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Port Gamble gets creative this weekend

PORT GAMBLE — More than 100 artists are coming to the old mill town this weekend to help send 12 local art students back to school this fall with pockets full of scholarship money.

The 44th annual North Kitsap Arts and Crafts Festival will take place on the green hills and inside historic buildings of Port Gamble, boasting some of the finest works to hit the area all year.

“I think one of the greatest things about the program is there is something for everyone in the family,” said Alex Welsh, public relations chair for the festival.

The free event, which had an attendance of nearly 30,000 people last year, features both juried and open fine art shows, sculpture, photography and arts and crafts booths. Food vendors, antique cars and entertainment are also packed into the three-day affair.

Several local favorites will perform as the Home Town Band from Kingston will play at noon on Saturday. The Boot Scootin’ Grannies from Hansville will be struttin’ their stuff later that day at 3:45 p.m. New this year is the Seattle-based Rawson Henry Brown Band, a contemporary folk rock band, that will be rocking the festival after the Grannies at 4:30 p.m.

Kids will even have their own area to play in at the Poulsbo Noon Lions’ fun-filled Children’s Corner, across from the Port Gamble General Store.

Kids will also have a chance to participate in drawing contests and contribute their creative ideas in a special interactive mural. Across the street from the Lions’ activities, children can get “strung along” during a Performance of the “Puppets Please” Marionettes. The variety show unravels at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., next to the General Store.

The North Kitsap Arts and Crafts Festival is a non-profit organization that raises scholarship money for art students. The group has provided more than $45,000 in scholarships over the past five years to students from North Kitsap.

Funds have increased from $2,300 in 1997 to $18,000 in 2002. This year, 12 scholarship recipients will receive $22,000 in both new and renewal scholarships.

“It’s nearly $70,000 now in these six years from a very small group of women who run this,” Welsh said. “There are about 15 women who run this (festival) and they don’t get paid.”

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