight, single elimination, no sitting down, 15 minute time limit on matches. The contest entry fee is $100; 12 teams maximum. Registration deadline is July 1st. Weigh in will take place at 11AM on July 4th at the Fort Worden Parade Grounds flag pole and the contest begins at 6pm. Sign up a team by contacting Daniel Milholland, information below.
The Port Townsend School of Woodworking will be hosting free birdhouse making for kids and families.
Watermelon Eating Contest 7:30pm
What food says 4th of July more than watermelon? Take the watermelon tradition to the max by participating in this exhilarating event, new to the "Old School" 4th. There will be great prizes for the contest winners.
Community Photo 7:45pm
Immediately following the Watermelon Eating Contest all guests are invited to pose for a picture taken by David Conklin on a ladder, on the stage. This family photo will be published in the July 12th edition of the Port Townsend and Jefferson County Leader.
Pie in the Face 7:50pm
Well known members of the community have donated their face to take a pie for the 4th. Each ticket will be $1, and a ticket will be drawn to see who wins the toss opportunity for each of these wonderful pie takers!! Guaranteed for a good laugh and a great chance to help support the "Old School" 4th. Participants include; Dave Stanko, David Timmons, Mike Kenna, Stephen Sklar, Lloyd Mullen, Mike Evans, Heather Dudley Nolette, Denise Winters, Ariel Spetzer, George - (Sirens bartender), Dominic Svornich, Dave Robison, Todd Carlson, Amy Howard and Barb Trailer.
50/50 Raffle 10:00pm
In effort to support the return of the 4th, all guests are invited to participate in the American-classic 50/50 raffle, where for only $1 you can enter to win 50% of the all raffle contributions. The winning ticket will be pulled from the hat at 10pm. If the winner is not present during the raffle the ticket number will be published in the PT/Jeff Co. Leader on July 12th. The winner will have one week to claim the prize.
The firework display will be led by pyrotechnician David Chuljian and made possible by 1st Security Bank and Wilder Auto.
Enjoy a delicious lineup of local food vendors including: a large 4th of July BBQ and Beer, Wine and Cider Garden hosted by the Fort Worden PDA, Paella House, Java Gypsy Coffeehouse, Mo-Chilli BBQ, Barbarian Fine Cuisine, Pane D'Amore, Fiddlehead Creamery, La Crepe de Quimper, Candice's Donuts and The Seafood Spot.
Additional vendors include: Sacred Skin Henna, Face Painting by Alexa Rose, the Amazing Time Stopping Contraption Photo Booth, and James Jackson Massage Therapy. Custom "Old School" T-Shirts will also be available at the Chamber booth.
Parking - Map Provided:
Event parking on the Parade Grounds is available for a suggested donation of $5 per vehicle. Discover passes will not be required to park in the Parade Grounds parking area but will be required in all parking areas managed by State Parks. Follow the signs and instructions as you enter Fort Worden. Carpooling, bike riding and walking are highly encouraged for local residents.
Drivers who park inside the Fort are encouraged to exercise their patience when exiting following the Fireworks as it may take up to and hour clear out of the Fort.