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Sun, new event draw in crowds for Port Orchard's Fathoms o' Fun

Levi Ellison, 2, of Port Orchard is enthralled as his father Josh produces a red racer snake for him to race with in the Fathoms o’Fun snake race on Saturday in downtown Port Orchard. - Jesse Beals/Staff Photo
Levi Ellison, 2, of Port Orchard is enthralled as his father Josh produces a red racer snake for him to race with in the Fathoms o’Fun snake race on Saturday in downtown Port Orchard.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/Staff Photo

A little thing called the sun and a new event downtown joined forces last weekend to attract particularly healthy crowds to Port Orchard’s Fathoms o’Fun festival this year, organizers said.

“It was phenomenal,” said Jessie Turner, who works each year with her husband Jud to put on the city’s hometown event. “The weather couldn’t have been better.”

Another people draw was the city’s first “Street Scramble,” which had dozens of participants dashing to different spots through town and was hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.

“I’m sure that brought more people,” said Turner. “I saw crowds downtown in the afternoon, waiting for the parade, like I have never seen before.”

Jud Turner agreed that the crowds were “larger than normal,” and credited the “good weather, good crews and good cooperation” for such a successful event.

“It was a perfect day, (although) perhaps a little too warm,” he said, explaining that the volunteers, vendors, Port Orchard Police Department and the city’s Public Works Department all worked together “as always.”

Jessie Turner also thanked Kitsap Bank for not only giving free space for the festival’s 31 vendors to set up shop, but also for hosting the day’s popular snake races and frog jump.

As is tradition, the Fathoms o’Fun Queen showed up to kiss the winning amphibian, a “chore” Sandy Bradley said she was “of course” looking forward to, admitting that yes, she had kissed something even less inviting that a frog.

“My brother,” said the 17-year-old with a laugh, explaining that even more than the frog kissing, she was looking forward to starring in the Fathoms parade along Bay Street.

“Very much so, because that’s the one that all my friends can go to,” she said before Saturday’s parade. Having graduated from both South Kitsap High School and Olympic College last month, Bradley said she is now headed to Seattle Pacific University, where she will begin classes in late September.

This Friday, the week-plus of Fathoms events concludes with a fireworks show over Sinclair Inlet, an event that enjoyed some generous sponsorship this year after hovering dangerously close to being cancelled for the past few years.

“Wave Broadband is covering the rest of our direct expenses, after the $2,500 donation that Kitsap Bank makes each year,” Jessie Turner said, adding that it was a great relief to have the fundraising taken care of for three straight years, as Wave have promised.

“I am absolutely tickled,” she said. “After so many years of working so hard to get funding, now we can concentrate on providing a good time for everyone. This is a great thing for the community.”

The Fathoms Fireworks show is scheduled to begin at 10:30 p.m. Friday.

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