What says summer more than small-town festivals that celebrate the local specialty or just give the community a reason to throw a parade and have fun? Here are two local favorites on the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula that are worth veering off the beaten path to experience.
Clallam Bay Sekiu Fun Days (Mid-July)
Fun Days spans the two communities of Clallam Bay and Sekiu, located on the coastline of the scenic Strait of Juan de Fuca. The weekend offers up craft and food vendors, a potluck social, art and photography shows, a poker ride bicycle race, barbecue, the annual fun run, the grand parade, and a huge fireworks show over the water. Most of the action takes place in about a four-block area.
During the parade, folks in old-timey cars and fancy floats toss candy into the crowd to the delight of kiddos and adults alike. (Rumor has it that the Red Hat Society ladies down a few red Jell-O shots before they promenade down Highway 112.) One notable parade entry in recent years was a mobile outhouse on wheels, complete with a noisy motor and giant exhaust pipes! Big trucks and costumed children escorting goats along the route all enjoy loud cheers from onlookers.
The Shetland ponies are always a huge draw for riding and petting. You might even stumble into a great book sale at the library. You never know what you will find at these charming local festivals.
Joyce Daze Wild Blackberry Festival (First Weekend in August)
As the name suggests, Joyce Daze celebrates all things blackberries, which grow with abandon everywhere on the Olympic Peninsula. (Ask any local gardener about their battle scars from wrestling these thorny vines.)
Tables are stacked high with freshly baked pies for judges to sample and festivalgoers to gobble up. The local grange hall hosts a pancake breakfast. Vendors and craftspeople set up booths displaying unique handicrafts. A traditional Pacific Northwest salmon bake and live entertainment top off the day.
Insider tip: Plan to arrive before Hwy 112 shuts down for the noon parade. There’s no other road through or around the area.
Of course, the one thing you will definitely find at Joyce Daze is pies, pies, and more pies. Buy a single slice or a whole pie, and pick up a jar of yummy jam to take home. Trust us: Stock up. A jar of fabulous local blackberry jam makes a perfect gift for your party host. (If you can resist eating it all yourself, that is.) The best part: Proceeds from the day go to scholarships for the Crescent High School graduating class. You can’t get more local than this.
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