Winter Rendezvous ‘a spring break for adults’

“May the IVth be with you”

This version provides additional information about the role of the OneEighty Foundation in the event.

POULSBO — The morning of Feb. 11, Cheryl Estep was one of over a hundred boaters and land lubbers who crowded into the Sons of Norway, aka “Tatooine Cantina,” for the opening ceremony of the fourth annual Winter Rendezvous and an opportunity to brush elbows with Vikings and Star Wars characters.

Outside, the weather was still gray and cold, but inside it was warm and bright — and noisy.

“It’s basically a spring break for adults,” Estep said, having to speak up to be heard over the crowd. “It’s a good way to get people out on the water.”

Children liked it, too. Little Cyrus Ray “was so excited when he saw the Jedi come in. He’s all about Star Wars,” said his mother Christina Dimmick-Ray as they posed for photos with a Star Wars storm trooper who let Cyrus try out his “blaster.”

In fact, the two-and-a-half-year-old had such a good time he kept going all day, light-saber fighting, watching the Toss the Dog Fish game and, ultimately, sharing the victory stand with Chip Hanauer and other winners of the day’s game.

Hanauer, the famed hydroplane racer and host of the online program “The Boat Guy,” was the ringmaster for the opening ceremonies, splendidly attired in a crimson and gold ringmaster’s hat and coat. He kept on the go throughout the day, helping the Vikings light the bonfire at 4 p.m. to mark the end of the festivities.

Along the way, he helped handout the prizes for the games and contests. Barbara Shafor won — if that’s the correct term — for being the “Biggest Loser” in the Poker Run. Joseph Hill took home the prize for “Best Hand.”

The sunshine and good weather brought people out to shop and to participate in the Hutt Scavenger Hunt. Rose Hemphill took home the prize.

Others just prized the sunshine and took to the benches on Front Street to bask in the sunshine.

One of the favorite contests every year is determining which establishment in town makes the best glogg. Third place went to Burrata Bistro. The Brass Kraken came in second in its first year in the contest. And, for the third time, That’s a Some Italian Ristorante took first.

Among the new games this year, Toss the Dogfish brought out a number of fish tossers worthy of Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle. Ultimately, the first-prize trophy went to 11-year-old Maura Bascom, who attends Poulsbo Elementary School. Second went to Anissa Lund, who credited her finish to preparing for the contest by playing Wii bowling. Third place went to Micheal Whekin, an aspiring dogfish tosser who’s visiting from Georgia. When it comes to tossing dogfish, “this is my first time on the pro circuit,” he said.

The stars of the show were a group of elaborately and professionally costumed and equipped Star Wars characters. They came from three different groups: the Jet City Saber Guild, the Garrison Titan 501st, and Alpha Base — Rebel Legion. Members of the groups regularly volunteer to appear for free at fund-raising events in the area.

At 4 p.m., the Poulsbo Sons of Norway Vikings paraded with lighted torches through downtown and then lit the Valisblot bonfire. In addition to branches, the fire also included 72 pressed wood logs. Hanauer said this set a world’s record for the most pressed wood logs in a single fire.

Live music in multiple venues carried the party on into the evening.

The event was sponsored by the Historic Downtown Poulsbo Association, Boat Insurance Agency, NW Yachting Magazine, the Port of Poulsbo, Menage a Trois Vodka and Menage a Trois Wines, Elliott Bay Marina, Monkeyfist, CSR Marine, Tacoma Fire Logs, Visit Kitsap Peninsula and Sound Publishing.

OneEighty Foundation is a Seattle based entity that “provides grants to non-profit organizations that immediately impact the lives of children and families in our community.” OneEighty Foundation supported Winter Rendezvous, and approximately $6000 in proceeds were raised to benefit Paddle for Parkinsons, a Washington non-profit that supports Parkinsons research, said Tammy Mattson, owner of Tizley’s Europub, and one of the primary organizers of the event.

— Terryl Asla is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. Contact him at

Winter Rendezvous ‘a spring break for adults’
Winter Rendezvous ‘a spring break for adults’
Winter Rendezvous ‘a spring break for adults’