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100-year-old Poulsbo: Now you gotta cut loose

Family-friendly Dance of the Decades to hit Front Street next Saturday.

POULSBO — The city of Poulsbo’s Centennial Committee is celebrating what once was by bringing in the new. Organizers say the first-ever family-friendly beverage garden to be held in Kitsap County is just one of the many things on the plate for those attending next weekend’s Dance of the Decades on Front Street.

And no one in this town will be busted for boppin’ — it’s shaping up to be Poulsbo’s biggest street party ever, said committee member Tammy Mattson.

“It’s the event of the century,” committee member Donna Etchey added. “Not to be missed.”

Mattson said the all-ages environment is one growing in popularity throughout Washington.

“Large, reputable festivals around the state having been moving toward and incorporating a family-friendly festival, including a family-friendly beer garden, which is phased,” she said. The set-up allows those of any age within the fenced area, but designates a second corral only for those of the 21-and-older variety.

The committee made efforts to keep each and every downtown business involved in the event as well. It’s designed to celebrate Poulsbo’s 100-year-old status.

“We’ve worked really hard to keep all the businesses in downtown together,” Etchey, also the publisher of the North Kitsap Herald, said. “We’ve included everyone. This is the first time that this has been done.”

Unlike many other festivals, no outside food vendors will make an appearance at the dance. Instead, restaurants along Poulsbo’s original main drag will sport special Taste of Poulsbo menus made just for the event, and food can be enjoyed in restaurants or out in the street. Many of the retail shops will be keeping their doors open late as well.

Front Street, scheduled to be closed from 5 p.m. to midnight, will be caparisoned with hanging lanterns and checker-clothed tables. Hale’s Ales’ two-decker bus and Bob Thompson’s Kingston-based funny car will be making appearances, as will a face painting and balloon booth by Kitsap Bank.

The Poulsbo Historical Society plans to showcase its DVDs and presell its book planned for release next year, and Bill Austin and his crew have morphed the building at the corner of Front and Jensen Way into an outdoor bandstand for the evening’s performers, which will include the Uptown Lowdown Jazz Band, Cold Note and Soul Siren. Festivities kick off at 6 p.m.; Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade will offer an opening statement at 7 p.m.

Also for sale will be the Centennial Committee’s shirts, pins and specially made Poulsbo wine. Funds raised will go toward a centennial sculpture planned for Centennial Park at the corner of Iverson Street and Seventh Avenue.

And the event is BYOLC: bring your own lawn chairs.

Hoping for more than 2,000 attendees, the organizers also said Kitsap Transit will provide free shuttle services from Office Max and Christ Memorial to the corner of Sunset Avenue and Jensen. Visitors are encouraged to use the shuttles to avoid the downtown parking scene, Etchey said.

Navy chiefs will be providing security, and Etchey said visitors should come decked in their favorite decade’s paraphernalia, ready for dancing in the roadway.

“We’re hoping to set a precedent that something like this could continue for years to come,” Etchey said. “It’s definitely a great community event.”

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