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Murder Mystery, Seagull Calling set for same weekend

Two of Port Orchard’s signature events will coincide this year.

Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce executive director Coreen Haydock said the Seagull Calling Contest and Murder Mystery Weekend will be held together in late May.

Haydock said the decision to place the events on the same weekend — Murder Mystery traditionally has been run in September — is because both activities are “pretty labor intensive for the board, staff and committee.” She also said holding the events at the same time should buoy local hotels.

The Seagull Calling Contest, which enters its 23rd year and has been featured on late-night network comedy shows, runs May 29 at Port Orchard Waterfront Marina. Haydock said it will feature the traditional Seagull Calling Contest and will be followed by the Seagull Wings Cook-off.

There are separate amateur and professional categories for the Seagull Wings Cook-off. Lighthouse Restaurant and Lounge won the professional competition last year. Josh Wood, a partner at the restaurant, said they recently brought in 200 pounds of wings to sample new recipes. He said last year’s winning combination featured tonkatsu sauce.

Murder Mystery Weekend, which enters its sixth year, was initially developed by Debbie Austin, a former chamber president, who saw a similar event hosted by Langley’s Chamber of Commerce in 2004. Bill Gurnsey, who replaced Austin in 2005, implemented the idea that year.

Clue packets cost $5 for children younger than 12 years old and $10 for anyone older than that. They provide information about which stores have clues. Haydock said there usually are about 30 businesses downtown that have clues.

“It’s always center around who killed the captain,” Haydock said. “There’s a whole theme and story that goes with it. We have maybe half to a dozen crime scenes they can go check out.”

There also is the Landlubber Pirate Dinghy Derby Race race, which Haydock said requires teams to create a wheeled vehicle to participate. She said previous entries have included dinghies built from beer kegs, wheelchairs and large plastic lawn carts.

Both events are part of Kitsap Harbor Festival. Haydock said moving Murder Mystery Weekend makes sense because its “pirate theme” fits well with nautical Kitsap Harbor Festival, which runs May 27-30. Haydock said the foot ferry will run throughout those days, including Memorial Day, to transport people between activities in Port Orchard and Bremerton.

Haydock said Tall Ships will be present that weekend, and the Kitsap Car Cruz, which features classic cars, will run in Bremerton.

Registration forms to participate in these activities are available at www.portorchard.com.

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