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Kitsap Harbor Festival brings nostalgia to Bremerton, Port Orchard

Locals wander through the Kitsap Car Cruz as part of the Kitsap Harbor Festival in downtown Bremerton. - Seraine Page/staff photo
Locals wander through the Kitsap Car Cruz as part of the Kitsap Harbor Festival in downtown Bremerton.
— image credit: Seraine Page/staff photo

The sixth annual Kitsap Harbor Festival rounded out a slew of events over Memorial Day weekend, giving locals plenty to do.

Despite rain clouds threatening to dump rain at any moment, events within the festival — hosted in both Bremerton and Port Orchard — drew attendees to the marinas.

The event also marks the start of the summer boating season.

Pam Cox of Bremerton said she loves all the events that occur in the downtown area. She said she has attended the Kitsap Harbor Festival every year, and she almost didn’t come out this year because her husband was busy.

A friend dragged her out anyhow.

“They have a lot of things that happen here,” she said. “A lot of friends come here; they have good music. It’s good for the kids. That’s what it’s all about.”

Attendees bounced back and forth between events at the two participating marinas to enjoy boardwalk entertainment, old car shows, beer gardens and Port Orchard’s famed Seagull Calling event.

Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent was a judge for the Kitsap Car Cruz event along Pacific Avenue. The road shut down for vintage cars to be placed on display, most in pristine condition.

Looking to the skies, Lent joked at the beginning of the event, “We’re going to keep the rain away.”

While looking inside vehicles, Lent noted the nostalgia of bringing such events in the area. She stated that events like car shows are a way to “entice” locals to come into downtown.

“We’re trying to bring back the memories,” she said. “Car shows do that.”

As for picking a favorite, Lent knew from the beginning it would be tough.

“The cars that are out are beautiful,” she said. “I’m excited to be a judge. It’s tough.”

In addition to the car show, the West Sound Military Vehicle Club displayed vintage military vehicles. Many of the vehicles were restored World War II and Korean-War era combat vehicles, including jeeps, half tracks, bomb trucks and others.

Those who made it down to the Bremerton boardwalk were treated to the usual vendor activities and treats — music, food tents and views of the water.

While some vendors offered deep fried food or even energy-saving lightbulbs, some local artisans offered unique wares unlikely to be found in stores.

Evelyn Wildman, owner of Inspired by Athena, sat under her tent making recycled bird feeders to be placed on display. Her favorite part of coming to the event for the first time was selling to other locals, she said.

“(You take) any opportunity to get out and sell to the locals — you can only make so many bird feeders for yourself,” she joked.

Wildman noted that another bonus of being at the festival is teaching others about the importance of recycling, she said.

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” she said.

Vendors lined the boardwalk, pointing the way to the foot ferry that carried passengers to Port Orchard until late in the evening.

After seeing everything, Cox said she’s usually done for the day.

“I visit. I walk around, and I go home because I get tired,” she said with a laugh.

Even so, the day was just as she hoped it would be as she set out her front door.

“Everything’s wonderful,” she said.

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