Ain’t no weather bad enough

Poulsbo’s Third

celebration drew visitors despite day’s stormy start.

POULSBO — It was under a cloudy cover that Poulsbo’s 19th annual Third of July celebration kicked up its heels. But the foul weather didn’t keep event patrons at bay, as organizers report 25,000 North Enders came out for the country’s day-early birthday bash.

Flags flew, stars and stripes were worn with pride and boats filled the bay as Grand Funk Railroad’s “Some Kind of Wonderful” shot from speakers in Anderson Parkway like sparks from a firework, spreading across Front Street for shoppers and celebrators alike.

A string of white tents aligned Waterfront Park, and a gaggle of kids surrounded Uncle Stinky’s Magic and Novelties booth, where finger guillotines and trick dollar bills were all the rage.

Ian Argyle, 8, and his mom Julie, were two of those checking out the illusive wares. Ian showed off his magic cup and ball and finger guillotine — the tricks of which he already had down pat.

“You pretend it cuts your finger off,” he sweetly demonstrated.

The two, from Utah, were in town visiting family, and Julie said neither had ever heard of a Third of July celebration before.

“It’s a first for us,” she said. But both were enjoying the drizzly affair with enthusiasm, and Ian’s eyes grew wide as watermelons when he realized he had the makings for two Independence Day celebrations in a row.

Also making an appearance at the party was Mike Hale of Seattle-based Hale’s Ales Brewery, who brought along his double decker bus, which he’s converted into a pub. The brewery was celebrating its own birthday a day early, as it chalked up its 25th year in business on the Fourth.

Hale said in the automobile department, he took the cake.

“I got the coolest car in town,” he joked.

The double decker was open for exploration throughout the day.

A healthy turnout

Third of July organizer Sandra Peterson said plenty of seed spitters and grub eaters turned out for Thursday’s competitions despite the somewhat stormy weather, including three-time male seed spitting champion Kit Wheeler, 48, of Bellevue, who gave an unbeatable 34-foot, two-inch launch. Kids and adults alike flocked with chewing chops ready to take on the brain-freezing and belly-filling effects of watermelon, ice cream and pizza eating competitions.

But just as a host of grownups prepared to plow through the summertime fruit favorite, a health department representative temporarily stopped the show, Peterson said.

“The health department shut the food contest down,” she said, due in part to the temperature of the watermelon. Logistics aside, after shelling out a quick $57 for a permit, obtaining bleach water and borrowing a vendor’s wash station, the competition was back on its feet — with the pizza slightly cooled and the ice cream a little warm, Peterson added with a laugh.

What followed was an appearance from the sun, which came out from behind the clouds “just enough, and it was perfect, nobody was too hot, too cold, it was great,” Peterson said. “At the end of the night, the place was packed and there wasn’t any real estate on the grass left.”

And she was right — as early as 1 p.m. lawn chairs and blankets were cropping up on the lawn to stake firework-viewing spots.

But before the sky-brightening show a special performance from the Bremerton Symphony was on the agenda, and proved music to ears of many — especially kids — some of which for the first time had the chance to enjoy such a show.

“It was tingling, it was wonderful,” Peterson said. “They were fabulous. The children were watching, the dogs were watching. Everyone was just really enjoying it.”

The symphony’s first chair violin even learned a song dedicated to favorite Poulsbo son Ivar B. Moe, and incorporated members of the Navy Band Northwest and youth symphony.

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