‘Party in place’ in absence of Rhody events

‘Bake your own cake’ for caravan Cake Picnic

Posted 5/13/20

The global pandemic that caused the cancellation of the 85th annual Rhododendron Festival cannot dampen the spirits of those who still plan to celebrate safely in their homes.

Just as the …

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‘Party in place’ in absence of Rhody events

‘Bake your own cake’ for caravan Cake Picnic

Posted

The global pandemic that caused the cancellation of the 85th annual Rhododendron Festival cannot dampen the spirits of those who still plan to celebrate safely in their homes.

Just as the rhododendrons could not help but bloom as the days grew longer and warmer, the residents of Jefferson County could not stamp out their need for springtime festivities.

“We are one community. Celebration is essential,” said Danny Milholland, organizer of the annual Cake Picnic that takes place at the end of the Rhododendron Festival parade.

May 14 would have been the start of the carnival in Port Townsend, followed by the festival’s many activities, including the Kiddie Parade, tricycle and, bed races, beard contest and dog parade, and ending with the Grand Parade and the newer Cake Picnic Dance Party celebration.

But this year, the streets must remain empty as ordered by the governor to protect the community.

Many ideas floated around as ways to celebrate without any social interaction. Lining Lawrence Street with folding chairs in commemoration of the parade, dressing up dogs for a “virtual” parade of online photographs or making your own cake and dancing in your living room are all ways residents of the county will keep the spirit of Rhody alive this week.

Festival coordinators decided to let the Rhody Royalty, including Queen Jenessah Seebergoss, Princess Brigitte Palmer and Princess Hailey Hirschel, represent Port Townsend in 2021 since they missed their chance this year.

The Junior Royalty will also have the opportunity to represent next year, and the festival association will take additional applications for Junior Royalty and Queen’s Court in the fall, according to Lori Morris, festival coordinator.

“I’m very thankful to have been given another chance to represent the county,” Seebergoss said. A Port Townsend High School junior, Seebergoss dreamt of becoming Rhody Queen for years, only to have the festival canceled after she was crowned.

But the festivities aren’t totally quashed, she said. Seebergoss, Palmer and Hirschel will join a caravan through Port Townsend along with the Cake Picnic crew, who are “revving up” the Rhody Vibes from 1 to 4 p.m. May 16.

The Cake Picnic normally comes last in the Grand Parade, leading spectators from the sidewalks in a dance party down Lawrence and Monroe streets to Pope Marine Park for cake, music and dancing.

The picnic is organized by what was once Thunderbull Productions, led by Danny Milholland. This year’s picnic was going to reveal the new version of this event-organizing company, called The Production Alliance.

This group is quickly rethinking how to make Port Townsend’s well-loved community festivals and celebrations still meaningful, even from a distance.

“The Production Alliance remains optimistic that our annual traditions and community celebrations can still be executed in a digital fashion and we are exploring opportunities for innovative online gatherings that can nurture social solidarity while physical distancing is in effect,” Milholland said.

That’s why the Production Alliance crew will bring the cake picnic to Port Townsend neighborhoods in their famous ‘78 Cadillac, DJ’d by Captain Peacock and featuring special guest virtuoso drum master and Chimacum High School graduate Forrest Brennan.

Community members are invited to bake their own cakes and dress up to dance in their front yards as the caravan drives by.

“We need to breathe into this new time and find ways to maintain our community health and our celebratory spirit while staying safe,” Milholland said.

Community members are not encouraged to follow the caravan, but to party in their homes, yards or on the sidewalks, maintaining a safe social distance from each other. Those who wish to participate in the party should message the team by emailing danny@theproductionalliance.org, to ensure the caravan drives by their neighborhood.  Community members can also follow an online live stream of the event, by going to the Cake Picnic Facebook page or cakepicnic.org.

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