Maritime Gig keeps the nautical fun happening

The Maritime Gig in Gig Harbor is one of the Peninsula
The Maritime Gig in Gig Harbor is one of the Peninsula's most-anticipated events of the year.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Kitsap County’s Harborfest may be over, but if you’re still in a nautical mood for a second weekend in a row, you don’t have to travel very far to stay with the same theme.

The Maritime Gig Festival, voted the South Sound’s best festival by South Sound Magazine, has become Gig Harbor’s signature summer event.

And this year, the festival will be celebrating its 30th year with perhaps the most ambitious schedule in its history.

The fun begins on Saturday with the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast followed by the Pirates of the Peninsula – YO HO Harbor! Grand Parade.

The Seattle Seafair Pirates will land in the Harbor on their famous vessel Moby Duck, cannons blazing and swords flashing.

Designed for the whole family, the Maritime Gig also includes a Children’s Fair.

Sponsored by local businesses and service organizations, kids can enjoy getting their face painted, “hands-on” T-shirt painting, catching a trout in the U-fish pond, creating art projects, bouncing in the castle and a variety of other activities.

On its very own entertainment stage, the Children’s Fair features youth entertainment including live performances by Jim Valley/Rainbow Planet, Boys and Girls Club, Clay Martin Puppet Theater, Roberto the Magnificent and Bill Robinson.

For the first time, the Maritime Gig will host the Back to Beal Street Blues Competition presented by the South Sound Blues Association.

Competitors from all over the Northwest vie for a chance to attend the International Blues Completion in Memphis later in the year.

Beginning at 3 p.m. on the Main Stage, 11 blues bands will strum their stuff this year.

Top entries include the Stacy Jones Band, Cody Rentas Band and the Sea-Town Rhythm and Blues Players.

On Sunday, The Maritime Gig’s “To Hill and Back” run will feature a 2.5K walk and an 8K run this year.

Sponsored by AT&T, the race winds along Harborview Drive and up the hill along the new Cushman Trail.

The dunk tank is also returning and local dignitaries will “take the plunge” to help raise money for the local police cadets.

Along Jerisich Dock visitors can check out the Antique Wooden Boat Festival and see The Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel.

Historical fishing displays, plenty of food vendors to satisfy everyone’s appetite and the always-popular Round Rock Contest will be at the Maritime Gig.

As part of its 100-year celebration, Skansie Net Shed will open its doors to the public, and visitors will see displays of the history of the shed and experience a part of Gig Harbor’s rich fishing heritage.

Up on Harborview Drive, Eddon Boat Works will be open during the Festival.

The 18,000-plus attendees can check out the Farmer’s Market and the more than 60 vendors, community organizations and business booths showcasing their services and products at the Festival this year.

Visitors can savor a cold beer in the beer garden. Brew on tap is from Gig Harbor’s very own brewer — 7 Seas Brewery.

The Main Stage, actually two alternating stages, will feature live entertainment during the two-day festival. Included are music and entertainment from the Peninsula School District high schools and middle school bands, jazz and choral groups as well as professional entertainers; setting the stage for the Blues Competition a 3 p.m.

Also Sunday, the Knights of Columbus will host the Blessing of the Fleet, a ceremony celebrating the rich heritage of commercial fishing in the community.

The event begins with the Ecumenical Memorial Service honoring fallen Puget Sound fisherman at 12:30 and is followed by the procession to Jerisich Dock at 1 p.m.

The Blessing Ceremony includes prayers for the safekeeping and success of the fleet during the upcoming season, and laying of the ceremonial wreath in the bay. At the conclusion of the ceremonies entertainment will be provided by the Vela Luka Croatian Dance Ensemble on the Main Stage in Skansie Park.

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