News

Virginia Point Summerfest reaches 100th celebration

 - Courtesy Photo
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

POULSBO — During a time when communication via text messaging is the norm and family dinners are a rare phenomenon, one group has kept alive a homegrown tradition bringing friends and relatives together year after year.

It’s hard to say just what Louis Tagholm imagined when he first bought the end of Virginia Point in 1907, but whether he hoped for it or not, an annual gathering rivaling the best of reunions has endured throughout the century. Now, 100 years later, Tagholm’s granddaughter and great-granddaughter are preparing for what could be Virginia Point’s grand party finale.

“It was the highlight of my summers growing up,” said Kari MacKenzie, Virginia Point resident and Tagholm’s great-granddaughter. “It’s just such a fabulous summer party.”

Dubbed Summerfest, the yearly potluck boasts more than 100 guests, each of whom can enjoy a smattering of activity, from volleyball and face painting to tug-o’-war and live music. Only once was the party plagued with rainy weather, and it has never missed a year.

“All through the years it has been a place where there have been huge summer gatherings,” said Tagholm’s granddaughter Marilyn Bergstrom. “Now it’s pretty much a three generation party. For a few years we had four generations.”

Started among relatives, the gathering has grown to include visitors from Seattle, Mercer Island and Issaquah. MacKenzie described it as a Norman Rockwell-type party.

“You still get a core that have been coming every year, and then there’s people you just meet,” she said. “It’s just a great opportunity to reconnect with people that you haven’t seen in a year. It’s like a friend reunion.”

Summerfest, which has offered to its younger visitors temporary tattoo stations, candy hidden in bales of hay and even an ice cream truck, will this year host a steel drum band along with its usual tasty barbecue and other clever treats, such as sushi made of Rice Krispies treats and Fruit Roll-Ups.

“There’s always fabulous food,” said MacKenzie, who reminisced about the year her mother attempted to serve everything on China dishes. “Some really, really clever stuff.”

Both MacKenzie and Bergstrom agreed this year could be Summerfest’s last, and if this proves to be the case, they’d like it to go out with a bang.

“It’s a lot of work, but now I feel like we’ve got it down to a science,” MacKenzie said. “It’s neat from a historical standpoint. When you start something and it goes on like this, it just becomes tradition.”

Bergstrom said the family connection is how the celebration made it on the calendar each year. While it will be missed, there will still be gatherings on Virginia Point.

“It is kind of sad in a way,” Bergstrom said. “There aren’t too many things that continue for such a long time.”

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Sep 19 edition online now. Browse the archives.