Nautical enthusiasts share love of watercraft at Percival Landing

jeff.mayor@thenewstribune.comMay 11, 2012 

  • Olympia Wooden Boat Fair

    What: The 33rd annual gathering of wooden boats

    When: 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

    Where: Percival Landing Park, 625 Columbia St. N.W., Olympia

    Cost: Free


    Jeffrey P. Mayor 253-597-8640

share love of watercraft at Percival Landing A fleet of almost 40 wooden boats, from a 79-foot converted Coast Guard cutter to a 10-foot powerboat, will be docked at Percival Landing Park for this weekend’s Olympia Wooden Boat Fair.

The free fair includes wooden watercraft of all types, including row boats, sailboats, dinghies, kayaks and canoes, said Ed Docherty, dockmaster for the event.

“We have a good mix of sailboats and power boats,” Docherty said Monday. “We’ll have 10 or 11 new boats this year. Some of the boats are still being built and will be launched just before the fair. A speedboat is being built right now in Gig Harbor.”

Among the boats scheduled to appear are the Charles N. Curtis, a 78-foot former motor patrol boat from the Navy, converted for use by the Sea Scouts in Tacoma; the 72-foot schooner Red Jacket from Tacoma; and new to the fair, a 31-foot Lake Union Dreamboat-style cruiser, built in 1927.

“The Dreamboat style is a unique design,” Docherty said. “They were among the first boats people could afford to buy. They have a long bow and a cockpit at the rear.”

Fairgoers will find all the venues more convenient this year. With the new boardwalk at Percival Landing open, all the vendors will be back along the water on the boardwalk, Docherty said.

Last year, during the boardwalk construction, vendors were located in an open lot between the Oyster House and Bayview Thriftway, away from the boats.

Other features of the event include:

Maritime person of the year: This year’s honoree is Bob Peck of Tumwater. A boat builder since the age of 10, Peck is president of the South Sound Maritime Heritage Association, which puts on the Olympia Harbor Days event each Labor Day weekend. He’s also the founder of the association’s Community Boat Building Program that helps families build boats, and also refurbishes and restores boats to sell. Peck has built 17 wooden craft in 50 years, ranging from 8 feet to 30 feet long.

Children’s boat building: The booth, open on Saturday only until the wood runs out, returns to the fair. Children are given boat hulls and other supplies to build their own wooden boats. Organizers request that each child take only enough supplies to build one boat. Also, adult supervision is requested while children build their boats. The hulls are supplied by Olympia High School wood shop students from wood donated by Curtis Lumber.

Local sounds: Another tradition of the fair is to showcase local entertainment groups. This year’s lineup includes The Aspirations, the Aspire School jazz ensemble; Tumwater High School jazz ensemble; Olympia Highlanders bagpipe marching band; The F.B.I., a bluegrass band; The Slieveloughane Irish dancers; and Freckles Brown Band, playing rock, pop and blues. The music begins at noon Saturday.

Other attractions: In addition to the boats, fairgoers can shop the 50 arts and crafts booths and nearly 20 food booths. The craft booths feature artwork, pottery, wooden décor, jewelry, clothing, stained glass, leather products, homemade food products and nautical items. When you get hungry, you can choose from burgers, seafood and some international food choices as well as desserts and other sweet treats.

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