Kellyn King, 1, has a rousing good time with his uncle Brandon King while standing on the gazebo grandstands in Waterfront Park. Dad Dakota King looks on. Bob Smith | Independent

Port Orchard celebrates 50 years of Fathoms O’ Fun parades

by BOB SMITH

Kitsap News Group

PORT ORCHARD — It was sunny, in the high 80s and many hundreds lined Bay Street in Port Orchard — the perfect scenario for a summer Fathoms O’ Fun Grand Parade on Saturday, June 24.

The colorful parade this year, which crawled to a snail’s pace at its midpoint due to a crowded lineup of almost 100 floats and entries, wasn’t short on princesses and queens from past Fathoms royal courts. Many reconvened this year for the 50th grand parade — the reunion at Bethany Lutheran Church featured royalty as far back as the late 1960s.

Meanwhile, a plethora of awards was handed out to participants — human and rolling stock — following the two-hour spectacle. The Grand Sweepstakes Award was presented to Tommy Triggs for his Seahawk hot rod. In the community festival float awards category, the Daffodil Festival float took home the Sweepstakes Award. Other winners were: President’s Award, Capitol Lakefair Festival float; Mayor’s Award, Sequim Irrigation Festival float; Queen’s Award, Mason County Forest Festival float; Governor’s Award, Port Townsend’s Rhododendron Festival float; Festival Award, Marysville Strawberry Festival float; Princess Award, Clallam County Fair &Royalty; and Judge’s Award, Forks Old Fashioned 4th of July Festival float.

Judging the entrants were Matt Murphy, executive director of the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce; Debbie Austin, retired business owner and retired state legislative assistant; and Ken Dickinson, a sergeant with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.

New events included a “race of the goldfish,” in which 45 children participated in the first-time Fathoms event. Organizer Dana Soyat said it was an enjoyable, if unpredictable, competition for the kids, who used straws to blow bubbles, urging on their little fish to the finish line.

“Everybody loved it,” Soyat said. “It was so funny because when you thought one racer was going to win, then their fish would turn around and another would sneak in for the win.”

He said a few people complained about the treatment of the fish, but “they were treated well and, being they were feeder fish, every day they were with us was one day they were not in the belly of their cousin higher up the food chain.”

Back to the Fathoms festival this year was the Dinghy Derby event, staged just off the waters of Waterfront Park. Two racing participants took part in the whimsical event: Air Masters Heating’s six-man “Heat Wave” dinghy and South Kitsap Fire and Rescue Volunteer Association’s two-man “Floating Fire Trap” dinghy.

For those eagerly awaiting the results: The “Heat Wave” avoided being extinguished by the firefighters, finishing in the lead position.

A future princess waves to the Fathoms O’ Fun’s royal court aboard their float. Photo credit: Bob Smith | Kitsap Daily News

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