Setbacks aside, Fathoms is still SK's signature event

Summer may be a week old as far as the calendar is concerned, but for most South Kitsap residents this weekend marks the official beginning of the season as Fathoms o’Fun kicks off in earnest with tomorrow’s HotFoot 5K run, horseshoe tournament, snake races, frog-jumping contest and the Fathoms Grand Parade.

The community’s signature festival, Fathoms o’Fun dates back to 1968 — longer if you count earlier events that had other names — and has become a tradition for generations of SK families.

Icons like that aren’t easy to come by in this day and age, which is why it worries us that Fathoms may be showing a little wear and tear around the edges.

This year’s Fathoms pageant, for example, didn’t attract enough contestants to warrant crowning a queen and designating a court. Instead, organizers resorted to appointing a pair of “ambassadors” to perform the royal duties.

Even more conspicuous by its absence, this year’s festival will be the first in memory without a carnival, owing to a general consensus that setting up rides in the lot adjacent to the downtown Waterfront Park caused more headaches than it was worth in terms of parking spaces occupied, traffic problems created, business lost and cleanup costs incurred.

We can definitely sympathize with that reasoning, but one would hope the carnival would return next summer after a one-year hiatus, albeit in another location — for example Westbay Center, Town Square Port Orchard or the SK Community Park, just to cite a couple of possibilities.

Hopefully, Fathoms — like just about everything else, it seems — is simply a victim of the current sluggish economy.

One would hope so, since Fathoms o’Fun and South Kitsap are joined at the hip, and what’s good for one is good for the other.

And vice versa.

Which is why we’re rooting for a raucous Fathoms this year and many more to come.

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