Kingston’s getting its groove on

Mike Wallace Park will again be the site of the Port of Kingston’s concerts in the park series which begins today. - Courtesy Photo
Mike Wallace Park will again be the site of the Port of Kingston’s concerts in the park series which begins today.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

KINGSTON — Mike Wallace Park at the Port of Kingston is set to groove with toe-tappin’, booty-shakin’ music every Saturday this month.

The free concerts, which start at 7 p.m. and come as a replacement to last summer’s Tunes on Tuesday, are fully operated and sponsored by Kingston’s nonprofit groups.

And this year, there’s a beer garden.

Although not free, the adult beverage tent is available for the 21-and-older crowd due to the handiwork of Kingston Rotarians.

“Come down early, have a brew and bring a chair or blanket and come watch the band,” said Nancy Martin, president of the Downtown Kingston Association — the group that put together this month’s band lineup.

“This coming week is a really great U.S. Navy Band,” she said of the week that will begin the series. “What we tried for is a variety of music.”

The concerts will run through Aug. 30 — the finale will end with a blow-out barbecue dinner from Mike’s Four Star BBQ.

The dinner tickets, selling for $25 each, are already available throughout businesses in downtown Kingston, said Martin. The dinner is the main fundraiser for DKA’s downtown beautification projects and next year’s band bookings.

“After we pay for all these bands our treasury is depleted,” Martin said. “Since the concerts are free we are hoping the people will support us with coming to the dinner.”

Kitsap County Parks and Recreation, which used to head Tunes on Tuesday, said as of January they would no longer put together Kingston concert packages, said Mike Bookey, manager for the Port of Kingston.

Bookey said Tunes on Tuesday, which used to be called Kingston Live, was an annual tradition that started in the 1990s.

A survey of port constituents made it clear Kingston residents wanted the port to host live events such as concerts year-round, Bookey said.

As of Thursday morning Kevin Sutherland, a Kingston resident, was busy prepping the stage for Saturday night’s concert with paint and paintbrush in hand.

Sutherland, a story in his own right, was the founder of Bite of Seattle, stage manager at the Gorge Amphitheater in George and toured the world with bands as a sound and stage manager.

“It was kind of wild,” he said.

Now, however, he volunteers his time for events such as these out of love for retirement and a low key lifestyle in Kingston.

“I set the stage and sound and lights and do it for the community in Kingston. I volunteer to do it. I donate my time and materials,” he said.

With Sutherland’s aid, Mike Wallace Park is set to offer the necessary brews for boogie action this weekend.

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