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Flying fish featured at Saturday’s Fest

POULSBO — Despite threatening rain clouds and a chilly breeze off Liberty Bay, Midsummer Fest still managed to bring a crowd.

The Sons of Norway celebration of a pagan festival turned feast of John the Baptist Saturday was truly a family affair. At least 200 people, including a wedding party at one point, packed the waterfront for the annual event.

For most kids, getting their hands on the slimy tail of a dogfish and giving it a fling toward a waiting metal bucket was the biggest draw.

The dogfish were ceremoniously brought to the lawn encased in ice in a orange cooler. Thawed with a bucket of warm water, they looked a little worse for wear from the year previous but ready for some more abuse.

By the end of the event, the once proud swimmers would be a mere pile of fish and slimy fish insides.

First up at the Fisk Toss, Joaquin Thompson, 12, overthrew his first attempt, which landed with a thump, and an ‘Ewww’ from the crowd, next to the bucket.

For his second attempt, Thompson deftly landed the specimen in the intended target, eliciting cheers from the crowd.

Others were not as lucky.

After failing to make a single bucket on their turn, Jake Wider, 3, and grandpa Jim Wider looked dejected. Jake’s mom treated them both to some antibacterial hand lotion and told Jake not to cry.

“That’s why we practice honey,” she said to her son. “Don’t worry, grandpa will buy you a bucket and all the fish you want and you can practice for next year.”

Besides the fishy contest, Midsummer Fest also offered a chance for folks to put flowers in their hair, carouse with Vikings, watch some folk dancing and gather around the traditional bonfire to roast hot dogs and marshmallows.

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