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Forest Festival brings focus back to outdoors

PORT GAMBLE — In keeping with the history of Port Gamble, the Hood Canal Tree Farm is carving out a new niche for a different kind of celebration this Sunday — one capitalizing on all the forest and nature has to offer. The Forest Festival, spearheaded by Hood Canal Tree Farm area manager Patrick Raymond, will sprout forth with its inaugural celebration in Port Gamble.

Raymond said he started clearing the way for his idea after a visit to England last summer and a trip to the Chopwell Festival, a forest celebration in Britain. Enjoying the fun, the cogs started turning, and he said the result will be this weekend’s event.

“It was just a concept I saw while in England,” he said. “I thought it would apply well here. The whole goal is to showcase all the things going on in the forest.”

“It is a festival to educate the public on all the resources of forest land,” said co-organizer Cathy Houston. “Patrick Raymond got the idea from the Chopwell Festival in England. He said it was really a neat thing, and we decided to try it here.”

To inform residents and visitors about the wooded areas of North Kitsap, Raymond and Houston have organized demonstrations, groups, family activities and music to entice interest in the area’s forested property. The event will be fueled by flapjacks and other breakfast foods during the Loggers’ Breakfast, starting a 9 a.m., Houston said. Different demonstrations will include chain saw carving, a portable saw mill, horse logging and tree climbing.

“We have a lot of public interest in it,” Raymond said. “We’ll see what the fallout from the public and other organizations that aren’t attending will be afterwards.”

He said he hopes the festival will turn into a weekend-long celebration, but the possibility is unclear until after Sunday. Working from the template of the Chopwell Festival, which has been going for 14 years, Raymond is hoping North End residents will enjoy the Forest Festival and help it continue on as an annual event.

“We’re building to that point, since it is the first year,” Houston said. “People are not sure what to expect yet.”

Families are encouraged to attend both the breakfast and festival, and there will be different activities for children and adults. There will be no charge for the fun, or parking, Houston said.

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