Flag waving plus all that and a bag of chips

Jane Stebbins Special to the Leader
Posted 7/10/19

Overcast skies couldn’t keep thousands of Port Townsend residents and visitors from Old School Fourth of July festivities last week, as throngs filled the Fort Worden Parade Grounds to enjoy music, food, walnut sack races, an Olympic-style tug-of-war, a car show and hours later, a colorful laser show.

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Flag waving plus all that and a bag of chips

Posted

Overcast skies couldn’t keep thousands of Port Townsend residents and visitors from Old School Fourth of July festivities last week, as throngs filled the Fort Worden Parade Grounds to enjoy music, food, walnut sack races, an Olympic-style tug-of-war, a car show and hours later, a colorful laser show.

Ice cream, rootbeer floats, paella with mussels, hula-hoops, Frisbees, picnics, ciders, face painting and kites — it was all there.

Kids and adults danced to raucous tunes of Caela Bailey and the General Mojo’s. “Way to put on a show.”

There was much talk of community, helping one another in divided political times, of acceptance and love and honoring indigenous peoples.

The Unexpected Brass Band and Port Townsend Summer bands played patriotic music, and Maria Powell, a local who took top honors in Stars of Tomorrow, played her alto saxophone before the Shed Boys kicked it up a notch.

Later, kids gnawed and slurped at watermelons in attempts to see who could eat a half-melon in the fastest time. It wasn’t pretty, but there was lots of cheering from parents and others.

Nanda took the stage late in the evening with theatrical performances that drew hysterical laughter from the crowd — then astonishment as the group spun and juggled fire, some while atop each others’ shoulders.

And the laser show, the first here in lieu of fireworks, had people craning their necks to watch as bright, focused beams of light darted across the sky, lit up trees at the end of the grounds and appeared like ghostly aurora borealis over their heads, all choreographed to booming music.

It was also a day when the U.S. Coast Guard opened the cutter Osprey to answer questions that ranged from daily life and adventures on the high seas to engine capacity.

The tours of the 87-foot-long vessel were one way to thank the Port Jefferson community for feeding “Coasties” during the record-long 35-day government shutdown.

Some heard stories about day-to-day life aboard the Osprey. Others were intrigued by its two massive engines and their maintenance. Veterans shared their stories about similar vessels on which they sailed in war time. Many asked if they could shoot the guns — negative.

The vessel is used for an array of duties, including rescuing other boats at sea, protecting the country from terrorism and drug trafficking, enfocing recreational boating safety, marine environmental response and search and rescue operations.

In 2000, it seized a Canada-bound vessel carrying 2.5 tons of cocaine worth more than $200 million at the time.

The Osprey was built in 1999 in Lockport, Louisiana and replaced 82-foot Point Class patrol boats here. It weathers up to 13-foot seas, has a maximum 25.6-knot speed and brake horse power of 1,439 at 2,039 rpm. And yes, sometimes even Cutter crew get seasick.

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