By LESLIE KELLY
It’s part carnival and part street fair. And it’s loads of fun.
That’s the way organizers describe the 41st annual Whaling Days celebration that takes place this weekend in Old Town Silverdale.
More than 20,000 visitors are expected to attend the three-day event.
Whaling Days offers visitors the opportunity to ride carnival rides, browse arts and crafts vendors, take in some great festival food, and enjoy all this in the summer sunshine on the shores of Dyes Inlet.
Carla Larson, president of Whaling Days 2013, said the festival had humble beginnings.
“A group of community people were sitting around having coffee, as they did for many years in Silverdale, and they decided they wanted to do something for the community,” Larson said. “It started with a suggestion of having a whale of a party for everyone in Silverdale area.”
The group went to work and organized a parade, a party and a great way for friends and neighbors to have fun, she said.
Following up on the theme of having a whale of a party, the group added a mascot — Wendy the whale — the next year.
“Having orcas show in Dyes Inlet off and on in the past few years has been a big plus for Silverdale,” Larson said.
Here are some highlights of the weekend.
— Friday: Live music at 6 p.m. on The Point Casino Main Stage, followed by fireworks over Dyes Inlet at 10 p.m.
— Saturday: The Doctors Clinic Whale of a Run at 8:45 a.m., and the Silverdale Lions Grand Parade on Silverdale Way at 10 a.m. The Street Fair on Byron and Lowell begins at 11 a.m. Live entertainment begins at noon on The Point Casino Main Stage.
— Sunday: The Tour De Kitsap Bike Ride begins at 7 a.m., followed by the Dyes Inlet Dash Canoe Races at 8. The Street Fair begins at 11 a.m. The Silverdale Rotary Duck Race begins at 3 p.m. Heart by Heart performs on The Point Casino Main Stage beginning at 3:30.
Davis Amusement carnival rides open at 5 p.m. throughout the weekend.
About that Whaling Days Parade: This year’s parade is expected to have about 80 entries. About 5,000 people usually come out to see the parade and line the streets from Kitsap Mall to Old Town Silverdale.
“The Silverdale Dandy Lions and the Silverdale Sunrise Lions have done a super job organizing the Whaling Days Lions Grand Parade year after year,” Larson said.
Natalie Bryson, a long-time Silverdale-area resident, former member of Silverdale Rotary Club and former president of the Kitsap County HIV/AIDS Foundation, will serve as grand marshal.
About the Silverdale Rotary Duck Race: This is the 20th year for the race. Thousands of little yellow plastic ducks will be dropped into the water at Dyes Inlet. The ducks are numbered and have been sponsored through donations. The duck that crosses the finish line first will win its owner a new truck from Advantage Nissan and a chance to win $1 million from Suquamish Clearwater Casino.
Whaling Day proceeds support scholarships through the Hank Mann Sykes Scholarship Foundation. Other beneficiaries include Clear Creek Trail, the Haselwood YMCA, and the Kitsap Humane Society.
For the complete schedule, go to www.whalingdays.com.