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Virginia Point Summerfest reaches 100th celebration
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.
Its 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, Tagholms granddaughter and great-granddaughter are preparing for what could be Virginia Points grand party finale.
It was the highlight of my summers growing up, said Kari MacKenzie, Virginia Point resident and Tagholms great-granddaughter. Its 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 Tagholms granddaughter Marilyn Bergstrom. Now its 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 theres people you just meet, she said. Its just a great opportunity to reconnect with people that you havent seen in a year. Its 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.
Theres 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 Summerfests last, and if this proves to be the case, theyd like it to go out with a bang.
Its a lot of work, but now I feel like weve got it down to a science, MacKenzie said. Its 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 arent too many things that continue for such a long time.