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Kingston patriotically proud on 4th of July

KINGSTON — The slug races are finishing up the final competitions today. The musicians have packed up and gone home. The Little Choo Choo has left town.

Kingston’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July has come to a end.

With this holiday being particularly sensitive about patriotism, the residents of Kingston proved that true American red, white and blue blood pumps proudly throughout the community. Plenty of parade spectators along Kingston Way were adorned with some sort of patriotic theme — from sequined hats and vests to entire faces covered in paint. Even the simple red, blue or white polo shirt was suitable.

The parade had some great treats in store for the many who lined the main drag. As always, there was plenty of candy for the kids but also some silent reminders of our nation’s war legacy — a group of soldiers passed by, recreating the scene of service men who won the day at Iwo Jima.

The new North Kitsap Fire & Rescue boat, Marine 81, made its debut as well as some old favorite fire engines that honked their way through the parade.

Miss Kingston 2002 Canon K.D. Henness and her royal court, Princess Sarah Blomquist and Princess Jordan Mori, motored through atop of their Mazda Miatas, complete with flowers and flashing headlights, which were adorned with eyes and eyelashes.

Once all the llamas, dogs, horses and tractors along with the Vikings of Poulsbo and local bikers passed by, it was time to move on for some grub and entertainment.

Gray clouds hung low overhead and threatened rain, but that didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits. Especially 19-month-old Gunnar Jacobsen of Kingston. He decided to join the Spectrum Drummers at the Farmer’s Market and add his own beats to a spare drum lying next to the performing group. Using African drums, the group provided an upbeat tempo for the crowd while it shopped. Stands boasted plants for sale, home grown food and plenty of homemade jewelry and paper products. Or, if one was tired and needed a rest, Suzanne Jenny was offering Minute Massages for $1 at her stand. Artists from “Designs From An Orange House” were docking up everyone’s various body parts, such as Lindsey Stockton’s ankle, done by Henna artist Alex Iles.

One of the more hilarious aspects of the Market area was the fun mirrors where folks would stop and check out their reflections. Timothy Wilder of Seattle scrunched up his body many times in front of that mirror, from muscle man to putting his entire body in his sweatshirt in a single move.

The arts and crafts weren’t just for the kids.

There was a tent to create mosaic garden stepping stones. With two different size cement molds to pick from and an array of glass pieces to sift through, festival-goers had a pretty colorful — and heavy — souvenir to take home.

While the market seemed to be unreasonably quiet for a festival, the wild animals were out and about at Kola Kole Park in Tiny Town.

Nothing beat watching the pure sheer joy on the faces of the younger crowd as they literally bounced off the walls and off each other in the inflatable Tall Tiger.

One mother asked if parents were allowed to go in. The girl staffing the entrance said, “Well, we just let parents go in if their kid is having trouble bouncing.” Then she hesitated and added quickly, “Because sometimes the parents just want to go in to jump.”

“But then they have to go to the big kid line to do that,” she finished with a smile. But mom got to go in and help her daughter.

And as some parents hoisted their child up to the edge of the float to watch the other kids, a couple of them got away and joined the group of consistently tumbling toddlers.

The group of parents just shrugged their shoulders and said, “Oh well.”

Across the park there was a single girl shrieking, “Nice Try, but no cigar!” The noise was coming from Amy Whelan of Suquamish, or the “Dunk Tank” Girl. Several young boys got her good and dead-on — sending Whelan splashing. But it never defeated her calls of, “Come on, Come on, try and hit me!”

The boardwalk of the Tiny Town store fronts looked oddly empty and bare with few people occupying the store fronts but the girls of Peninsula Video manned their store with a prize wheel, giving away all sorts of prizes from popcorn to puzzles to movie stuff.

While waiting for the slug races to begin, Stark Roving Improv troupe gathered a large crowd during their late afternoon performance. Leanne Beres, Kris Erickson, Sean Mumford, Gabe Smith, Cindy Smith and Peggy Whelan gave the audience a taste of their comical abilities with improv games such as Freeze Tag, the Growing and Shrinking Machine and Interrogation.

Finally, came the time for the biggest event involving the smallest critters.

The heated slug races.

Jonathan Crabtree manned the race and made sure no one cheated by pushing the slugs forward. A pretty good-sized group surrounded the “race track” and everyone intensely watched the ugly and slimy, plant-eating brown and banana slugs go the wrong way or not move at all. The whole crowd, from ages three to 93, were all completely enthralled by this concept, even the kids who keep doing it year after year.

But the congratulations went to slug #4, “George,” and its owner, Alex Tweten. While George didn’t quite make it to the middle, it went in the right direction for the longest period of time (which wasn’t long at all).

Back at the main music stage, Cold Shot, the music festival’s headline group, took the crowd into the dusk with their rock and roll covers behind the Main Street Ale House.

Miss Kingston Princess Jordan Mori got her groove on with her friends. Person of the Year and Kingston Revitalization Association Chairperson Karen Ross and her partner danced it up. Even grandma with the black pants, patriotic shirt and hat was shaking her hips like she was the hottest thing on the block. And into the night the group played, followed by the much anticipated fireworks to end a slightly wet, very patriotic and young-spirited Fourth of July.

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